Inspired by the mission and role of the town common, an egalitarian gathering place, The Common aims to foster the global exchange of diverse ideas and experiences. As such, we welcome and encourage submissions from writers who are Black, Indigenous, people of color, disabled, LGBTQIA+-identifying, immigrant, international, and/or otherwise from communities underrepresented in U.S. literary magazines and journals.
In an effort to remove barriers to access, The Common will open exclusively for BIPOC writers for two weeks, and waive submission fees, from June 14 – June 28. Outside of that time, submitters with any financial hardship can contact us at [email protected] for a fee waiver.
Exclusive Fee-Free Submission Period for BIPOC Writers
Amherst’s annual literary festival celebrates the College’s extraordinary literary life by inviting distinguished authors and editors to share and discuss the pleasures and challenges of verbal expression—from fiction and nonfiction to poetry and spoken-word performance. This year’s LitFest was held virtually, with authors, poets, and literature lovers joining from all around the world.
The Common’s Editor in Chief Jennifer Acker hosted two readings at LitFest: one with The Common’s student interns, and one with Amherst College alumni authors. Both events were recorded and can be watched below. Watch video recordings of all the events, readings, and discussions at LitFest ’21 here.
LitFest ’21 Readings by The Common’s Literary Publishing Interns
Student interns at The Common read short excerpts from their writing. Readers are:
Isabel Meyers ’20 (former intern, current Literary Editorial Fellow)
Elly Hong ’21 (Thomas E. Wood ’61 Fellow)
Whitney Bruno ’21
Sofia Belimova ’22
Eliza Brewer ’22
Olive Amdur ’23
LitFest ’21 Amherst College Alumni Authors Reading
Amherst College alumni read short excerpts from their recent work, and answer questions. Readers are:
Calvin Baker ’94
Chris Bohjalian ’82
Dan Chiasson ’93
Edward A. Farmer ’05
Michael Gorra ’79
Kirun Kapur ’97
Elizabeth Chiles Shelburne ’01
Ismée Williams ’95
We hope you’ll join us for the sixth annual LitFest, hosted in conjunction with Amherst College. This year’s festival features 2020 National Book Award for Fiction winner Charles Yu and finalist Megha Majumdar, National Book Award for Poetry finalists Natalie Diaz and Tommye Blount, and Pulitzer Prize winner Anne Applebaum, among others.
This year, to celebrate Amherst College’s Bicentennial, we’ll have a very special set of readings by The Common‘s very own Literary Publishing Interns at 4:30 pm on Saturday. Join us for this packed weekend!
Q: I already did Weekly Writes Vol. 1, 2, 3, 4, or 5. Is this the same thing?
A: Prompts and advice for our Summer 2021 program are built on those from previous programs. So if you’ve participated in Weekly Writes before, you might see familiar material here. Prose prompts are from Weekly Writes Vol. 3, and poetry prompts are from Weekly Writes Vol. 4. If you participated but aren’t sure which volume you completed, feel free to email us at [email protected], so we can check for you.
Q: What makes this program different than past Weekly Writes volumes?
A: Weekly Writes Accountable You includes an additional focus on committing to a regular writing practice. You’ll be asked to upload one page a week to show that you’ve worked on a prompt. This is not a submission to the magazine, and these assignments will not be read or receive any feedback. To recognize your hard work and commitment, you will receive a short note of encouragement after uploading your piece!
Q: Do I send in my weekly writing for you to read? Will I get editorial feedback on my weekly writing?
A: You will be asked to upload one page a week to show that you’ve worked on at least one prompt. This is not a submission to the magazine, and these assignments will not be read or receive any feedback.
The sign-up period for Weekly Writes Vol. 5 is now closed. If you’re interested in hearing about our next Weekly Writes program when it opens, please register your interest here.
Weekly Writes is a ten-week program designed to help you create original place-based writing, beginning January 25.
We’re offering both poetry AND prose, in two separate programs. What do you want to prioritize in 2021? Pick the program, sharpen your pencils, and get ready for a weekly dose of writing inspiration (and accountability) in your inbox!
Writer Omer Friedlander speaks to managing editor Emily Everett about his story “Operation Tamar,” which appears in Issue 19 of The Common magazine. “Operation Tamar” is set in Israel, where Friedlander grew up. In this conversation, Friedlander talks about the setting and inspiration for this story and others, and the editing and revision that went into “Operation Tamar” before publication. He also discusses his current projects, a novel and a short story collection recently sold to Random House for publication.
Tara Skurtu is an American poet and writer, writing coach, and public speaker. She speaks to managing editor Emily Everett about “Offering,” her poem from Issue 19 of The Common magazine. “Offering,” and many more of Skurtu’s poems, are set in Bucharest, Romania, where the poet has lived for several years. Skurtu discusses the inspiration and process behind the poem, her thoughts on teaching creative writing, and her time studying with poet Louise Glück. This conversation also includes the story behind the International Poetry Circle, an online poetry-reading initiative Skurtu started on Twitter in the early days of the pandemic.
Writer David Moloney speaks to managing editor Emily Everett about his story “Counsel,” which appears in Issue 19 of The Common. “Counsel” is an excerpt from Moloney’s novel-in-stories, Barker House, set in a correctional facility in New Hampshire. The book follows nine correctional officers over the course of one year on the job. Moloney discusses his own experiences as a correctional officer in a New Hampshire facility, and the work of turning those complex experiences into stories for the novel. Barker House was published by Bloomsbury in April 2020, so this conversation also includes discussion of what it’s like to publish during a pandemic.