Discovery: New Writers, New Places – The Common Celebrates 5 Years

Event Date: 
Wednesday, November 11, 2015 – 5:00pm8:30pm
Amherst College, Frost Library, Center for Humanistic Inquiry (2nd floor)

On Wednesday, November 11, from 5:00–8:30pm, The Common literary magazine will host an evening of lively literary discussion to toast five successful years of publication and launch of its newest volume, Issue 10.

How does The Common launch the careers of young writers and editors? How do we bring unknown or inaccessible parts of the world, real and imagined, to readers? Editor in Chief Jennifer Acker and a group of esteemed writers will answer these questions, discussing the mentorship of creative talent, the development of literary careers, and the discovery of the world around us through literature. Joining Acker are award-winning authors, professors, and editors Major Jackson, Jim Shepard, Karen Shepard, and Ilan Stavans. The conversation will begin at 5pm. A reception with the featured guests and The Common editors and staff will follow. The event will be held in Amherst College’s brand new Center for Humanistic Inquiry, on the second floor of Frost Library. Join us for music, food, drink, and a raffle of books signed by the panelists. Join the Facebook event here. A parking map can be found below.


Jennifer Acker is Editor in Chief of The Common. Her short stories, translations, and essays have been published in journals such as Slate, Guernica, n+1, Ploughshares, Harper’s, and The Millions, among other places. She has an MFA from the Bennington Writing Seminars and teaches literature, creative writing, and editing at Amherst College and NYU Abu Dhabi.


Major Jackson is the recipient of a Guggenheim Fellowship, among other honors. He teaches at the University of Vermont and is the poetry editor of the Harvard Review. His first book, Leaving Saturn, was a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle award. Each of his last two collections, Hoops and Holding Company, was a finalist for the NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Literature–Poetry. His most recent collection, Roll Deep was published by W.W. Norton in August of this year. He lives in South Burlington, Vermont.

Jim Shepard is the author of seven novels, including most recently The Book of Aron, and four story collections. His third collection, Like You’d Understand, Anyway, was a finalist for the National Book Award and won The Story Prize. His novel, Project X won the 2005 Library of Congress/Massachusetts Book Award for Fiction, as well as the ALEX Award from the American Library Association. His short fiction has appeared in, among other magazines, Harper’s, McSweeney’s, The Paris Review, The Atlantic Monthly, Esquire, and The New Yorker. Four of his stories have been chosen for the Best American Short Stories. He teaches at Williams College and in the Warren Wilson MFA program.

Karen Shepard is a Chinese-American born and raised in New York City. She is the author of four novels, An Empire of Women, The Bad Boy’s Wife, Don’t I Know You?, and The Celestials. Her short fiction has been published in The Atlantic Monthly, Tin House, and Ploughshares, among other places. Her nonfiction has appeared in More, Self, USA Today, and the Boston Globe. She teaches writing and literature at Williams College in Williamstown, MA.

Ilan Stavans is the Publisher of Restless Books and the Lewis-Sebring Professor in Latin American and Latino Culture at Amherst College. His books include On Borrowed Words, Spanglish, Dictionary Days, The Disappearance, A Critic’s Journey, and most recently, Quixote. He has edited The Norton Anthology of Latino Literature, the three-volume set Isaac Bashevis Singer: Collected Stories, The Poetry of Pablo Neruda, among other volumes. He is the recipient of numerous awards and honors, including a Guggenheim Fellowship, Chile’s Presidential Medal, and the Jewish Book Award. Stavans’s work, translated into a dozen languages, has been adapted to the stage and screen. He is a cofounder of the Great Books Summer Program at Amherst, Stanford, and Oxford.

Discovery: New Writers, New Places – The Common Celebrates 5 Years

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