All posts tagged: News & Events

Read Excerpts by the Restless Books Prize for New Immigrant Writing 2022 Finalists

The ethos of the modern world is defined by immigrants. Their stories have always been an essential component of our cultural consciousness, from Isaac Bashevis Singer to Isabel Allende, from Milan Kundera to Yiyun Li. In novels, short stories, memoirs, and works of journalism, immigrants have shown us what resilience and dedication we’re capable of, and have expanded our sense of what it means to be global citizens. In these times of intense xenophobia, it is more important than ever that these boundary-crossing stories reach the broadest possible audience.

Now in its seventh year, the Restless Books Prize for New Immigrant Writing supports the voices of immigrant writers whose works straddle cultural divides, embrace the multicultural makeup of our society, and interrogate questions of identity in a global society. This prize awards $10,000 and publication with Restless Books to a debut writer. This year’s judges, Tiphanie Yanique, Deepak Unnikrishnan, and Ilan Stavans, have selected the below four finalists. Click on the links in each section to read excerpts from their books.
 
 

Nobody Here Plays Little Kid Games by Geimy Colón

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A dark and fascinating take on the intersectionality of gender, age, and migration, Geimy Colón’s short story collection, Nobody Here Plays Little Kid Games, is a coming-of-age tale written in lush and graceful prose. Set in an unnamed Latin American country, each story begins with children innocently climbing trees, playing marbles with their friends, and experiencing their first kisses. Colón then reveals a more sinister reality as we observe the children replicate the violence of colorism, colonialism, and oppression that surrounds them. Born in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic, and raised in Brooklyn, New York, Colón writes stories that oscillate between the realms of innocence and the loss of innocence, refusing to shy away from the darker aspects of immigrant childhood. Nobody Here Plays Little Kid Games illustrates what occurs in the absence of adults—and what occurs because, and in spite, of them.

Read the excerpt.

 

Between This World and the Next by Praveen Herat

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Set in 1998, Between This World and the Next tells the story of Fearless, a burnt-out British photojournalist hardened by a long career in war-torn countries, and Song, a Cambodian woman who has been physically and psychologically beset by the violence in her country. When Song disappears, leaving only a mysterious videotape behind, Fearless must navigate a dangerous network of shady power brokers, transnational kingpins, sex traffickers, and arms dealers, uncovering a sprawling network of criminality and corruption in a newly post-Soviet world. A passionate exploration of power, poverty, and greed, Between This World and the Next challenges our own complicity as passive observers when exposed to a constant stream of media depicting suffering across the world. Born in London to Sri Lankan parents, Praveen Herat brings a sharp new perspective to the global ramifications of the breakup of the Soviet Union and the hidden criminal networks that impact our lives in ways beyond our reckoning.

Read the excerpt.

 

Craft by Ananda Lima

Image of Ananda Lima's headshot.

A wild and surrealistic story collection that pays homage to Kafka and Cortázar, Ananda Lima’s Craft seeks to disrupt reductive understandings of both the immigrant experience and the art and craft of writing. Blending autofiction and magical realism, Lima creates characters as enigmatic as they are endearing. From stories of women who devour miniature Americans from vending machines and are haunted by ghosts, to the writer’s recreation of her own battles with know-it-all editors, Craft boasts a cast of characters that won’t easily be forgotten. A first-generation immigrant from Brasilia, Brazil, Lima crafts innovative work that challenges traditional North American ideas about how stories should operate, what makes an immigrant narrative, how the intellectual is placed in opposition to the emotional, and whom these ideals ultimately serve.

Read the excerpt. 

 

A Bag Full of Stones by A. Molotkov

Image of A. Molotkov's headshot.

This savvy, intelligent, and delightful detective story follows pair of investigators in Portland, Oregon—a Russian immigrant man and a Black woman—as they try to solve a series of hate-crime murders. Told in the alternating perspectives of the investigators and the ghosts of the murdered immigrant victims, this wild whodunnit set in an America tranquilized by sectarian politics brings (back) to life the voices of those who are often overlooked or dismissed. With a focus on characters struggling to reconcile their distorted worldviews with reality, A Bag Full of Stones encapsulates how confused the notion of justice has become in a nation more divided than ever. Skillfully blending different lexicons, points of view, and narrative structures, A. Molotkov, a writer born in the former USSR, showcases the multifarious, inventive possibilities of immigrant writing in the United States.

Read the excerpt.

Read Excerpts by the Restless Books Prize for New Immigrant Writing 2022 Finalists
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Weekly Writes Summer 2022: Accountable You

Signups for Weekly Writes Summer 2022 have now closed. If you’d like to hear about our next round of Weekly Writes, please register your interest here.


Weekly Writes is a ten-week program designed to help you create original place-based writing, beginning July 18.

We’re offering both poetry AND prose, in two separate programs. What do you want to prioritize this summer? Pick the program, sharpen your pencils, and get ready for a weekly dose of writing inspiration (and accountability) in your inbox!
    

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Weekly Writes Summer 2022: Accountable You
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Craft Masterclasses: Fiction, Nonfiction, Poetry & Translation

Blue image with title CRAFT MASTERCLASSES with THE COMMON with group headshots 

Give your writing a boost this spring. Join The Common for a series of craft classes with these literary luminaries.
 

    • Bruna Dantas Lobato: No Two Snowflakes Are Alike: How to Translate Style [register]

    • Karen Shepard on Fiction: The Children’s Hour [register]

    • Willie Perdomo on Poetry: The City and the Poet, the Street and the Poem [register]

    • Suketu Mehta on Nonfiction: Writing the City [register]

 
Each class includes a craft talk and Q&A with the guest author, generative exercises and discussion, and a take-home list of readings and writing prompts. Recordings will be available after the fact for participants who cannot attend the live event.
 
Each class is $125, or $85 for current subscribers or current and past Weekly Writes participants. 

 

Craft Masterclasses: Fiction, Nonfiction, Poetry & Translation
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Is Poetry Possible at the Moment History Stirs: Poets of Ukraine

I ask
Half-awake
Is poetry possible
At the moment history stirs
Once its steps
Reverberate through every heart?

— From “Can there be poetry after” by Anastasia Afanasieva, translated by Kevin Vaughn and Maria Khotimsky

 

With the current Russian invasion of Ukraine, we at The Common have been reflecting on the powerful words of many Ukrainian poets who have appeared in our pages. In recent years their work has been rooted in conflict, as the country struggled first with self-determination and later with the Russian annexation of Crimea and, since 2014, with a Russian-incited war in the East. This focus lends a feeling of prescience and timeliness to their work now, even though most of these poems are not new. We hope you’ll make time to read and reflect on the work of these poets, as we all keep Ukraine and the Ukrainian people in our thoughts.

Is Poetry Possible at the Moment History Stirs: Poets of Ukraine
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FAQ: Weekly Writes Summer 2022


write with us now

Signups for Weekly Writes Summer 2022 have now closed. If you’d like to hear about our next round of Weekly Writes, please register your interest here.


WW Summer 2022 Accountable You Questions

Q: What makes this program different from past Weekly Writes volumes?

A: Weekly Writes Accountable You includes an additional focus on committing to a regular writing practice. After joining the Google Classroom, 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 Google Classroom 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.


Q: I already did Weekly Writes Vol. 1, 2, 3, 4, or 5. Is this the same thing?

A: Prompts and advice for Weekly Writes Summer 2022 are not all brand new; if you participated in Vol. 4 Prose or Vol. 5 Poetry, you will see some familiar material this summer. If you’re not sure which volume you participated in, contact us at [email protected] and we’ll help figure it out!


FAQ: Weekly Writes Summer 2022
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Exclusive Fee-Free Submission Period for BIPOC Writers

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.

Image of BIPOC graphic with deadline extension.
In an effort to remove barriers to access, The Common will open exclusively for BIPOC writers for two weeks, and waive submission fees, now extended until July 4 at 11:59 PM EST. 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
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Readings from Amherst College LitFest 2021

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

Readings from Amherst College LitFest 2021
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The Common’s 10 Most-Read Pieces of 2018

As The Common office continues to anticipate the exciting work we plan to share in 2019 both online and in our next issues, it seems like a great time to reflect on the pieces that made 2018 just as exciting for us. See what resonated with readers the most in 2018 by browsing the list below of our most-read works of the past year: they range from fiction to essays, interviews, and more! 

The Common’s 10 Most-Read Pieces of 2018
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Weekly Writes Vol. 2

Signups for Weekly Writes Vol. 2 closed on January 27th. To register your interest in future WW programs, click here.

WW vol 2


Weekly Writes is a ten-week program designed to help you create original place-based
fiction and nonfiction.

WW Volume 2 kicks off on January 28, just in time to help you sustain the momentum of your New Year’s writing resolution! The deadline to sign up is January 27, 2019.

Sign up for Volume 2 is now closed. The $15 fee includes one free, expedited* submission via Submittable after program completion. Prompts and advice are brand new for Volume 2, so Volume 1 participants will not encounter any repetition or old prompts.

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Weekly Writes Vol. 2
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