All posts tagged: News & Events

The Common to Receive $15,000 Grant from the National Endowment for the Arts

Amherst, MA — The Common literary journal is pleased to announce its eighth award from the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA). The Arts Projects grant approved for 2024 is The Common’s largest NEA award to date and will support the journal in publishing and promoting place-based writing, fostering international connections, and expanding the audiences of emerging writers.

National Endowment for the Arts' logo.

The Common to Receive $15,000 Grant from the National Endowment for the Arts
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Celebrate Issue 26 at Skylight Books in Los Angeles!

Skylight Books
Thursday, January 25, 7pm
1818 North Vermont Ave., Los Angeles, CA
Free and open to the public
 

With so many California contributors to our Issue 26 farmworker portfolio, we had to have a West Coast celebration! Join The Common for a celebration of writing and art from the seasonal, migrant, and immigrant farmworkers who power California’s vast food and agriculture systems.
  

headshots of guest authors 

Come celebrate with us at LA’s renowned Skylight Books for a reading and conversation about place, immigration, writing, justice, farmwork, and family with contributors from California. All are part of our portfolio of writing and art from twenty-seven contributors with family roots in farmwork. It was co-edited by Miguel M. Morales.

Essayist Amanda Mei Kim writes about the ways that collective power, racism, and nature weave through the lives of rural Californians of color, through the lens of her experience growing up on her family’s tenant farm just outside LA.

Poets Allison Adelle Hedge Coke, Aideed Medina, and Oswaldo Vargas write about the struggle and the beauty of work in the fields and on farms. Their work highlights the nuance and diversity of that experience—queer discovery, activism and protest, shared labor and community.

Artist Narsiso Martinez creates moving portraits and scenes of farmworkers in the fields, painted on flattened cardboard produce boxes discarded from grocery stores. This work is drawn from the nine seasons he worked in the fields of Eastern Washington state, to fund his undergraduate and graduate studies. Narsiso writes, “When I nest images of farmworkers amidst the colorful brand names and illustrations of agricultural corporations, I hope to help the viewer make a connection, or a disconnection rather, and start creating consciousness about the people that farm their food.”

The event will include brief readings by each writer, a short presentation of Narsiso’s artwork, and then a moderated conversation and Q&A. It will be hosted by the magazine’s managing editor Emily Everett. Wine and drinks available!

 


 

Allison Adelle Hedge Coke came of age working in fields, factories, and waters. A labor and environmental poet, Hedge Coke was a sharecropper by the time she was mid-teens and continued manual labor until nearing thirty years of age, when disabilities precluded continuation. Following former fieldworker retraining in Santa Paula and Ventura, California, in the mid-1980s, she began teaching and is now Distinguished Professor and Mellon Dean’s Professor at UC Riverside. She is the author/editor of eighteen books, including Look at This Blue (National Book Award finalist), Burn, Streaming, Blood Run, Off-Season City Pipe, Dog Road Woman, The Year of the Rat, Effigies I, II, & III, Ahani, and Sing.

Narsiso Martinez (b. 1977, Oaxaca, Mexico) came to the United States when he was 20 years old. He attended Evans Community Adult School and completed high school in 2006 at the age of 29. He earned an Associate of Arts degree from Los Angeles City College, and a BFA and MFA from California State University Long Beach, where he was awarded the prestigious Dedalus Foundation MFA Fellowship in Painting and Sculpture. Drawn from his own experience as a farmworker, Martinez’s work focuses on the people performing the labors necessary to fill produce sections and restaurant kitchens around the country. His portraits of farmworkers are painted, drawn, and expressed in sculpture on discarded produce boxes collected from grocery stores. His work has been exhibited both locally and internationally. His work is in the collections of the Hammer Museum, Amon Carter Museum of American Art, MOLAA, University of Arizona Museum of Art, Long Beach Museum of Art, Crocker Art Museum, Jordan Schnitzer Museum of Art at the University of Oregon, and the Santa Barbara Museum of Art. Martinez was awarded the Frieze Impact Award in 2023. Martinez lives and works in Long Beach, CA.

Aideed Medina is a Pushcart Prize-nominated poet, spoken word artist, and playwright, and daughter of Miguel and Lupita Medina of Salinas, California, and the United Farm Workers movement. She is the author of 31 Hummingbird and a forthcoming full-length poetry collection, Segmented Bodies, from Prickly Pear Press.

Amanda Mei Kim writes about the ways that collective power, racism, and nature weave through the lives of rural Californians of color. Her writing has appeared in The Common, The New York Times, PANK, LitHub, Brick, Tayo, Eastwind Magazine, DiscoverNikkei, and Nonwhite and Woman. Poems are forthcoming in an anthology from Haymarket Press. She is a member of this year’s Changemaker Authors Cohort and a de Groot Writer of Note. She is a former Steinbeck Fellow and California Arts Council Fellow. Amanda is the founder and lead researcher for Kanshahistory.org, which publishes the property transfer records of Japanese Americans who had their farms taken during World War II. Her professional work focuses on agriculture, equity, and ethnic media. She is also a creative strategist for Hmong American farmers who are being persecuted by their local government. Amanda is writing a memoir-in-essays that uses her family’s 125-year history as agricultural workers to show how people of color created a more just and sustainable food system. More at www.amandameikim.com.

Oswaldo Vargas is a 2021 Undocupoets Fellowship recipient. He has been anthologized in Nepantla: An Anthology Dedicated to Queer Poets of Color and published in Narrative Magazine and Academy of American Poets’ “Poem-A-Day,” among other publications. He lives and dreams in Sacramento, California, for now.

Celebrate Issue 26 at Skylight Books in Los Angeles!
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Issue 26 of The Common

Issue 26 cover: light pink background with a turnip and greens

Issue 26 launches on November 6, 2023


Click here to purchase your print or digital copy, starting at just $8.

After November 6, browse the Table of Contents, including online exclusives, at thecommononline.org/issues/issue-26.

Love Issue 26’s portfolio of writing from the farmworker community? Donate to support The Common’s mission to feature new and underrepresented voices from around the world.

Interested in teaching Issue 26 in your class? Click here to explore your options and resources.

Issue 26 of The Common
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Issue 26 Launch Party in Amherst [VIDEO]

This event has passed, but you can watch a recording below! (Closed captions are included; download a transcript here.)


 

Issue 26 cover: light pink background with a turnip and greens

The Common Fall Launch Party
Thursday, November 9, 2023, 6pm
Friendly Reading Room, Frost Library
Amherst College, Amherst, MA

Free and open to the public, wine and food from La Veracruzana provided.

 
Join us to celebrate the launch of Issue 26, with three contributors to our portfolio of writing from the farmworker community!

We welcome portfolio co-editor Miguel M. Morales, poet Julián David Bañuelos, and prose writer Nora Rodriguez Camagna for brief readings and conversation about place, immigration, writing, farmwork, and family. All three of our guests grew up doing seasonal farmwork with their families. The event will be hosted by the magazine’s managing editor Emily Everett.

Pioneer Valley Workers Center logo (tractor wheel with sheaf of wheat)
Issue 26 Launch Party in Amherst [VIDEO]
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Join Weekly Writes Summer 2023: Accountable You

→ Signups for Weekly Writes Summer 2023 are now closed. To register your interest in hearing about our next WW program in January, please fill out this form


Weekly Writes is a ten-week program designed to help you create original place-based writing, beginning July 24.

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!
    

writing with a pen in a notebook

Join Weekly Writes Summer 2023: Accountable You
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The Common to Receive $10,000 from the National Endowment for the Arts

Amherst, MA—The Common literary journal is pleased to announce its seventh award from the National Endowment for the Arts. The $10,000 Arts Projects award approved for 2023 will support the publication and promotion of place-based stories, essays, and poems by diverse writers from around the world.

National Endowment for the Art logo

In previous years, The Common has published numerous global portfolios from areas including Palestine, the Lusosphere, and the Arabian Gulf. In spring 2023, supported by the NEA award, Issue 25 will feature a portfolio of stories and art from Kuwait, co-edited with TC Arabic Fiction Editor Hisham Bustani. This will be the magazine’s sixth annual portfolio bringing contemporary Arabic fiction to American audiences.

“This generous NEA grant funds our continuing commitment to bring readers in this country the best contemporary Arabic short fiction,” says founder and editor in chief Jennifer Acker. “Our unique portfolios showcase a curated selection of work that can’t be found anywhere else.”     

The grant will also support The Common‘s ongoing commitments to make a wide variety of international literature available to American readers and to provide writers in the U.S.with a global platform. The magazine’s comprehensive outreach and promotion plan includes the open-access website, publicity campaigns and partnerships, educational programs like The Common in the Classroom and The Common Young Writers Program, as well as a variety of audio and web features promoting reader and contributor engagement throughout the year

Since 1966, the NEA has supported arts projects in every state and territory in the nation. The Common‘s grant is among 1,251 Grants for Arts Projects awards totaling nearly $28.8 million that were announced by the NEA as part of its first round of fiscal year 2023 grants.

“The National Endowment for the Arts is proud to support arts projects in communities nationwide,” said NEA Chair Maria Rosario Jackson, PhD. “Projects such as this one with The Common strengthen arts and cultural ecosystems, provide equitable opportunities for arts participation and practice, and contribute to the health of our communities and our economy.”

For more information on projects included in the NEA grant announcement, visit https://www.arts.gov/news.

The Common to Receive $10,000 from the National Endowment for the Arts
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Weekly Writes Volume 7: Accountable You

 
typing on a laptop

Weekly Writes is a ten-week program designed to help you create original place-based writing, beginning January 30.

We’re offering both poetry AND prose, in two separate programs. What do you want to prioritize in 2023? Pick the program, sharpen your pencils, and get ready for a weekly dose of writing inspiration (and accountability) in your inbox!

Weekly Writes Volume 7: Accountable You
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Most-Read Pieces of 2022

As 2022 comes to an end, we want to celebrate the pieces our readers loved! Browse our list of 2022’s most-read pieces to see the writing that left an impact on our readers.

Most-Read Pieces of 2022
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The 2022 Author Postcard Auction is Open!

It’s that time of year again: bid for a personalized, handwritten postcard from your favorite author in The Common’s ninth annual author postcard auction! The personalization of the postcards makes them fantastic gifts, just in time for the holidays. Online bidding is open now, and closes at noon on November 30th.

Join in on the fun this year for a chance to receive a postcard from New York Times-bestsellers, National Book Award-winners, Man Booker Prize finalists, and Pulitzer Prize-winners and finalists. In the past few years, authors have famously gone all out with their postcards: expect to receive anything from long letters to drawings and doodles to haikus. This year, we also have singer-songwriters, cartoonists, and more!

Participating authors include literary powerhouses and popular favorites such as Fran Lebowitz, David Sedaris, Alison Bechdel, Neil Gaiman, Donna Tartt, Andrew Sean Greer, Anthony Doerr, and George Saunders. We also have songwriters Jeff Tweedy (Wilco), Craig Finn (The Hold Steady), Natalie Merchant, and Amanda Shires (The Highwomen). We’ve even got New Yorker cartoonist Chris Ware

handwritten author postcards from Chris Bachelder and Anthony Doerr

Winning bids are tax-deductible donations. All proceeds go to The Common Foundation, a registered 501(c)(3) nonprofit dedicated to publishing and promoting art and literature from global, diverse voices.

If you’re interested in supporting The Common but don’t want to bid, click here to donate

The 2022 Author Postcard Auction is Open!
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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.
 
Read Excerpts by the Restless Books Prize for New Immigrant Writing 2022 Finalists
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