This year marks the fourth LitFest, an annual literary festival hosted at Amherst College. From February 2-March 2, students, professors, alumni, and community members came together in Amherst College’s Johnson Chapel to hear National Book Award finalists Jennifer Egan, Brandon Hobson, and Jamel Brinkley speak about their writing processes, what writing means to them, and the purpose of writing. On March 2, Pulitzer Prize-winner Elizabeth Kolbert and NYT-bestselling author Charles C. Mann ’76 had a robust conversation about environmental changes and science journalism. Additional events included author masterclasses, a poetry slam, career panels, and a literary tour of Amherst. LitFest is sponsored by The Common, the Center for Humanistic Inquiry and the Emily Dickinson Museum.
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!
Whitney BrunoThe Common’s 10 Most-Read Pieces of 2018
Q: What if I’m busy and can’t work on the week’s prompts? Will they expire?
A: No. While we hope that writing every week is part of your program experience, we understand that life gets in the way. The prompts are yours to download and keep, so you can start writing whenever you have time. Because the scaffolded prompts build on one piece week after week, you will want to work in order even if you fall behind.
Signups for Weekly Writes Vol. 2 closed on January 27th. To register your interest in future WW programs, click here.
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.
Welcome to the TC Alumni spotlight, where we highlight the achievements of our former staff members! This month, we’re checking in with Meghan Maria McCullough, a former Senior Editorial Assistant and Amherst College Class of 2015. Since graduation, Meghan has worked in publishing at organizations such as Penguin Random House and Union Literary, and has most recently been hired as an Editorial Assistant at Arthur A. Levine Books.
Congratulations on your new role at Scholastic! What drew you to join this publisher in particular?
Thank you! I’m just over three months in and I couldn’t be more thrilled to be here. I was drawn to Scholastic, and my imprint, Arthur A. Levine Books, in particular, because I love children’s books–picture books, Middle Grade, Young Adult especially. That’s what Scholastic does, and in my opinion, we do it better than anyone else out there. I am so proud to work for the publisher of, yes, Harry Potter, but also of some of the most remarkable children’s books being released today. Some of my recent favorites of ours that have been just-released or are coming down the pike include: a Middle Grade calledThe Extremely Inconvenient Adventures of Bronte Mettlestone by Jaclyn Moriarty, a young adult novel coming in February calledThe Music of What Happens by Bill Konigsberg, and a just-released picture book calledGood Morning, Snowplow! by Deborah Bruss, illustrated by Lou Fancher and Steve Johnson. I am of the mind that the books that we read growing up are the most important books we will ever read–they are the books that shape us, they are our closest friends, they are the building blocks that we stack into a worldview. I still can’t quite believe that now I get to have a hand in making them.
Flavia MartinezTC Alumni Spotlight: Meghan Maria McCullough
Don’t miss The Common’s annual author postcard auction! Bid for a chance to win a postcard from your favorite writer, handwritten for yourself or a person of your choice. Past years’ authors have gone above and beyond in creating their postcards, penning long letters or including drawings of recipients’ dogs.
Postcards will be written and mailed in time for the holidays! Makes a great gift – choose who the postcard goes to, and have it personalized for them.
This month, enjoy a new feature that celebrates the wonderful former interns and employees that have worked at The Common over the years. Though we miss seeing them everyday, we’re continually impressed by what they go on to accomplish. This month, we’re catching up with former Editorial Assistant JinJin Xu, an Amherst College alumna, Watson Fellow, and most recently, recipient of the Lillian Vernon Fellowship at NYU.
November 5, 5:30 pm Community Reception & Meal
Wistariahurst Museum, Holyoke, MA Reception 5:30 pm, Reading and Conversation 7 pm
Join The Common for a Puerto Rican meal, and stay to hear writers and translators Ana Teresa Toro, Sergio Gutiérrez Negrón, María José Giménez, and María Luisa Arroyo Cruzado discuss their work in The Common‘s special portfolio: De Puerto Rico: Un año después de la tormenta/ From Puerto Rico: One Year after the Storm. Filmmaker Michelle Falcón will showcase her documentary film PROMESA, which tells the stories of people affected by Puerto Rico’s economic crisis. The independent short documentary examines the economic crisis in Puerto Rico, before Hurricane Maria, by exploring how its colonial relationship with the US has had both political and personal impact on the islanders. From this documentary, Reclaim Puerto Rico was created to help the Puerto Rican community overcome the Hurricane Maria devastation by awarding mini-grants to support entrepreneurship on the island. Donate to Reclaim Puerto Rico here.
Join the staff and interns of The Common for a celebration of uncommonly good literature! Come to hear readings from our most recent issue and enjoy wine and cheese in the Center for Humanistic Inquiry at Amherst College.
Free and open to the public – students, parents, and local lit lovers all welcome!
The Common is excited to announce four new additions to the editorial staff: Translations Editor Curtis Bauer, Contributing Editor W. Ralph Eubanks, Arabic Fiction Editor Hisham Bustani, and Dispatches Editor Nina Sudhakar.