All posts tagged: November

Film Review: El Planeta

Review by HANNAH GERSEN 
Movie directed by AMALIA ULMAN

Image of a film still from El Planeta: black and white photo of one a woman choking another woman while wearing winter coats.

In Amalia Ulman’s debut feature, El Planeta, which she wrote and directed, Ulman and her real-life mother (Ale Ulman) play a mother and a daughter awaiting eviction. Ulman’s character, Leo (short for Leonor), has returned home after the death of her father, whose sporadic alimony payments barely supported her mother when he was alive. Leo is jobless and so is her mother, María. The two women spend most of the film in their narrow galley kitchen where the sunlight is abundant, and they aren’t tempted to waste money on electric lighting. Their refrigerator is empty, save for the tiny slips of paper María places in the freezer, each one bearing the handwritten name of an enemy. Atop the refrigerator are multiple glasses of water, which have something to do with María’s witchcraft—a practice that seems more like a distracting hobby than a coherent belief system. Leo sews bizarre yet fashionable clothing by hand, having sold her sewing machine for cash. They drink coffee, cook pasta, and, when they are really hungry, dress up in designer clothing and run up large bills in restaurants and stores, promising to pay later or claiming that Leo’s boyfriend is a local politician who will pick up the tab. They live in Gijón, a small city on Spain’s northern coast, a place hit hard by the global recession, with shuttered shops and empty tourist districts. It’s no wonder these two women are more at home in their delusions of grandeur. 

Film Review: El Planeta
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Podcast: Carin Clevidence on “Ghosts of the Southern Ocean”

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Carin Clevidence speaks to managing editor Emily Everett about her essay “Ghosts of the Southern Ocean,” which appears in The Common’s fall issue. In this conversation, Carin talks about how her experiences traveling to Antarctica on expeditions have changed over the years, and how that change comes through in her writing. She also discusses her 2011 novel The House on Salt Hay Road, and the novel she’s recently completed about an expedition to Antarctica. 

Image of Carin Clevidence's headshot and The Common's Issue 22 cover: pink-peach seashell on light blue backrgound.

Podcast: Carin Clevidence on “Ghosts of the Southern Ocean”
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Writing from the Arabian Gulf: The Common’s Issue 22 Launch

On November 3rd at 4:30pm EDT, join The Common for the virtual launch of Issue 22! Contributors Mona Kareem, Keija Parssinen, Tariq al Haydar, and Deepak Unnikrishnan will join us from all around the world to read their pieces from our Arabian Gulf portfolio, followed by a conversation about place and culture, hosted by the magazine’s editor in chief Jennifer Acker and portfolio co-editor Noor Naga. This event is co-hosted by Amherst College’s Center for Humanistic Inquiry and sponsored by the Arts at Amherst Initiative.

REGISTER

After registering, you will receive a confirmation email via Amherst College, containing information about joining the event. If you’d like to preorder Issue 22, you may do so here.

Image of issue 22 seashell on a blue background, announcing the details of the event.

Mona Kareem is the author of three poetry collections. She is a recipient of a 2021 NEA literary grant and a fellow at the Center for the Humanities at Tufts University. Her work appears in The Brooklyn Rail, Michigan Quarterly Review, Fence, Ambit, Poetry London, Los Angeles Review of Books, Asymptote, Words Without Borders, Poetry International, PEN America, Modern Poetry in Translation, Two Lines, and Specimen. She has held fellowships with Princeton University, Poetry International, the Arab American National Museum, the Norwich Center for Writing, and Forum Transregionale Studien. Her translations include Ashraf Fayadh’s Instructions Within and Ra’ad Abdulqadir’s Except for This Unseen Thread.

Keija Parssinen is the author of the novels The Ruins of Us, which received the Michener-Copernicus Award, and The Unraveling of Mercy Louis, which earned an Alex Award from the American Library Association. She is currently an assistant professor of English and creative writing at Kenyon College.

Tariq al Haydar‘s work has appeared in The Threepenny Review, North American Review, DIAGRAM, Beyond Memory: An Anthology of Contemporary Arab American Creative Nonfiction, and other publications. His nonfiction was named as notable in The Best American Essays 2016.

Deepak Unnikrishnan is a writer from Abu Dhabi. His book Temporary People, a work of fiction about Gulf narratives steeped in Malayalee and South Asian lingo, won the inaugural Restless Books Prize for New Immigrant Writing, the Hindu Prize, and the Moore Prize.

Writing from the Arabian Gulf: The Common’s Issue 22 Launch
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Playing Frankenstein: An Interview with Alison Entrekin

HEATH WING interviews ALISON ENTREKIN

Image of Alison Entrekin

When I met with Alison Entrekin for this interview, the first thing I noticed was all the books she carried with her: fat dictionaries, field guides on botany, one on the birds of northeastern Brazil—the type of book generally known only to birdwatchers and ornithologists—not to mention a copy of Dylan Thomas’s 1954 radio drama, Under Milk Wood. I thought, only in the hands of a translator, an obsessive sort of word junkie like Alison, could such an assortment of books assemble.

We sat down to discuss her work in a coffee shop/bookstore in Santos, Brazil. As we made small talk, Alison, almost in passing, nodded toward the bookshelf above us lined with guidebooks on Brazil for gringo tourists. She explained that she had translated many of these guidebooks into English, a long time ago. She told me this, it seemed, neither to emphasize the extent of her work, which is no doubt impressive, nor to boast—and there is much to brag about—but in a self-reflective sort of manner, more to herself, as if surprised by how far she has come, from translating tourist guidebooks to now being the most sought after English translator of Brazilian literature. Her long list of translations includes works like City of God by Paulo Lins, Cristovão Tezza’s The Eternal Son, Chico Buarque’s Budapest, Clarice Lispector’s Near to the Wild Heart, and Blood-Drenched Beard by Daniel Galera.

Playing Frankenstein: An Interview with Alison Entrekin
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Author Postcard Auction 2020

Image of TC logo with headshots of authors participating in postcard auction

It’s that time of year again: bid for a personalized, handwritten postcard from your favorite author through The Common’s seventh annual author postcard auction! The personalization of the postcards makes them fantastic gifts, just in time for the holidays.

Join in on the fun this year for a chance to receive a postcard from New York Times-bestsellers, National Book Award-winners, and MacArthur Fellows. 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. 

New this year, in celebration of The Common’s 10th anniversary, some bidders will also receive rewards from Penguin Classics! The first and every fifth bidder, plus the highest bidder and top two underbidders (just missed out on winning!), will receive one of a handful of books from the gorgeous Deluxe or hardcover Vitae series including F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby, George Elliot’s Middlemarch, and the autobiography of Frederick Douglass.

Online bidding will open to the public at 10 am EST on November 9, 2020. Participating authors include literary powerhouses such as André Aciman, Susan Choi, and Valeria Luiselli, as well as writer-performers Jenny Slate and David Sedaris. Newcomers to the auction include acclaimed writers Anne Carson and Phil Klay and world-renowned singer/songwriter Natalie Merchant.

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

Author Postcard Auction 2020
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Friday Reads: November 2019

Curated by: SARAH WHELAN

Already done reading our latest Issue? Prolong the fun with these weekend reading recommendations from our Issue 18 contributors. 

Recommendations: The Weil Conjectures by Karen Olsson; Marjorie Morningstar by Herman Wouk; 7th Cousins: An Automythography by Erin Brubacher and Christine Brubaker; How To Do Nothing: Resisting the Attention Economy by Jenny Odell

Friday Reads: November 2019
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