(Amherst, Mass. October 6, 2020)— The Common, the award-winning literary journal based at Amherst College, has announced its Literary Editorial Fellowship funded in part by generous support from alumni donors and from the Whiting Foundation, which is providing a $20,000 matching grant for two years in recognition of the magazine’s secure and important foothold in literary publishing. In 2019, The Common was the top print award winner of the Whiting Literary Magazine Prizes.
The Literary Editorial Fellow was created with two goals in mind: to strengthen the bridge between The Common’s existing Literary Publishing Internship (LPI) program for undergraduates and the professional publishing world; and to provide invaluable, real-world experience for an Amherst graduate, transferable to any job in trade or academic publishing, communications, or nonprofit management. The postgraduate position will also increase the capacity of The Common’s mentorship, publishing, and programming operations with particular focus on mentoring current student interns as they critically evaluate submissions; write, edit and proofread prose and poetry; create multimedia web features; write and design publicity materials; develop, organize and staff innovative events on campus and across the country; and research magazine production and distribution.
Isabel Meyers ’20 is the inaugural Literary Editorial Fellow. Meyers, an English major, worked for three and a half years at The Common as an undergraduate, and became the second recipient of the Thomas E. Wood ’61 Fellowship–a leadership position open to Amherst College LPI seniors. She is also the winner of The David Kirp 1965 Stonewall Prize for producing a work of exceptional artistic merit pertaining to the LGBT community, and The G. Armour Craig Award for Prose Composition for writing an exemplary autobiographical essay.
“I am beyond honored to be named The Common’s first Literary Editorial Fellow,” Meyers said. “The Common has played such a large role in my time at Amherst, and I am very excited to continue working with current interns and become more deeply involved in every aspect of the publishing process.”
Editor in chief of The Common Jennifer Acker said, “As our first Literary Editorial Fellow, Isabel will put into practice the editing and leadership skills she learned as an intern, positioning her for advanced work in the wider publishing world.” She added, “Our current interns will benefit from her guidance and expertise, and, with an additional pair of hands, the magazine will be able to continue to build toward a sustainable future and to develop our global publishing and educational programs.” Since 2010, Acker has directed the Literary Publishing Internship (LPI), which employs eight to ten students during the school year, during the January Interterm and over the summer. The LEF position will be the magazine’s first program supporting recently graduated students, providing them with a stepping stone between the liberal arts and the greater publishing world.
This LEF position is only one example of Amherst’s commitment to supporting hands-on learning, inspiring students to make their ideas actionable both inside and outside of the classroom. “Our students are fortunate to gain real world literary experience with The Common as undergraduates, and the Literary Editorial Fellowship will allow that learning to continue beyond graduation and serve them as they launch their careers,” said Catherine Epstein, provost and dean of the faculty.
The Common is an award-winning print and digital literary journal published biannually. Issues of The Common include short stories, essays, poems and images that embody a strong sense of place. Former Literary Publishing Interns have gone on to publish acclaimed novels, win Watson Fellowships, study English literature at top graduate programs and work at nonprofit organizations and literary publishers around the world. Since its debut in 2011, The Common has published more than 1,200 authors from 52 countries. Pieces from The Common have been awarded the O. Henry Prize, the PEN/Robert J. Dau Short Story Award for Emerging Writers, and have been selections and notable mentions in multiple genres in the prestigious Best American series. The journal’s editorial vision and design have been praised in The New Yorker, The Boston Globe, Slate, The Millions, Orion Magazine, and The Chronicle of Higher Education. Annual subscriptions begin at $12.