An emphasis on global literature and work in translation

As part of its focus on a modern sense of place, The Common embraces global literature, particularly in translation. The magazine regularly publishes features and special issues devoted to work from particular linguistic and geographic regions. By committing to make space for a broad range of places and narratives in the magazine, The Common aspires to a more inclusive vision of English-language literature. Read a few highlights of our global literature sections below.

Yellow paleta melting

From Puerto Rico (Issue 16)

Issue 16’s portfolio, De Puerto Rico: Un año después de la tormenta/ From Puerto Rico: One year after the storm, celebrates the resilience of Puerto Rican writers, and showcases some of the country’s best artists working in a variety of genres. In March 2018, Editor-in-Chief Jennifer Acker spent a week in San Juan, collaborating with Puerto Rican artists on the portfolio.

Pomegranate on orange background

Arabic Stories from Jordan (Issue 15)

The nine stories in Issue 15's Jordanian fiction portfolio come from celebrated authors and newcomers alike, and span time periods, subjects, and continents. Work by nine writers appears in English for the first time, courtesy of four translators. Interviews by The Common's interns with Haifa' Abul-Nadi and Elias Farkouh are forthcoming.

issue 11 cover

Issue 11Tajdeed 

Fewer than 0.5% percent of English translations in the past three years came from the Arab world. Co-edited by Editor-in-Chief Jennifer Acker and celebrated Jordanian author Hisham Bustani, Issue 11 features the work of 26 authors from 15 Middle Eastern countries. With introductions by acclaimed Egyptian writer Youssef Rakha and journalist Marcia Lynx Qualey, Tajdeed includes short stories from award-winning writers Zakaria Tamer (Syria) and Mohamed Makhzangi (Egypt), as well as eight authors who have never before been published in English.   

Issue 10 cover: old fountain pen nibs on an orange background

New Poems from China (Issue 10)

Li Yongyi and Stephen Haven translated six poems into English for Issue 10's poetry feature. Don't miss Yongyi's own "III. The USA," Tang Danhong's "You Might Have Been My Brother," or Yang Jian's "1967."

Issue 09 cover: A ball of crumpled paper

Mumbai/Bombay: India from the Inside Out (Issue 09)

Issue 09 features a collection of essays and recipes from writers and cooks in Mumbai (Bombay), India. The first piece in this body of work is Nonita Kalra's "The Kindness of Strangers," a kind of introduction to the city. Other highlights include Amit Chaudhuri's "Where Does the Time Go?," Nina McConigley's "Jesse Owens, Mr. Harris, and Me," and a recipe for dal from Nirmala Swamidoss McConigley, Nina's mother.

Issue 04 cover: a marshmallow on a stick

Contemporary South African Poetry (Issue 04)

Issue 04 features The Common's first special portfolio, curated and introduced by Kelwyn Sole. Both celebrated and emerging poets from South Africa appear in these pages, writing in a broad variety of styles and on a broad variety of subjects. Highlights include Mxolisi Nyezwa's "City," Angifi Proctor Dladla's "Poet's Report to Fifa," Yvette Christiansë's "A Message Comes In," and Vonani Bila's "Mandela at 91."



Global Lit. Events 

On March 24, 2015, a panel of internationally known writers, editors, and translators partook in a lively forum on the Amherst campus to address the following questions: What themes, styles, and innovative collaborations are emerging in Middle Eastern fiction? What linguistic, political, and cultural opportunities and challenges do Arabic writers and their editors face in translating and publishing new works?

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View photos from the event.

Read Amherst's news coverage of the panel.

This conversation was organized by The Common in conjunction with the Copeland Colloquium Program at Amherst College, with generous support from the Georges Lurcy Lecture Series Fund at Amherst College and the Corliss Lamont Lectureship for a Peaceful World. 

The Common in the City 2016: A Celebration of Arabic Fiction

On May 19, we gathered at the Arthur L. Carter Journalism Institute in New York City for a night of food, drink and celebration of our special 11th issue. Readers brought to life the words of Tajdeed's emerging and prize-winning authors.

Omar Berrada reads “Just Different” by Malika Moustadraf (Morocco).

Öykü Tekten reads "A Bouquet” by Fatima Al-Mazrouei (United Arab Emirates).

Hadi Eldebek reads from "Hassan al-Mazza Al-Shaghouri's Last Victory" by Zakaria Tamer (Syria).