The Common Brings National Book Awards on Campus to Amherst

LitFest 2018: Illuminating Great Writing

LitFest 2018

This spring marked the third year of Amherst's annual literary festival, which celebrates the College's extraordinary literary life by bringing to campus distinguished authors and editors to share and discuss the pleasures and challenges of verbal expression—from fiction and nonfiction to poetry and spoken-word performance. In partnership with the National Book Foundation, The Common hosted Carmen Maria Machado and Min Jin Lee for discussions of their work and their National Book Award-nominated books. 

Jen Acker, Min Jin Lee, Parul Sehgal, and Carmen Maria Machado

Ngũgĩ wa Thiong'o, Rafael Campo '87, Tess Taylor '99, Junot Díaz, and Masha and Keith Gessen were among the other acclaimed writers featured at LitFest 2018.

Ngũgĩ wa Thiong'o

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LitFest 2017

LitFest 2017 

Amherst’s annual literary festival celebrates the College’s extraordinary literary life by bringing to campus distinguished authors and editors to share and discuss the pleasures and challenges of verbal expression—from fiction and nonfiction, to poetry and spoken-word performance. 

Chris Bachelder Talk

This year’s festival features award-winning novelist Zadie Smith, Pulitzer Prize-winning historian Doris Kearns Goodwin, and 2016 National Book Award Fiction Finalists Chris Bachelder and Jacqueline Woodson, among others.

Zadie Smith Q&A

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LitFest 2016  

What is National Book Awards on Campus & LitFest 2016?

The Common has partnered with the National Book Foundation to make Amherst College the foundation's Northeast Regional Partner and a host of the 2016 National Book Awards on Campus. Each year, twenty NBA judges whittle down more than 1,400 American books in the categories of fiction, nonfiction, poetry, and young people's literature. National Book Awards on Campus brings the year's winners and finalists to select college campuses for two days of lively readings and discussions. Additional support for this program is provided by the President's Office and the English Department. 

LitFest kickoff

From March 3–5, Amherst College and The Common welcomed internationally renowned authors Mark Bowden, Michael Chabon, Angela Flournoy, Lauren Groff ’01, and Stacy Schiff to campus as part of Amherst College LitFest 2016, an inaugural three-day literary festival celebrating fiction and nonfiction writing, poetry, spoken-word performance and conversation.

Michael Chabon in Johnson Chapel

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Amherst College LitFest is organized by the Center for Humanistic Inquiry, The Common, the Emily Dickinson Museum, the English Department and the Office of Communications at Amherst College.