(AMHERST, Mass., November 5, 2018) — The Common, the award-winning literary journal based at Amherst College, has received a $50,000 gift from Sally Wood, whose daughter and late husband attended Amherst. The gift supports student interns who show exceptional editorial promise and leadership skills. The students funded through this gift—one per year for four years—will be known as the Thomas E. Wood ’61 Fellows, in honor of the donor’s late husband, an English major, avid reader, and gifted writer and poet.
“We are deeply grateful to the Wood family for this generous gift,” said Jennifer Acker, editor in chief of The Common. “We are pleased to be able to honor Mr. Wood’s memory and to strengthen and expand our mentorship of talented student leaders who display a passion for literature.” Since 2010, Acker has directed the Literary Publishing Internship (LPI), which employs eight to 10 students during the school year, during the January Interterm and over the summer. Interns 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.
“I would like to thank the family of Thomas E. Wood ’61 for their gift and for their commitment to the vibrant literary community at Amherst,” said Amherst College President Biddy Martin. “This generous support for The Common’s internship program allows our exceptional students to engage deeply and consequentially in reading and writing outside the classroom.”
Julia Pike, a member of Amherst’s class of 2019, is the first recipient of the Thomas E. Wood ’61 Fellowship. Pike, an English major, is a previous recipient of the Gregory S. Call Student Research Grant, which enabled her to spend eight weeks on the Amherst College campus during summer 2018 working on her thesis, a speculative fiction novella inspired by climate change. She was also awarded the Harry Richmond Hunter Jr. Prize, given for the best essay written by a sophomore as part of the work of any English course at the College. Her writing has been published in Two Thirds North, The Molotov Cocktail and Rookie Magazine, as well as in The Common.
“I am thrilled to have been named the inaugural Thomas E. Wood ’61 Fellow and am especially excited about taking on more editorial work, as well as planning community events. I am so grateful to the family of Mr. Wood for giving me this opportunity,” Pike said.
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 LPI interns have gone on to publish 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 650 authors from 40 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. For more information and to read or subscribe, visit www.thecommononline.org.