Amherst Panel Conversation Raises Awareness about Contemporary Arabic Literature

The Common panel participants
Three of the six panelists (left to right): Michel S. Moushabeck, founder of Interlink Publishing; John Siciliano, executive editor at Penguin Random House; and Jennifer Acker '00, founder and editor-in-chief of The Common, Photo by Steven Tagle

Roughly 3 percent of books published in the U.S. every year are works in translation.

Of that 3 percent, only about 4.3 percent are translated from Arabic.

How often do you read books in English that have been translated from other languages? Chances are, not often. Have you ever read a book in English that was translated from Arabic? Chances are, you haven't. Statistically speaking, your chances of finding any work in translation—works from the Arab world in particular—on the shelves of your local bookstore are minimal.

Roughly 3 percent of books published in the U.S. every year are works in translation; of that 3 percent, only about 4.3 percent are translated from Arabic. This spring, Jennifer Acker '00, founder and editor-in-chief of Amherst's literary magazine The Common, moderated a panel conversation at Amherst about contemporary Arabic fiction and began by citing these bleak statistics (which come from publisher Chad Post, who provided them to Publishers Weekly for this article).

"Our hope," Acker explained, "is that all of our collective efforts as readers and writers, community members and publishers ... can help to increase that number."

The Common Wins NEA Literature Grant to Develop Programming for Web, Classrooms

February 16, 2015

By Madeline Ruoff ’18

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The Common founder and editor Jennifer Acker ’00 (second from left) laughs
with students and Diana Babineau ’14, managing editor (far right)

The Common, Amherst College’s literary magazine, was one of 55 organizations nationwide to receive a National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) literature grant in 2014, the first year that the publication was eligible. The magazine received $10,000 “to support the creation of art that meets the highest standards of excellence.”

The Common Literary Magazine

Amherst steps up its uncommon commitment to The Common

Submitted on Monday, 6/16/2014, at 1:32 PM

The release on May 11 of the seventh issue of The Common, the rapidly growing print and online literary magazine based at Amherst College, marks increased college support for the magazine.

Jennifer Acker ’00

Print Makes a Stand

The Chronicle of Higher Education: In Search of a 'Modern Sense of Place'

’00 alumna and editor Jennifer Acker spoke at length about the college’s new literary magazine, The Common, in this Q&A with the high-profile higher education publication.

Inside Higher Ed: New Journal, Old School Values

The launch of The Common, as well as a companion publishing internship program and literary publishing course, drew the attention of Inside Higher Ed, which said the Amherst is taking “the road less traveled” in supporting it. The piece explored the current environment for literary journals and quoted Gregory Call, dean of the faculty, and The Common founder and editor Jennifer Acker ’00.