Fifth Annual Arabic Night

On Friday, April 8, from 6-9 PM, The Common and the Five College Arabic Initiative will co-host the Fifth Annual Arabic Night. The night will feature the launch of The Common's eleventh issue, Tajdeed (Renewal), a special issue dedicated solely to translated contemporary Arabic fiction.

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Amherst’s Literary Journal Celebrates 10th Issue and 5th Anniversary

The Common transports readers to unknown and inaccessible parts of the world—real and imagined.

The Common, Cover of Issue 10
The Common Issue 10 is now available for purchase.

If you love a good story—one with the power to transport you to a world other than your own—chances are you’ll love the newest issue of Amherst’s award-winning literary journal, The Common

With stories, essays and poems by 34 authors from countries around the world (China, France, Lebanon, Nigeria and South Africa, to name a few), Issue 10 takes us to the front row of a Lady Gaga concert, on a hitchhiking journey around Hungary and 1,000 years into the future.

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Amherst Panel Conversation Raises Awareness about Contemporary Arabic Literature

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.

The Common panel participants
Panelists 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. 

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 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."

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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.”

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