Amherst College literary magazine receives $50,000 grant, publishes special issue

Staff Writer
Published: 11/14/2018 4:46:29 PM

Amherst College’s literary magazine, The Common, has received a $50,000 grant to support the journal’s internship program, extending additional resources to interns who show exceptional editorial promise and leadership skills.

The grant comes from Sally Wood, whose late husband and daughter both attended Amherst. The grant, which will be known as the Thomas E. Wood ’61 Fellowship, will support one student intern per year over four years to honor Mr. Wood, who was an English major, avid reader and gifted writer and poet, according to the college.

The Common, which debuted in 2011, is published biannually and over the years has featured the work of more than 650 writers from 40 countries, with short stories, essays, poems and artwork designed to evoke a strong sense of place. The print and digital journal has received recognition from a number of publications, including The New Yorker, Slate and The Boston Globe.

Jennifer Acker, the journal’s founder and editor in chief, says The Common typically employs eight to ten interns during the school year and summer for a wide variety of tasks: evaluating submissions; writing, editing and proofreading prose and poetry; creating multimedia web features; and organizing special literary and community events on campus and across the country.

“We are deeply grateful to the Wood family for this generous gift,” Acker said in a statement. 

Julia Pike, Amherst class of 2019, is the first recipient of the new fellowship. She has won a number of previous grants and awards on campus for her writing, including one to help develop her thesis, a speculative fiction novella inspired by climate change. Her writing has appeared in a number of publications, according to the college.

The Common also just published a special issue dedicated to the work of Puerto Rican writers and artists to mark the one-year anniversary of Hurricane Maria, the storm that ravaged the island in fall 2017 and left an estimated 4,645 people dead.

Acker spent a week in Puerto Rico in March, where she interviewed and worked with writers, artists and performers to get their take on the disaster. This special feature, “Un año después de la tormenta / One year after the storm,” examines people’s resilience and “many other questions related to the storm and its aftermath,” Acker notes.

Steve Pfarrer can be reached at

More about “The Common” can be found at



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