We are drawn to stories exactly because we want to know what life is like for other people so we can learn more about ourselves and the world. The only catch is…we have to actually read them. We have to actually listen.Helen Benedict, Why Writing and Reading About War Matters, PBS Blog Regarding War.
STORIES CONNECT US
Only 1% of Americans serve in today’s military. For many, myself included, our connection with the military ended with our parents’ generation and was sealed with the end of the draft. The gap between our lives and those lived by citizens of war zones can seem even larger.
This page is a starting point for veterans, active military, their families, and civilians who want to write, hear or read stories and poetry that illuminate how war impacts us all. Each poem, novel, story, or image has the power to bring us closer.
The links below lead to writing programs, journals, essays, oral histories, interviews, blogs, book reviews, fiction, poetry, nonfiction for all readers, writers and listeners. You’ll find a heavy but not exclusive focus on our most recent wars. They are just the beginning. I hope that the page will evolve with your help. Send along your suggestions for sites to add, links to highlight, interviews, features, or book reviews you found insightful. You can email me here: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Words After War: Words After War is dedicated to building a community of thoughtful, engaged and skilled veteran writers. Through high-quality literary programming, we provide veterans, their families and civilian supporters with the tools they need to tell their stories.
Veterans Writing Project: The Veterans Writing Project provides no-cost writing seminars and workshops for veterans, service members, and their adult family members. In addition to building an archive of military writing, Veterans Writing Project publishes two journals, O-Dark-Thirty and The Review.
Veterans Voices: Started as an outreach program for veterans returning from World War II, Veterans Voices now serves all veterans including those who have served in the Korean, Vietnam, and Gulf Wars and those who served in Iraq and Afghanistan with therapeutic writing programs. It also offers the opportunity to have their work published.
This project, sponsored by the Writers Guild Foundation, pairs military vets who have a penchant for word-smithing with a collection of WGA-enrolled film and television writers. Those writers mentor the vets in two phases: A weekend-long retreat, and a series of regular meetings throughout the following year.
Iowa Review: The Iowa Review‘s web-home for veterans’ writing and resources for veteran writers based on the belief a literary magazine can help to provide a point of connection between those who want to write about their experience and those who want to read about and understand it. The site offers the full text of all veteran writing published in the Spring 2013 and 2015 issues of The Iowa Review as well as resources for veterans who wish to publish their writing, submit it to contests, or participate in writing workshops. Includes list of writing resources for veterans who want to write and potentially publish their work.
Warrior Writers Project: Warrior Writers is a national non-profit with a mission to create a culture that articulates veterans’ experiences, provide a creative community for artistic expression, and bear witness to the lived experiences of warriors.
War Writers Campaign: Publishes collections of work, individual pieces, poetry, and prose to represent the 1%. Submissions to The Campaign will be vetted for publication across time, in multiple formats, and will be available for print and download on demand and in physical print for availability in bookstores worldwide.
Documentaries & Video Series
Incoming: A collaboration between San Diego’s non-profit literary and performing arts collective, So Say We All, and San Diego’s public broadcasting heroes, KPBS. Stories from the lives of America’s veterans in their own words, from their own mouths.
Veterans Coming Home: Public media programming covering veterans’ service and sharing the stories of their challenges and triumphs.
Vietnam Veterans Recount Their Experiences, PBS November 2011
Witness of War Oral History Project, Presenting the Oral Histories of Combat Veterans
8 Films To Watch on Veterans Day (A list with links by PBS)
Words After War Blog: Essays, book reviews, interviews, commentary and more from Words After War, a literary nonprofit organization bringing veterans and civilians together to examine war & conflict through the lens of literature.
Time Now: This blog features art, music, film, and literature about the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. in the final analysis our artists will explain best how the wars were experienced and how they are remembered.
Presumption and Folly: Jerri Bell, editor of O-Dark-Thirty, is the force behind Presumption and Folly, a site dedicated to writing by (and sometimes about) women veterans. Her goals are to curate writing by women veterans, to bring it to a wider audience, and to encourage more women veterans to write about their experiences.
Red Bull Rising. Red Bull Rising is a military-focused blog written and edited by Randy Brown—aka “Charlie Sherpa”—”an inveterate punster, a no-bull observer of past and present events, and a proud former citizen-soldier of the 2nd Brigade Combat Team (B.C.T.), 34th Infantry Division (2-34th BCT), Iowa Army National Guard.” Lots of resources here for writers and for readers. Check out the Poetry of War page for links to some beautiful words.
Uncamouflaged: A Veteran Back in the Real World, Lauren Kay Halloran: A former Air Force public affairs officer, Lauren Kay Halloran spent nine months deployed to Afghanistan as part of a Provincial Reconstruction Team. Her mother was a nurse with the Army reserves and served in Desert Storm. She’s completing a memoir about growing up in a military family and her experiences during and after deployment. She lives with her husband, veteran-writer Colin D. Halloran, two cats, and hundreds of books.
The Quivering Pen The Quivering Pen’s motto can be summed up in two words: Book Evangelism. The blog is written and curated by David Abrams, author of the Iraq War comedy Fobbit (Grove/Atlantic, 2012).
Story Corps: Military Voices A collection of recorded stories from veterans and their families.
The Things They Carried: War photographer marks the last steps of vets at home. Photojournalist David Guttenfelder teamed up with Mission 22, an advocacy campaign to raise awareness about the high rate of suicide among veterans. Their slogan is stark: “The American Military’s Deadliest Battleground Isn’t Some Remote Stretch of Desert Across the Globe. It’s Here at Home.”
Guttenfelder visited with five families who had lost a loved one to suicide.
Women and War Part of the 2010 PBS Series, “Regarding War.” Journalists, experts, female soldiers and veterans share their experiences and discuss issues including women in combat, sexual assault in the military and inadequate benefits for female veterans
Veterans Portrait Project photographs of veterans by former military photographer Stacy Pearsall:
Recommended Reading Lists
Fire and Forget – anthology edited by Roy Scranton and Matt Gallagher
Veterans of War, Veterans of Peace Edited by Maxine Hong Kingston is an anthology of nonfiction, fiction, and poetry—spanning five wars
Warrior Princess by Kristin Beck
Youngblood by Matt Gallagher
American Sniper by Chris Kyle and Scott McEwan
Battle Rattle by Brandon David Jennings
The Things They Carried by Tim O’Brien
Iraq and Back by Kim Olson
Fives and Twenty Fives by Michael Pitre
War Porn by Roy Scranton
By Military Family Members
Minefields of the Heart by Sue Diaz
Pretty Much True by Chris Jane
American Wife by Taya Kyle and Jim DeFelice
Uniform, poetry by Lisa Stice
Tribe by Sebastian Junger
Wounded Warriors, Wounded Wives by Barbara McNally
The Sympathizer by Viet Nguyen.
A Fort of Nine Towers by Qais Akbar Omar