National Endowment for the Arts Hosts Operation Homecoming Writing Workshops at Cannon Air Force Base, Jan. 18-19
Author/veterans Richard Currey and Dan Rifenburgh encourage troops to share their wartime experiences at writing workshops
January 18, 2005
Washington, D.C. - The National Endowment for the Arts, in partnership with the United States Air Force, will host writing workshops and discussions for military personnel and their families at Cannon Air Force Base in Clovis, New Mexico, on January 18 and 19. The workshops are part of the NEA’s Operation Homecoming, a unique program that documents and preserves the wartime experiences of men and women in uniform and their families. Since April 2004, Operation Homecoming has brought writing workshops with distinguished authors to military bases nationwide and abroad.
Two noted writers will conduct the writing workshops at Cannon: Navy veteran Richard Currey and Army veteran Dan Rifenburgh. From 1968 to 1972, Richard Currey served as a Marine Corps combat medic for infantry and reconnaissance units. His first novel, Fatal Light, portrayed a West Virginia man's experience in the "soul-searing terrain of the Vietnam War." Fatal Light was an international bestseller and received the Special Citation of the Hemingway Foundation as well as the Vietnam Veterans of America's Excellence in the Arts Award. Currey’s second novel, Lost Highway, looks at the impact of the Vietnam War on an American family and was called "a rich, incisive American fable" by the Boston Globe. A former military book reviewer for Newsday, he is contributing editor for The Veteran. Currey has received NEA Fellowships in poetry and fiction.
Poet Dan Rifenburgh served three years in the U.S. Army during the Vietnam War and later wrote for military news outlets such as Soldiers magazine, Stars and Stripes, and Army News Feature. He graduated with honors from the Journalism program, U.S. Department of Defense Information School. In 2002, his first collection of poetry, Advent, was published in London by the Waywiser Press with an introduction by Pulitzer Prize winner Richard Wilbur who said of the collection, "The language of Advent often has the force of spare accuracy: it can also stun the reader with a brilliant, slow-fuse image." Advent has garnered critical recognition, including the Ornish Award from the Texas Institute of Letters.
"For the men and women returning from Iraq and Afghanistan, these workshops will be an invaluable opportunity," said NEA Chairman Dana Gioia. "Guided by talented writers, they will have the opportunity to reflect, learn, and write about their experiences."
Operation Homecoming is presented in coordination with the Department of Defense and the Southern Arts Federation. Operation Homecoming is made possible by The Boeing Company.
Cannon Air Force Base hosts workshops and reception
Richard Currey will lead the first writing workshop on Tuesday, January 18, from 11 am-1 pm MST at the End Zone, 108 W. Eureka Street. A welcome reception featuring remarks by both authors will be held on Tuesday, January 18, from 6:30-8:30 pm at The Landing, 211 W. Octagon Street. Dan Rifenburgh’s workshop will be held Wednesday, January 19 from 11 am-1 pm at the End Zone.
The writing workshops and reception are open to military personnel who served after September 11, 2001, retired veterans, reservists, and members of the National Guard as well as their immediate adult family. Cannon Air Force Base will admit active-duty and retired military personnel and guests as capacity allows.
Personnel and guests who would like to attend the workshops and opening reception must complete a registration form; to register, call (505) 784-6077. Send completed forms to Yolanda Romero at (505) 784-4847 (fax) or email@example.com. The registration deadline is Thursday, January 13. Media that wish to attend must RSVP by January 13, by contacting Cannon AFB Public Affairs Office at 505-784-4131.
Military personnel and family members who want to learn more about wartime literature can obtain the Operation Homecoming audio CD. The CD features recordings of war letters, poems, fiction and memoirs from the Civil War to the Vietnam War. Copies of the Operation Homecoming CD can be ordered free of charge through the NEA Publications section at www.arts.gov. Audio clips are also available at www.operationhomecoming.org.
Call for submissions
In addition to workshops and educational resources, the NEA has issued an open call for submissions from military personnel, reservists, National Guard members, and Coalition Authority members who served after September 11, 2001, as well as their immediate families. Items may include essays, letters, short stories, poems, and other writings related to recent military service. All submissions will be preserved in an appropriate federal archive, and an Operation Homecoming anthology will feature the best writings submitted to the program. The anthology will be distributed free of charge to military installations, schools, and libraries. Submissions will be accepted through March 31, 2005. To learn more about Operation Homecoming submission guidelines, visit www.operationhomecoming.org.
National Endowment for the Arts · an independent federal agency