National Endowment for the Arts Hosts Operation Homecoming Workshops at Hurlburt Field, Jan. 11-12
Authors Barry Hannah and Wyatt Prunty encourage troops to share their wartime experiences at writing workshops
December 22, 2004
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 Hurlburt Field in Fort Walton Beach, Florida, on January 11 and 12. 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 Hurlburt: Barry Hannah and Wyatt Prunty. Barry Hannah is Director of the M.F.A. Program and Writer-in-Residence at the University of Mississippi. His first novel, Geronimo Rex (1972), won the William Faulkner Prize. In 1978 Hannah published Airships, a collection of short stories about the Vietnam War, the Civil War, and the modern South which won the Arnold Gingrich Short Fiction Award. Philip Roth called these war stories "masterpieces of their kind." Hannah's breakthrough novel Ray is a powerful story of a former Navy pilot and doctor struggling to adjust to modern life. Hannah has won a Guggenheim Fellowship, the Robert Penn Warren Lifetime Achievement Award, and is a member of the Fellowship of Southern Writers. In December 2003, he won the prestigious PEN/Malamud Award for excellence in the art of the short story.
The son of a World War II veteran, Wyatt Prunty was born in Tennessee in 1947 and raised in Athens, Georgia. After receiving his bachelor's degree in English from Sewanee: The University of the South, he served in the U.S. Navy as a gunnery officer on the USS Wright and the USS Spiegle Grove, serving in the Mediterranean, the Caribbean and the North and South Atlantic. He has written six volumes of poetry, including The Times Between (1982), What Women Know, What Men Believe (1986), and Unarmed and Dangerous: New and Selected Poems (2000). The New York Times Book Review has praised Prunty's poems, noting "he displays an inherent understanding of the fact that comedy and tragedy, both on the page and off, coexist more often than not." Prunty is Carlton Professor of English at Sewanee: The University of the South where he founded and directs the Sewanee Writers' Conference and edits the Sewanee Writers' Series, which is published in conjunction with Overlook Press.
"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.
Hurlburt Field hosts workshops and reception
Barry Hannah will lead the first writing workshop on Tuesday, January 11, from 2-4 pm CST at Hurlburt Field Chapel, 210 Cody Avenue, Room 8. A welcome reception featuring remarks by both authors will be held on Tuesday, January 11, from 5-6:30 pm at J.R. Rockers Sports Cafe, 120 Simpson Avenue, Hurlburt Field. Wyatt Prunty's workshop will be held Wednesday, January 12 from 10 am-12 pm at Hurlburt Field Chapel, Room 8.
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. Hurlburt Field 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, which can be found at www.commandolibrary.com or by calling (850) 884-1435. Send completed forms to Sabrina Honda, Hurlburt Library at 850-884-6050 (fax) or Sabrina.Honda@hurlburt.af.mil (email). The registration deadline is Friday, January 7. Media that wish to attend must RSVP by 12 pm CST, January 7, by contacting Lt Amy Gonzales, Hurlburt Field Public Affairs Office at 850-884-7464.
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.
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The National Endowment for the Arts is a public agency dedicated to supporting excellence in the arts - both new and established - bringing the arts to all Americans, and providing leadership in arts education. Established by Congress in 1965 as an independent agency of the federal government, the Endowment is the nation's largest annual funder of the arts, bringing great art to all 50 states, including rural areas, inner cities, and military bases.
National Endowment for the Arts · an independent federal