Writing Programs for Veterans Launch at Rutgers–Camden

Flags of the United States, New Jersey, and Rutgers University

Everyone has a story, but for many veterans, telling it is not an easy task. To help them harness the power of the written word, a new series of public writing programs for veterans is beginning this fall at Rutgers University–Camden.

The programs, offered by the Rutgers–Camden Writers House and Office of Veterans Services, include a creative writing workshop on Nov. 16 and a reading and discussion panel on Nov. 17. The events are free to attend, and participation is not limited to Rutgers–Camden students.

The workshop, led by the Philadelphia-based nonprofit organization Warrior Writers, takes place Wednesday, Nov. 16, 4:30 to 6 p.m. at the Writers House, which is located at 305 Cooper Street on the Rutgers–Camden campus. Participants will work in a supportive environment with writing prompts that encourage them to reflect upon issues and experiences common among veterans and service members. Veterans interested in joining the workshop can register by contacting Leah Falk at leah.falk@camden.rutgers.edu or (856) 668-4980.

The Writers House at Rutgers University–Camden

The Writers House at Rutgers University–Camden

The program continues with “Outside the Wire: New Veterans Writing,” a reading and discussion panel exploring questions around what it means to write about war in the 21st century, on Thursday, Nov. 17, 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. in the Multi-Purpose Room of the Rutgers–Camden Campus Center, located at 326 Penn Street. Panelists are: novelist and memoirist Matt Gallagher, author of Youngblood (Simon and Schuster, 2016) and Kaboom: Embracing the Suck in a Savage Little War (Da Capo Press, 2010); poet Hugh Martin, author of The Stick Soldiers (BOA Editions, 2013), who has also published in The New Yorker; and Mariette Kalinowski, whose work appears in the veterans’ writing anthology Fire and Forget (Da Capo Press, 2013). The panel moderator is retired officer and critic Peter Molin. “Outside the Wire” is free and open to the public, regardless of veteran status; reservations to attend are encouraged.

Rutgers University–Camden, which was recently designated the first Purple Heart University in New Jersey, has a history of offering programs designed to meet the unique needs of veterans and military personnel.

Overseeing these student-veteran programs is the Rutgers–Camden Office of Veterans Services. “I believe this writing program will allow the veteran to be more open about what he or she has witnessed, whether in combat or in a support capacity during time of war,” says Fred Davis, director of veterans affairs at Rutgers–Camden and a U.S. Navy veteran. “From what I have been told by experts of post-traumatic stress disorder and traumatic brain injury, it enables the student an avenue to heal.”

This is the first series of programs for veterans to be offered by the Writers House, which opened in November 2015. The Writers House hosts a year-round program of seminars, workshops, and free public events for writers at Rutgers–Camden and in the surrounding community.

For additional information about the veterans’ writing program series, please visit the Rutgers–Camden Writers House website.

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