Veterans Writing Program Earns New Jersey Council for the Humanities Action Grant

By Tom McLaughlin

The Writers House at Rutgers University–Camden and Philadelphia-based Warrior Writers have teamed together over the past three years to host a unique program that helps veterans harness the power of the written word.

Participants in the writing workshops will work in a supportive environment that encourages them to reflect upon issues and experiences common among veterans and service members.

“Outside the Wire” – encompassing monthly writing workshops, a public program focusing on veterans’ experiences, and an exhibit of wartime communications – will continue to get a boost, thanks to a new $9,100 action grant from the New Jersey Council for the Humanities.

“NJCH’s continued support makes it possible for the Writers House at Rutgers–Camden to help facilitate reflective exploration of service members’ experiences, for both veterans themselves and for civilians who may otherwise be distant from military life,” says Leah Falk, program coordinator for the Writers House. “As with many of the programs that NJCH supports, this program also emphasizes the use of the humanities in understanding the varied experiences of being American.”

Falk notes that the NJCH grant – a second year of funding from the nonprofit – will enable the Writers House to maintain a consistent schedule of generative writing workshops for veterans on campus, as well as public programs that feature prominent journalists, scholars, and other thinkers whose work relates to veterans’ experiences.

For the 2019-20 academic year, the program will focus on race, gender, and sexual orientation in the military. The calendar of events will be highlighted by a free, public discussion on Wednesday, Jan. 22, 2020 with curator and scholar Samuel Black, director of the African American Program at Heinz History Center; and Helen Benedict, journalist and author of The Lonely Soldier, a journalistic account of sexual assault in the armed forces. More details are forthcoming.

The Writers House maintains a consistent schedule of generative writing workshops and public programs for veterans on campus.

Creative writing workshops for veterans, led by Warrior Writers, will continue 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 16; and 6 to 8 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 5, at the Writers House, located at 305 Cooper Street on the Rutgers–Camden campus. The events are free to attend, and participation is not limited to Rutgers–Camden students.

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 is also working with the Office of Veterans and Military Programs at Rutgers University–New Brunswick to produce an exhibit in spring 2020 that features communications between service members and their loved ones, a continuation and enhancement of a project begun last year.

Rutgers University–Camden, which was 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.

For additional information about the “Outside the Wire” veterans’ narrative series, visit the Rutgers–Camden Writers House website.

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