Fiction & Fact:

A War Dialogue with Veterans

About the Project

Sponsored by the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH), Fiction & Fact: A War Dialogue with Veterans provides opportunities for veterans to reflect on the war and homecoming experiences through facilitated discussions based on different humanities sources: books, art, film, museum exhibits, oral histories, and blogs.

Interested veterans and others with significant experiences related to war and the military are encouraged to apply. The program is free; books and other resources are covered by the NEH grant.

Project director Dr. Alex Vernon says, "The opportunity to discuss artistic and testimonial accounts of war with other veterans will be enormously gratifying. There's no single veteran perspective, and we'll all bring different ideas to the table and take new reflections with us." Dr. Vernon is a combat veteran as well as a writer and a literature professor.

About the National Endowment for the Humanities

national endowment for the humanties

Created in 1965 as an independent federal agency, the National Endowment for the Humanities supports research and learning in history, literature, philosophy, and other areas of the humanities by funding selected, peer-reviewed proposals from around the nation. Additional information about the National Endowment for the Humanities and its grant programs is available at: www.neh.gov.

"NEH provides support for projects across America that preserve our heritage, promote scholarly discoveries, and make the best of America's humanities ideas available to all Americans," said NEH Chairman William D. Adams. "We are proud to announce this latest group of grantees, who through their projects and research will bring valuable lessons of history and culture to Americans."

"Any views, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this project do not necessarily represent those of the National Endowment for the Humanities." The National Endowment for the Humanities and Central Arkansas Library System together: Exploring the human endeavor.

Project Schedule Spring 2018

For Participating Veterans

In Pharoah's Army, by Tobias Wolff

Discussion: In Pharoah's Army: Memories of the Lost War, Tobias Wolff

March 3, 2018 • 10:00 a.m. - 1:00 p.m.

"A book about shattered illusions and personal loss, about survival and healing and growth." "In This Boy's Life Tobias Wolf created an unforgettable memoir of an American childhood. Now he gives us a precisely and sometimes pitilessly remembered account of his young manhood – a young manhood that become entangled in the tragic adventure that was Vietnam. Mordantly funny, searingly honest, In Pharoah's Army is a war memoir in the tradition of George Orwell and Michael Herr." The book was a finalist for the National Book Award.

This is for program participants. Deadline to Apply: February 5, 2018. Apply now »

My Life as a Foreign Country, by Brian Turner

Discussion: My Life as a Foreign Country, Brian Turner

March 31, 2018 • 10:00 a.m. - 1:00 p.m.

"In 2003, Sergeant Brian Turner crossed the line of departure with a convoy of soldiers headed into the Iraqi desert. Now he lies awake each night beside his sleeping wife, imagining himself as a drone aircraft, hovering over the terrains of Bosnia and Vietnam, Iraq and Northern Ireland, the killing fields of Cambodia and the death camps of Europe. In this breathtaking memoir, award-winning poet Brian Turner retraces his war experience – pre-deployment to combat zone, homecoming to aftermath. Free of self-indulgence or self-glorification, his account combines recollection with the imagination's efforts to make reality comprehensible."

This is for program participants. Deadline to Apply: February 5, 2018. Apply now »

Arkansas Literary Festival

Discussion: Author to Be Announced

April 28, 2018 • Time TBA
FREE and open to the public

Special session with a guest author from the 2018 Arkansas Literary Festival.

Open to the Public

Waltz with Bashir

Screening: Waltz with Bashir: A Lebanon War Story

April 12, 2018 • 6:30 p.m.
CALS Ron Robinson Theater
FREE and open to the public

Reserve seats now »

"One night in Beirut in September 1982, while Israeli soldiers secured the area, Christian militia members entered the refugee camps of Sabra and Shatila and began to massacre hundreds, if not thousands, of Palestinians. Ari Folman was one of those Israeli soldiers, but for more than twenty years he remembered nothing of that night or of the weeks leading up to it. … what was he doing during the hours of slaughter? … Challenging the collective amnesia of friends and fellow soldiers, Folman painfully, candidly pieces together the war and his place in it." from Amazon. "Special, strange, and peculiarly potent … Extraordinary." – Variety

The film will be followed by a brief discussion.

More CALS Resources

Arkansas and the Great War

This project contains materials related to the experiences of Arkansans during World War I, both at home and on the field of battle. View this project »

The Arkansas Vietnam War Project

This project contains materials related to the experiences of Arkansans during the Vietnam War, both at home and on the field of battle. View this project »

FORGOTTEN: The Arkansas Korean War Project

This project combines interviews with Arkansas Korean War veterans and Arkansas-related Korean War materials to preserve this important history. Approximately 6,300 Arkansans served in the Korean War, including six who received the Congressional Medal of Honor. View this project »

A Nation Divided: Arkansas and the Civil War

This project is a premier resource for Civil War research in Arkansas. View this project »

Apply to Participate

Fiction & Fact is a free program. Those selected will receive free materials, including a copy of In Pharoah's Army: Memories of the Lost War, by Tobias Wolff, and My Life as a Foreign Country, by Brian Turner. If selected, we ask you to commit to prepare for and participate in two "retreats;" the first on March 3 and the second on March 31, 2018. Preparation involves reading selected works for facilitated discussions with other veterans.

Deadline for submission is February 5, 2018.

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