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 2017

For Participating Veterans

All Quiet on the Western Front

Discussion: All Quiet on the Western Front

April 1, 2017

Paul Baumer enlisted with his classmates in the German army of World War I. Youthful, enthusiastic, they become soldiers. But despite what they have learned, they break into pieces under the first bombardment in the trenches. And as horrible war plods on year after year, Paul holds fast to a single vow: to fight against the principles of hate that meaninglessly pits young men of the same generation but different uniforms against each other – if only he can come out of the war alive. "The world has a great writer in Erich Maria Remarque. He is a craftsman of unquestionably first rank, a man who can bend language to his will. Whether he writes of men or of inanimate nature, his touch is sensitive, firm, and sure."

This is for program participants. Deadline to Apply: March 1, 2017. Apply now »

National World War I Museum and Memorial

Field Trip: National World War I Museum and Memorial

May 5-7, 2017

Travel to the National World War I museum in Kansas City to learn about the museum's global story about the war and to discuss the museum's design and presentation of that story. Participants will also discuss personal accounts and readings from the anthology World War I in American Fiction.

"In 1919, The Liberty Memorial Association (LMA) and citizens of Kansas City raised more than $2.5 million in just 10 days. The equivalent of roughly $34 million today, the staggering accomplishment reflected the passion of public sentiment for the Great War that had dramatically changed the world…Construction was completed in 1926…in 1998, they passed a limited-run sales tax to support the restoration. In addition to revitalizing the Memorial, plans took shape to expand the site by building a museum to better showcase the WWI-related objects and documents the LMA had been collecting since 1920…In 2004, the Museum was designated by Congress as the nation's official World War I Museum, and constructin started on a new 80,000-square-foot, state-of-the-art museum and the Edward Jones research Center underneath the Liberty Memorial…The National World War I Museum at Liberty Memorial opened in 2006 to national acclaim. In 2014, the Museum and Memorial received a second designation from Congress, effectively recognizing the Museum and Liberty Memorial as the National World War I Museum and Memorial."

Note: Participants are responsible for meals on the Kansas City trip. Transportation, lodging, and museum admission will be covered.

This is for program participants. Deadline to Apply: March 1, 2017. Apply now »

Open to the Public

All Quiet on the Western Front

Screening: All Quiet on the Western Front

April 22, 2017 • Time: 6:30 p.m.

CALS Ron Robinson Theater

"If a classic movie can be measured by the number of indelible images it burns into the collective imagination, then All Quiet on the Western Front's status is undisputed. Since its release in 1930 (and Oscar win for best picture), this film's saga of German boys avidly signing up for World War I battle–and then learning the truth of war–has been acclaimed for its intensity, artistry, and grown-up approach. Director Lewis Milestone's technical expertise is already stunning in the great opening sequence, as a professor exhorts his students to volunteer for the glory of the Fatherland while troops march past the windows. Erich Maria Remarque's novel is faithfully followed, but Milestone's superbly composed frames make it physical: the first battle scene, with the camera prowling the trenches as they fill with death and chaos, was surely the Saving Private Ryan of its day. The cast is strong, with little-known Lew Ayres finding stardom in the lead (Ayres became a pacifist and conscientious objector during World War II; although he served in battle as a medic, the stance harmed his career). And the images are indelible: Ayres' lonely look back at the disappearing troop truck; the blinded soldier who runs into enemy fire at night; the fine pair of boots wasted on a boy with an amputated leg; and the final, devastating seconds, arguably the defining cinematic image of war in the 20th century." – Robert Horton

Followed by a discussion with Dr. Josh Glick, Professor of Film Studies.

Arkansas Literary Festival

Warrior Writers: Arkansas Literary Festival

April 27-29, 2017

Central Arkansas Library System

Operation Iraqi Freedom veterans Roy Scranton and Odie Lindsey will read from and discuss their new works of fiction, War Porn and We Come to Our Senses. Additional Festival programming will be announced by March 1.

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 books, a movie ticket, and more. If selected, we ask you to commit to prepare for and participate in two "retreats;" the first on Saturday, April 1, and the second a weekend trip to Kansas City, May 5-7, 2017. Preparation involves reading a novel and selected short stories for facilitated discussions with other veterans.

Deadline for submission is February 18, 2017.

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