National Endowment for the Arts Hosts Operation Homecoming Writing Workshops At MacDill Air Force Base, Feb. 10-11
Author/Army veteran Joe Haldeman and author Judith Ortiz Cofer encourage troops to share their wartime experiences at writing workshops
January 26, 2005
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 MacDill Air Force Base in Tampa, Florida, on February 10 and 11. 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 MacDill: Joe Haldeman and Judith Ortiz Cofer. Joe Haldeman served in the U.S. Army from 1967-1969 as a combat engineer. Stationed in the central Vietnam highlands, he was severely injured and received the Purple Heart. His first novel, War Year (1972), draws from his own wartime diary. His science fiction novel, The Forever War (1975), portrayed galactic soldiers in combat and the difficulties they face in returning to an Earth that has aged thousands of years while they have aged only a few. The Forever War received both the Hugo and Nebula awards, the two most prestigious honors in science fiction writing. Haldeman has written more than 15 books, including Mindbridge (1976), All My Sins Remembered (1977), The Hemingway Hoax (1990), and Guardian (2002). He is an adjunct professor in the Writing and Humanistic Studies Program at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
Born in Puerto Rico in 1952, Judith Ortiz Cofer moved to the United States in her youth due to her father’s service in the U.S. Army during the Korean War and in the U.S. Navy during the Cuban Missile Crisis. Cofer explores her bilingual and multicultural life in several autobiographical works, including the novel The Line of the Sun (1991) and Silent Dancing: A Partial Remembrance of a Puerto Rican Childhood (1990). Her latest novel, The Meaning of Consuelo (2003), focuses on a young girl coming of age in Puerto Rico in the 1950s and the tension between the traditional island culture and the increasing presence of American ways of life, often imported by returning war veterans. Called "a novelist of historical compass and sensitivity" by the New York Times, Cofer has received the PEN/Martha Albrand Special Citation for Nonfiction, among other awards. She is the Franklin Professor of English at the University of Georgia.
"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.
MacDill Air Force Base hosts workshops and reception
A welcome reception featuring remarks by both authors will be held on Thursday, February 10, 4:00 – 6:00 pm at the Eagle’s Nest, MacDill Officer’s Club, 2106 Florida Keys Ave. Immediately following the reception, Joe Haldeman will lead the first writing workshop on Thursday, February 10, from 6:30 – 8:30 pm at the MacDill Officer’s Club. Judith Ortiz Cofer’s workshop will be held Friday, February 11 from 11:30 am-1:30 pm at the MacDill Officer’s Club.
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. MacDill Air Force Base 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; for forms, contact William Foster at (813) 828-3607 or email@example.com. The registration deadline is Wednesday, February 9. Media that wish to attend must RSVP directly with MacDill AFB Public Affairs Office; contact Deputy Chief of Public Affairs 1st Lt. Erin Dorrance at 813-828-2215.
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. To learn more about Operation Homecoming submission guidelines, visit www.operationhomecoming.org.
National Endowment for the Arts · an independent federal agency