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Deadline for Submitting Writings Fast Approaching

By Rudi Williams
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, May 26, 2005 – The National Endowment for the Arts has created a venue to collect and preserve the stories and reflections of servicemembers on the front lines of Iraq and Afghanistan and stateside defending the homeland.

Operation Homecoming: Writing the Wartime Experience is a literary anthology slated for publication in 2006.

The May 31 deadline is fast approaching for servicemembers and their families to submit material for possible inclusion in the book.

"We've received 1,100 entries so far," said Sally Gifford, NEA communications specialist. "We'll house them all in a federal archives. All of the writings submitted will be part of the historical record of the war. While we have a May 31 deadline for consideration in the anthology, any submissions sent after that will still be housed in the public archives."

Officials have not yet announced the location of the public archives.

The anthology will be distributed free by NEA to military installations, schools and libraries and will be sold in bookstores.

There are no restrictions on genre -- poems, letters, personal narratives, stories, memoirs, journal writings and other literary forms are all welcome. Some works may address actual combat; others may focus on life on the home front. Some works may be personal -- a soldier's or a spouse's attempt to capture and clarify a singularly challenging moment in life, Gifford said.

Through this program, which started in April 2004, some of America's most distinguished writers are conducting workshops at military installations and contributing educational resources to help troops and their families share their stories, Gifford noted.

"We've finished all of the domestic workshops this spring," Gifford said. "Right now, we're conducting workshops and presentations at overseas military installations. Those presentations are comprised of writing workshops and a one-man play called "Beyond Glory," which is a collection of first-person accounts of men who received the Medal of Honor."

E-mail entries to submissions@operationhomecoming.org, or mail them to National Endowment of the Arts, Operation Homecoming Anthology, Suite 519, 1100 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW, Washington, D.C. 20506.

Submissions should be no longer than 50 typed, double-spaced, numbered pages.

Active and reserve component U.S. troops, and coalition members who served after Sept. 11, 2001, especially in operations Enduring Freedom and Iraqi Freedom are eligible to submit entries. Their immediate families are also eligible to submit entries for consideration in the published anthology.

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Related Sites:
Operation Homecoming
National Endowment for the Arts

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