Military veterans have stories to tell and the various learning opportunities provided by the Kansas City Vets Writing Team, a program supported by Moral Injury Association of America, will help them gain the tools and confidence to tell them well. By using reading and writing exercises to explore deployment, wartime and post-deployment experiences — fear, boredom, anxieties, thrills, brutality, tears and beauty — attendees learn how to write their stories and make them compelling. Through our workshops, monthly veteran critique groups and other literary events, participants explore the many approaches possible to create personal stories, poetry, fiction and essays.
The objective of this program is that attendees write about their military memories, begin the process of owning their stories, and by doing so, possibly negotiate their way around serious barriers. As one vet wrote in his evaluation, “[The workshop] is a great start to help me tell my story of service, however painful it may be.”
The first writing workshop was in April 2014, and the program has grown in the seven years since. More than 500 vets and family members have attended day-long workshops in the Spring and the multi-week sessions held the last four years in the Fall. Many graduates of the workshops now meet on a monthly basis in a structured writing critique group, continuing to hone their writing skills, and share their personal stories in a safe environment, offering the camaraderie of military life.
In October 2020, veterans participated in our third Veterans Reader's Theater, which was held virtually with the help of the Missouri Humanities Council. Watch the performance through the link to the left.
Our work has been made possible through the years with the support of the Missouri Humanities Council, Veterans of Foreign Wars, Missouri Arts Council, ARTSKC, Mid-Continent Library and Story Center, Kansas City Public Library System, Moral Injury Association of America, Kansas Humanities Council, The Writers Place, The World War I Museum and individual donors.