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SDHC to Offer Series of Veterans’ Writing Workshops

June 8, 2024

After seven years, SDHC is making a change. Since 2017, the organization has sponsored an annual story writing contest open to current and retired military personnel. In 2024, SDHC will offer a series of writing workshops in two locations statewide. Below are the primary goals of the workshops.

  • To connect veterans with others who have shared similar life experiences
  • To provide a welcoming and comfortable place for veterans to “tell their stories”
  • To create a collection of stories that can be shared with a broader audience
  • To provide a platform for veterans to engage in lifelong learning through writing

SDHC Scholar Amber Jensen will facilitate the Brookings workshops. Jensen teaches in the School of English and Interdisciplinary Studies at South Dakota State University. She teaches writing with an emphasis on the genres of creative nonfiction and poetry. Her memoir, The Smoke of You: A Memoir of Love During & After Deployment, focuses on how her husband’s military service has influenced her family. She has worked with military families to encourage the sharing of experiences to better understand the significant impacts of war in our culture.

SDHC Scholar Molly Barari will facilitate the Rapid City workshops. Barari holds a Doctorate in Adult Education from the University of South Dakota and an MFA in Creative Writing from Wilkes University. She has extensive experience teaching writing, including the Heirlooms: Creative Life Writing Workshop, in which she provides writing prompts that encourage participants to record life memories through sensory detail. This type of writing allows participants to process and make meaning of past events and connects them with others through sharing and listening protocols.

The complete workshop schedule can be found here.

To register, visit Registration opens June 10 at 8 am CT/7 am MT and closes July 1 at 5 pm CT/4 pm MT.

All participants are invited to an interactive workshop, as well as a discussion with Iraq War veteran and award-winning author Brian Castner, at the Festival of Books in Brookings on September 20-22. Further details will be announced this summer.

Castner’s memoir, The Long Walk, tells the intertwined story of two journeys: an outward struggle to disarm bombs in Iraq and survive the urban combat of modern war, and an inward journey to find the new person that emerges after undertaking such a task. The book, named a New York Times Editor’s Pick and Amazon Best Book of the Year upon its release in 2012, has been adapted into an opera by the American Lyric Theater.

For more information, contact SDHC at (605) 688-6113.

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