NEA Arts Magazine

Operation Homecoming Authors Tour

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Man in front of three seated military veterans

The Museum of Flight in Seattle,Washington, hosted a discussion and signing of the book Operation Homecoming on December 7, 2006. Photo courtesy of The Boeing Company

Operation Homecoming: Iraq, Afghanistan, and the Home Front in the Words of U.S. Troops and Their Families (Random House, 2006) -- an anthology of writing by U.S. troops and their families developed through the NEA National Initiative Operation Homecoming: Writing the Wartime Experience -- was selected as a Washington Post Best Book of 2006 and has been called "beautifully edited" (Publishers Weekly), "dark, funny, searching" (Media News), and "history-making" (Booklist). The volume comprises nearly 100 never-before-published eyewitness accounts, private journals, short stories, letters, e-mails, poems, and other personal writings from military personnel who have served since 2001 and their families.

Since its release, Andrew Carroll, the anthology's editor, and contributors have been on the road to more than 30 cities nationwide discussing the book and its uniqueness as a historical document.

The Operation Homecoming book tour, sponsored by The Boeing Company, has encompassed military bases as well as traditional literary venues such as bookstores, universities, and book festivals. Readings have been held at sites ranging from Randolph Air Force Base (Texas) to the National Book Festival (Washington, DC).

The audio book of the anthology was one of six books to receive Publishers Weekly's 2006 "Listen Up Award" in the full-cast recording category. The annual award is given by the magazine's audio editors to acknowledge excellence in the audio book industry.

Readings by some of the anthology's contributors also aired on National Public Radio's syndicated program Day to Day through January 2007. The program included discussions with Carroll and NEA Chairman Dana Gioia.

In March 2007, Red Car Films will premiere a documentary on the Operation Homecoming initiative at the National Archives in Washington, DC. The film features readings by anthology contributors and the nationally recognized writers who led writing workshops during the program, such as Richard Bausch, Jeff Shaara, Richard Wilbur, and Marilyn Nelson.