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Telling Your Story: The Things They Carried

The Writers Place in Partnership with Moral Injury Association of America is pleased to host a writing workshop tailored to veterans and their families. In its fourth year, this writing workshop is designed to give participants a safe space to share their stories. We are well aware that there are many stories surrounding wartime experiences, and often times these stories are overlooked or not shared. We aim to change this and aid veterans in finding their voices.

Our veterans workshop begins Friday night with an open discussion of Tim O'Brien's book Telling Your Story led by Kaite Stover from the Kansas City Public Library. Veterans are encouraged to invite family members and friends to the Friday evening discussion, as it will be open to the community. This discussion will be a poignant precursor to Saturday's workshop offerings.

Beginning with a keynote speech by novelist, short story writer and professor Phong Nguyen, Saturday is designed to give veterans and their families the tools and confidence to develop and tell their own stories. Whether you have never written a letter or have had a steady writing practice for years, this conference is designed to benefit YOU.

Participants will explore approaches to writing through writing prompts connected to Tim O’Brien’s The Things They Carried.  Individual writing time is allotted to enable participants to craft their own story. Poets, professors, and novelists will be available for one-on-one work and review. Participants may bring a working story of their own to the conference in the inspiration of O’Brien’s book, but it is not necessary. Please limit story length to 500 words. Register HERE.


Phong Nguyen is the author of a novel, The Adventures of Joe Harper (Outpost19, 2016), and two story collections, Pages from the Textbook of Alternate History (Queen's Ferry Press, 2014) and Memory Sickness and Other Stories (Elixir Press, 2011). He teaches fiction-writing at the University of Central Missouri, where he serves as editor of Pleiades. His own stories have appeared in more than 40 national literary journals, including Agni, Boulevard, Iowa Review, and North American Review.


  • Phong Nguyen
  • Cindy McDermott
  • Whitney Terrell
  • Matthew Eck
  • Trish Reeves
  • Dr. H.C. Palmer
  • William Trowbridge
  • Jose Faus
  • Kaite Stover

Who can attend? Any veteran or military member and family from across the Kansas City metro area (Kansas and Missouri) may register for the workshop. No prior writing experience is necessary. This workshop will be beneficial for both the newcomer as well as the studied writer. Children must be 13 or older and attend with an adult family member. Register online at Registration is limited to 30 participants on a first-come, first-served basis. Register HERE!

Is there a fee? Yes, the workshop is $20 for each individual participant, payable at registration. Saturday lunch is included with the fee. The first 10 people to sign up will receive a free copy of The Things They Carried, so don’t delay! Registration will close on April 18th. Register HERE!

Where is the workshop? All sessions are held at The Writers Place, 3607 Pennsylvania, Kansas City, MO 64111.