The NEA is starting a new program called “Operation Homecoming,” in which soldiers will be encouraged to turn in work about their stints in active duty. The works will be workshopped with the likes of Tobias Wolff, Tom Clancy, and Mark Bowden, and some of them will appear in an anthology. According to this Washington Post article,
The program is part oral history project, part literary talent search, and part a writing-as-therapy program for troops, particularly those in Iraq, who have been under extraordinary stress in America’s first protracted and messy war since Vietnam.
I’m not sure how I feel about this. The troops’ literary talent is sure to find its way to publishers (Anthony Swofford’s memoir is one recent example) via the same channels as other writers, so why the added encouragement by the NEA? What role will politics play in all this?
WaPo link via Publishers’ Lunch.