University News

Western Veterans and Service Members Invited to Develop Literary Magazine

February 11, 2015

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MACOMB, IL - - A new writing project is evolving for students and employees at Western Illinois University. "Veteran's Voices: Personal Stories of Combat and Peace" will become a literary magazine later this semester once veterans and service members submit their creative contributions for the project.

Western students, staff, faculty and administrators are encouraged to prepare submissions for the magazine.

Assistant professors Barbara Harroun and Jacqueline Wilson-Jordan, both faculty members in the WIU Department of English and Journalism, said they believe strongly in the power of the personal narrative. The pair proposed the idea of a literary magazine to advance the interests of veterans and service members. There was an overwhelming consensus that veterans deserve a supportive community where they can share their stories.

Soon thereafter, Harroun and Wilson-Jordan, as part of a professional development series, facilitated a session entitled "How to Best Serve Those Who Have Served." The Veterans Resource Center at Western joined the Department of English and Journalism in co-sponsoring this event.

"Beyond learning what incredible resources our campus offers, we heard the stories of veterans navigating university life, and these stories impacted me profoundly," said Harroun. "War is complex, as is military service, and often the personal stories and experiences of veterans are not shared for a myriad of reasons."

Student veterans attending an initial planning session felt there would be interest in publishing a veterans' literary magazine and some volunteered to step up as mentors and editors for their peers.

"Navigating obstacles always seems to be a work in progress, something we learn to manage more than forget," said graduate student and active duty veteran Ryan Bronaugh. "Writing allowed for the catharsis I credit for my ability to complete my undergraduate degree and remain an active participant on campus as a non-traditional student. I am honored and excited to be a part of the Veterans Voices project, and encourage all veterans on campus – regardless of how you feel about your service – to be a part of something that can only improve understanding and serve to better our WIU campus."
The literary magazine may have submissions that are humorous, while others could be poignant descriptions of conflict. The veteran authors will choose their subjects or topics and will be able to write anonymously or with a pseudonym if they choose.

"You won't need to have a passion for writing," said Wilson-Jordan. "Some writers might submit fiction or non-fiction stories, poems or artwork. It can be a great opportunity to join a group to create, write and provide inspiration to others. Veterans will be able to express thoughts, ideas and experiences in a forum not often available to veterans and service members. We want the experience to be a supportive community of writers who want to share their stories."
Workshops will be available for students and staff who are veterans so they might explore ideas for submission. Attendance is not required for submission to the literary magazine. All workshops will take place in the computer classroom located on the third floor of the Malpass Library at the following times:
Monday, Feb. 16 and March 2, Noon – 1:30 p.m.
Tuesday, Feb.17 and March 3, 9 – 10:30 a.m.
Saturday, March 14, 1 – 4 p.m.
For questions, email or or contact the Veterans Resource Center at (309) 298-3505.

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