Veteran Writes

Your story can change lives. Learn to tell it with skill and power.


“Veterans are changing the arts in America. A new generation of artists is responding to the traumatic experiences of prolonged war, creating haunting and memorable work.” –

“One of the best-kept secrets in this technically oriented culture is that simply speaking truth heals.” – Rachel Remen, MD

The Writer’s Garret has developed the Veteran Writes program to support military veterans and  their families. Your story can change lives. Learn to tell it with skill and power. Share your experiences through writing in a way that will help others to better understand your service.

Veteran Writes faculty and presenters are practicing writers: poets, spoken word artists, playwrights, and novelists, writers of memoir, creative non-fiction, and short stories. Many are themselves veterans, the spouses of veterans, and the sons and daughters of veterans. All are trained workshop facilitators with a heart for serving their communities through sharing their love of the written word.

Our classes and workshops focus on the craft of writing, as well as strategies to help participants process and write about intense experiences in a way that promotes good health. Research by James Pennebaker, author of Writing to Heal: A Guided Journal for Recovering from Trauma and Emotional Upheaval, and others exploring the connection between the arts and well-being has found that writing from deep feeling boosts immune function, brings about drops in blood pressure, and reduces feelings of depression and elevates daily moods. Writing makes a difference.

Veteran Writes workshops and classes are always free to veterans and their family members. To learn more about bringing a workshop or series of classes to veterans in your organization or community, email Robin Turner, Program Manager:

Discounts for regular classes at The Writer’s Garret: If you are a veteran interested in attending one of our upcoming writng workshops at The Writer’s Garret, we invite you to register using the code VETS for a 100% discount on tuition.


Veteran Writes at Juliette Fowler Communities, Dallas
Fall 2016
Instructors: Charles Kesler and Michael Clay

A weekly meeting of elder veterans learning to share their WWII experiences through writing.

Writing the Military Experience Panel Discussion at VFW Post 6796, Dallas
Fall 2016
Panelists: Charles Kesler, Leila Levinson, Rod Pannek, Kathleen M. Rodgers

A one-hour panel discussion to introduce veterans, spouses, and family members to the craft and healing potential of writing the military experience through memoir, fiction, and poetry.

Writing Your Story Workshop at the Veterans One Stop Center, Waco
Summer 2016
Instructors: Jack London and Don Helin

This one-day writing workshop for veterans and spouses explores storytelling in all forms: the novel, memoir, short story, poetry, and nonfiction.

Writing as a Healing Practice Panel Discussion at the Waco Public Library
Summer 2016
Panelists: Leila Levinson, Jack Woodville London, Ruth Pennebaker, Jenuine Poetess

A panel discussion on writing’s unique power to move, heal, and more deeply connect us to our own stories and those of others.

Learning to Share Your Story at the Center of Excellence for Returning War Veterans, Waco
Summer 2016
Instructor: Leila Levinson

A four-week writing workshop for veterans and their spouses to learn simple, straightforward strategies to help process and write about intense experiences in a way that also promotes physical and emotional well-being.


Leila Levinson, Jack Woodville London, Don Helin, Charles Kesler, Michael Clay, Johnny Olson, Kathleen Rodgers, Ruth Pennebaker, Jenuine Poetess


Explore powerful writing by veterans



Flying Over Baghdad With Sylvia Plath: Experiences, Through Poetry, With Poets And Poems In Iraq And Afghanistan
Paul David Adkins[]

Letter Composed During a Lull in the Fighting: Poems
Kevin Power[]

Here, Bullet
Brian Turner[]

A Clock of Human Bones
Matthew Borczon[]

The Book of Willie
Charles Kesler[]

Short Story Collections

Phil Klay[]

The Things They Carried
Tim O’Brien[]

You Know When the Men are Gone
Siobhan Fallon[]


The Yellow Birds
Kevin Power[]

The Confusion of Languages
Siobhan Fallon[]

The Great Santini
Pat Conroy[]


Birding Babylon: A Soldier’s Journal from Iraq
Jonathan Trouern-Trend[]

Gated Grief: The Daughter of a GI Concentration Camp Liberator Discovers a Legacy of Trauma
Leila Levinson[]

Soldier’s Heart: Reading Literature Through Peace and War at West Point
Elizabeth D. Samet[]

Military Brats: Legacies of Childhood Inside the Fortress
Mary Edwards Wertsch[]