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ECU veteran writing workshop to be held Thusday

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GREENVILLE, Pitt County - Marine veteran Phil Klay will be at East Carolina University Thursday to participate in the Veterans Writing Workshop.

This workshop was designed to coach and mentor veterans and military-connected writers to record their stories of service.

Klay joined the Marines during wartime. He wrote short stories about his experience of war, and how that war followed him home, so the American people could better understand the consequences of America's reactions to the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001. There were stories he had to tell -- individual stories about men and women that weren't being told on the nightly news.

Now he's returning to eastern North Carolina to help other veterans tell their own stories.

Klay will lead the writing workshop and will be joined by fellow authors Ron Capps, Monica Haller and Dr. Fredrick Foote at Hendrix Theater from 7-9 p.m. for readings and a question-and-answer session, which is open to the public and is an ECU Passport Event.

Klay won the 2014 National Book Award for Fiction for "Redeployment," a collection of short stories about the war he witnessed in Iraq during a 2007 troop surge intended to push back against a raging insurgency that threatened Iraq's future.

"It's such an odd space to be in, transferring being at war in Iraq and at peace the States, between one's primary sense of oneself as a Marine and as a husband, as a soldier and a citizen," Klay said. He hopes that his work, and the writing from the workshop, will extend a bridge to those who didn't experience combat.

"I think I've continued to develop a respect for the depth and complexity of veteran's experiences. I've also thought about the role of American citizens more broadly, whether veteran or not, and the things that unify us as a country," Klay said.

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