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WWrite blog explores influence of World War One on contemporary writing

The World War One Centennial Commission is excited to announce the launch of a new blog, WWrite that features military veteran authors and the influence of WW1 on contemporary writing. The blog is being curated by Dr. Jennifer Orth-Veillon (see biography below).WWrite logo

Dr. Orth-Veillon writes about the new blog:

"The purpose of the WWRite Blog is to expand and modernize the dynamic space of WW1’s memory by featuring today’s writers and scholars influenced by the literature, history, and culture that emerged from the war that didn’t end all wars. America’s contemporary war veterans, writers, artists, poets, and specialists in WW1 history and literature make up the blog’s most eminent authors.

"On the eve of the centennial, inspiration for the blog comes from a desire to illuminate WW1’s forgotten yet ineffable mark on the world’s historical and contemporary conscious. It could be said that writing from WW1, for the first time in history, was responsible for highlighting not only the immense courage and sacrifice of large-scale battles, but also for exposing the complexity, variety, and severity of war wounds to the public.

Why WW1? It inevitably had to do with the unprecedented elements this war introduced to an unsuspecting world—the unbreakable nationalistic alliances formed by powerful empires, the misery of inch-by-inch warfare, masses of soldiers suffering from what was known as “shell shock,” new weapon technology, and entire populations wiped out from both war and the Spanish flu epidemic that swept the continents. These elements, “new” in 1914-1918, remain pertinent in today’s wars, politics, and culture. Using the lens of WW1, the blog hopes to examine the present world and its relationship with war.

Jennifer Orth Veillon 300Jennifer A. Orth-Veillon, Ph.D."In the upcoming weeks and months, blog contributors will include US veteran writers, Allan Howerton, Benjamin Busch, Kayla Williams, Brian Turner, Seth Brady Tucker, James Moad, Brian Castner, Luke McClees, Jerri Bell, and Tracy Crow. Bell and Crow are authors of the forthcoming book, My Country Too: Women's Military Stories from the American Revolution to Afghanistan, which include stories from WW1 female veterans. Mark Facknitz and Cathy Caruth will be among scholars offering historical, cultural, and theoretical perspectives. Through November 11, 2018, the blog will continue to feature new, exciting voices and will also encourage lively participation from the public. Students and teachers are especially encouraged to use the blog as an educational resource."

About the Curator

Jennifer A. Orth-Veillon, who holds a Ph.D. in Comparative Literature from Emory University, curates the WWrite blog from the perspective of a writer, scholar, teacher, and French-English translator specializing in the literature of war and the experience of the American veteran. She has led writing workshops for veterans on university campuses and has taught over twenty courses on different modes and mediums for war veteran memoirs. For two summers she served as a teaching assistant to Dr. Mark Facknitz's James Madison University's summer abroad program on the Great War and modern memory, which took place at various WW1 memorial sites in France, Belgium, and England. In her writing and research, she seeks to understand the complexity of war through its shifting place in cultural memory and history.

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