For its 2014 “season of reading,” Wayne County Reads will explore war from the veteran’s perspective and the Vietnam War in particular through the semi-autobiographical novel The Things They Carried by Tim O’Brien.
The book, a Vietnam veteran’s memories and stories, not only conveys the realities of war, but also the power of storytelling.
Storytelling and the therapeutic value of writing are where this year’s schedule of events will start.
The kickoff talk will feature by Joseph Bathanti, NC Poet Laureate and and an Appalachian State University Creative Writing Professor. He will talk about The Things They Carried, how it fits among war literature and influenced writings about war that followed it. Bathanti will also talk about his signature project as the state’s poet laureate, working with veterans and their families.
The lecture is set for 7 p.m. on Tuesday, Jan. 4 in Moffatt Auditorium in the Wayne Learning Center at Wayne Community College in Goldsboro. A reception will follow the presentation with refreshments provided by the Women of St. Francis Episcopal Church and an opportunity to meet the speaker.
Bathanti will pick up where he left off in his talk with a hands-on activity the next morning. Veterans of all wars and conflicts and their families are invited to participate in a writing workshop designed to help them express their military experiences through the written word. Participants do not need to have any writing experience; they just need to bring paper and a pen. The workshop will run 10 a.m. to noon on Jan. 5 and will be held in Room 161 of the Wayne Learning Center.
The Veterans Administration’s Mobile Vet Center will also be at the college, parked in its front lot from 9 a.m. to noon. The vehicle provides opportunities for veterans to learn about benefits for which they may be eligible.
These events, and all of the Wayne County Reads activities, are free and open to the public.
The rest of the schedule includes:
“A Thousand Words: Photographs by Vietnam Veterans” Exhibit created and curated by Martin Tucker Feb. 1-Feb. 18, Moye Library, Mount Olive College Feb. 19-March 4, Wayne County Museum
Presentation on the young adult book Shooting the Moon by the Author, Frances O’Roark Dowell Saturday, Feb. 8, 10 a.m., Weil Auditorium, Wayne Co. Public Library
“Vietnam War: A Historical Overview” talk by Dr. Alan Lamm Tuesday, Feb. 11, 7 p.m., Moye Library, Mount Olive College
Book Discussion, Brown Bag Book Club Wednesday, Feb. 12, Noon, Seymour Johnson Air Force Base Library
Book Discussion with Kay Cooke (A light lunch will be served.) Thursday, Feb. 13, Noon, Weil Auditorium, Wayne Co. Public Library
“Wings and Wrenches: An Oral History of the 6th Air Commando Squadron” Talk by Arthur Halliday Monday, Feb. 17, 7 p.m., Moye Library, Mount Olive College
Talk on Post Traumatic Stress Disorder by Dr. Steven Hannant Tuesday, Feb. 18, 7 p.m., Weil Auditorium, Wayne Co. Public Library
Finale – Recognition of Student Writing Contest Winners and Opportunity to View Museum’s Exhibit of Related Artifacts and “A Thousand Words” photos Tuesday, March 4, 7 p.m., Wayne County Museum
The book can be borrowed from local library branches or purchased from the Wayne Community College Bookstore and Books-A-Million in Goldsboro.
Since it was started in 2004, Wayne County Reads’ selections have included “To Kill a Mockingbird” by Harper Lee, “Big Fish” by Daniel Wallace, “Night” by Elie Wiesel, “Walking Across Egypt” by Clyde Edgerton, “Blood Done Sign My Name” by Tim Tyson, “Blackbeard: America’s Most Notorious Pirate” by Angus Konstam, “Fahrenheit 451” by Ray Bradbury, “Three Cups of Tea: One Man’s Mission to Promote Peace … One School at a Time” and “Stones into Schools: Promoting Peace with Books, Not Bombs, in Afghanistan and Pakistan” by Greg Mortenson, “The Pleasure Was Mine” by Tommy Hays. and “Bless Me, Ultima” by Rudolfo Anaya.
The 2014 Wayne County Reads Partners are Mount Olive College, Seymour Johnson Air Force Base Library, Wayne Community College, Wayne Country Day School, Wayne County Historical Association, Wayne County Mental Health Association, Wayne County Public Library System, Wayne County Public Schools, and many interested individuals.
Funding for this year’s programs has been provided by the Korschun Foundation, Friends of Wayne County Public Library, and HealtHabit’s 16th Annual Benefit Tasting of Wines.