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Mideast edition, Sunday, May 11, 2008

WASHINGTON — Officials at the National Endowment for the Arts will expand their popular “Operation Homecoming” writers’ workshops to include veterans this year, helping them and their active-duty counterparts write about the war experience.

The NEA will host 25 writing workshops across the country this year, including several at veterans centers for the first time, according to program directors. Nationally acclaimed writers such as Jeff Shaara, Andrew Carroll, Tobias Wolff and Marilyn Nelson will lead the monthlong workshops.

The program, now in its fourth year, is linked to the Endowment’s open call for essays, poems and short stories about life in combat. Officials said they’ve received more than 1,200 submissions since 2004, about 100 of which were featured in a nonfiction anthology two years ago.

All of the work will be preserved in both the U.S. National Archives and Records Administration and the Library of Congress’s Veterans History Project.

The workshops will link servicemembers and veterans with authors, writing coaches and local literary resources, officials said. Initial sessions will be held at Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Washington; U.S. Marine Corps Command and Staff College in Virginia; and VA sites in California, Miami and St. Louis.

For information on registration, dates and locations, visit www.operationhomecoming.org.

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