Image from Annual Report

Best-selling author Anthony Swofford led a two-day writing conference at the university in April and talked to a group of about 25, mostly writing students and veterans, about putting their experiences down on paper.

“To be a writer, one must pull away to be able to critique, criticize and render the world,” Swofford said. “Being an observer and a participant is essential to being a writer.”

Swofford said writing a memoir is challenging. He had to dig deep to relate to the 20-year-old soldier and remembered poignant moments that brought him back to where he once stood. Those memories then became part of “Jarhead,” his 2005 book about his Marine Corps experience. The national best-seller recounts his days as a sniper during Desert Storm.

The two-day conference was organized by Elizabeth Cohen, WCSU assistant professor of writing, linguistics and creative process. The conference also included a screening of the 2005 movie, “Jarhead,” starring Jake Gyllenhaal and Jamie Foxx, and readings from veterans.