Vietnam VoiceGAMBIER, Ohio (November 6, 2006) Acclaimed novelist Tim O'Brien will speak at Kenyon on Wednesday, November 8, at 8:00 p.m. O'Brien, whose 1990 short story collection The Things They Carried was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize, is known for his works on the Vietnam War, including his 1973 memoir If I Die in a Combat Zone, Box Me Up and Send Me Home. He won the National Book Award in 1979 for Going After Cacciato. O'Brien will discuss "the power of stories in our lives, why we tell them, why we invent things when writing fiction, as opposed to simply telling the literal 'truth' about the world."
On Thursday, November 9, at 11:10 a.m., O'Brien will also lead a discussion on "Trusting Story," an examination of the craft of writing and "the importance of a writer's need to trust his or her own story, telling the story as opposed to analyzing or explicating it." Both events are free and open to the public.
O'Brien was drafted as soon as he graduated from Macalester College in 1968, and served in Vietnam from 1969-1970 as a member of the Americal Division of the Army, best known for its involvement in the My Lai massacre (which occurred prior to his tour of duty but was not made public until afterwards). Leaving the service in March 1970 with a Purple Heart, O'Brien began work on a Ph.D. at Harvard University and interned at the Washington Post before the publication of his 1973 memoir. He is the author of eight books, all dealing with the Vietnam War directly or indirectly. The Things They Carried is widely read in colleges and universities.
O'Brien's visit is sponsored by Student Lectureships, a subsidiary of Kenyon's Student Council, which uses funding from student activity fees to sponsor diverse, intelligent speakers for the Kenyon community and to enhance discussion and stimulate thought about important issues.