The Outer Banks Veterans Writing Project will return to the Outer Banks for its 5th anniversary on Saturday-Sunday, Nov. 4-5.

The nonprofit Dare County Arts Council is accepting applications for the free, two-day writing workshop, which will be held at UNC Coastal Studies Institute in Wanchese.

Beginner and experienced writers will explore the theme of memoir writing, the art of writing biographical or historical accounts from personal experience.

Outer Banks resident Lt. Cmdr. Jerri Bell, U.S. Navy, retired, of the Veterans Writing Project, will lead the two-day workshop. It is open to veterans, active duty service members and military families living in North Carolina, Virginia and surrounding areas.

Enrollment is limited to 25 participants.

Bell is the managing editor of O-Dark-Thirty, the literary journal of the Veterans Writing Project. Her fiction has been published in a variety of journals and has been nominated for a Pushcart Prize; her nonfiction has been published in journals, newspapers and on blogs. She and former U.S. Marine Tracy Crow are co-authors of "It’s My Country, Too: Women’s Military Stories from the American Revolution to Afghanistan" (University of Nebraska Press/Potomac Books), which is set to be released later this year.

“Writing a memoir is an exercise in examining one’s life, or some part of it, in an effort to understand the meaning and impact of our actions and choices,” Bell says. “For most veterans, the things we did and the choices we made during our time in the armed forces were critical to our personal and professional growth and development. And whether or not we served in combat, we were witnesses to history and have a unique perspective on our country."

Bell says the unpublished and published memoirs of women veterans she and Crow read while conducting research for their book, "gave me a new appreciation for the importance of documenting stories of our military service and their significance for future generations.”

In 2016, Congress voted to increase funding to the Military Healing Arts Program. North Carolina quickly followed with $100,000 in annual grants, as studies continue to show strong support of the arts helping to heal combat-related injuries.

About the project

The Outer Banks Veterans Writing Project is modeled after the D.C.-based Veterans Writing Project, a nonprofit foundation that teaches combat veterans to express their military experiences through literature. The goal of both programs is to teach enrolled applicants the art of writing.

The Outer Banks program is part of the veteran-friendly events sponsored by the Outer Banks Visitors Bureau during November’s Outer Banks Veterans Week, which hosts numerous veteran-related celebrations throughout the area.

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