“Creative writing offers veterans a way to integrate their military experiences into their larger life narratives. When veterans write and share their stories, they build bridges to the civilian community, and they strengthen their ties to other veterans.”
- Susan Derwin, Director, UC Student Veterans Summer Writing Workshop
All veterans have memories of their military service, from enlistment, boot camp and trainings, through deployments and homecomings. At the UC Student Veterans Summer Writing Workshop, student veterans from across the ten campuses of the University of California will gather for one week to study and practice the art of storytelling. Under the guidance of experienced instructors, students will learn how to compose personal narratives about their military experiences and share their stories with others.
Who Should Apply: Undergraduate and graduate UC student veterans interested in writing narratives about their military experiences in a workshop composed of student veterans from across the UC system. Applicants need not have any experience with creative writing. Students graduating in June 2023 are eligible to participate.
Program: The program schedule includes daily workshops, group discussions, and story circles. Afternoons are devoted to writing and are a time of quiet work. The late afternoons are reserved for recreation: attending a yoga class to refresh mind and body, swimming and exercising, meditating, and strolling around the campus lagoon, labyrinth, and beach.
Daily communal meals and evening gatherings, including a sunset beach barbeque, afford time for conversation, friendship-building, and conviviality. The final evening will feature a celebratory banquet in which participants have the opportunity to share their written stories with their peers and members of the campus community.
Goals: The UC Student Veterans Writing Workshop was created in the belief that when veterans write their stories and share them with others, they become more connected to themselves, they heal invisible wounds, they discover new meanings in their life, and they build bridges of communication to the civilian world.
If you are a UC student veteran interested in exploring what your service has meant to you, developing your writing skills, and strengthening your ability to communicate with others about your military experiences, we invite you to apply to the UC Student Veterans Summer Writing Workshop. The next workshop will be held June 2023. Questions about the program or application process can be directed to IHC Assistant Director Christoffer Bovbjerg at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The UC Student Veterans Summer Writing Workshop is supported by the UC Office of the President and through gifts from the Gretler Foundation; from Danelle Storm Rosati ’77 and Mario Rosati; and from Laureen Seeger and David Elliot Cohen.
UC Student Veterans Writing Workshop Instructors:
Susan Derwin is Professor of German and Comparative Literature at UCSB and Director of the Interdisciplinary Humanities Center (IHC). Her teaching and research concentrate on the relationship between testimonial narrative and healing. Since 2011 she has facilitated a university writing workshop for student veterans and military dependents. She has spoken nationally and internationally about the benefits of narrative-making for the social reintegration of returning soldiers. She helped create a UCSB student veterans writing column in a local journal run by UCSB undergraduates, and she is the editor of Instant Separation, a digital journal of military experience from the University of California. An interview with her focusing on her work with veterans was featured on UCSB’s Humanities and Fine Arts page.
Aida Amirkhanian has been studying and teaching yoga for over 25 years. Interested in both the practical and the philosophical aspects of yoga and the interconnectedness in the day-to-day practice and life, Aida is currently teaching at the “Light On Yoga” yoga center. Aida has a methodical and strong teaching style; her determination and strong yoga practice motivate her to provide an uplifting, safe forum for challenging, rewarding, and transformative experiences.
Read participant writing at Instant Separation
Read media coverage of the workshop:
Watch this short video: