• Sarah Mbiki
  • Kemal Atkins ’92 ’96
  • Guin Thi
  • Fidel Leal
  • Traci Royster
  • Brian Shangwa ’15
  • Ray Christian
  • Susan M. Branch ’99

In Residence: Matt Gallagher, Iraq War Veteran and Author

June 13 - 14, 2016 / Sponsored by the Appalachian Veterans Arts & Humanities Collective

Matt Gallagher, a Wake Forest University graduate, and Iraq war combat veteran, will be in residence at Appalachian State University on June 13 and 14 of 2016. Gallagher is the author of two highly acclaimed books: the memoir, Kaboom, and the recently published Iraq War novel, Youngblood, cited by the New York Times as “An urgent and deeply moving novel.”

Gallagher’s visit is the inaugural event launched by Appalachian State University’s newly formed Appalachian Veterans Arts & Humanities Collective, a working group of Appalachian employees and students, dedicated to bringing hands-on arts and humanities programs and workshops to campus veterans as well as veterans and their families in the areas surrounding Watauga County and beyond.

On June 13 Gallagher will meet with members of ASU’s campus chapter of Student Veterans of America, then teach an afternoon writing workshop for student veterans as well as veterans from the region and, in some cases, from other locales in North Carolina.

On June 14, he’ll visit an Advanced Creative Nonfiction class in ASU’s English Department, to which other creative writing students will be invited; and he’ll conclude his residency with a public reading of his work in the evening, followed by Q and A, and a book-signing.

About Matt Gallagher

Matt Gallagher is the author of the novel Youngblood, published in February 2016 by Atria/Simon & Schuster. Reviewing for The New York Times, Michiko Kakutani wrote of Youngblood, "On one level, the novel is a parable - with overtones of Graham Greene's The Quiet American - about the United States and Iraq and the still unfurling consequences of the war ... Mr. Gallagher has a keen reportorial eye, a distinctive voice and an instinctive sympathy for the people he is writing about ... [This] is an urgent and deeply moving novel." Youngblood has also received positive reviews or been featured in The Washington Post, Esquire, The Wall Street Journal and Vogue.

A former U.S. Army captain, Matt's work has appeared in The New York Times, The Atlantic, The Paris Review Daily and Playboy, among other places. He's also the author of the Iraq memoir Kaboom and coeditor of, and contributor to, the short fiction collection Fire & Forget: Short Stories from the Long War. In 2015, Gallagher was featured in Vanity Fair as one of the voices of a new generation of American war literature. Among other media, he's appeared on CBS News Sunday Morning and NPR's The Diane Rehm Show.

A graduate of Wake Forest University, Matt also holds an MFA in fiction from Columbia University. He lives with his wife in Brooklyn and works as a writing instructor at Words After War, a literary nonprofit devoted to bringing veterans and civilians together to study conflict literature.

Schedule of Events

June 13, 2016

Lunch with Appalachian Student Veterans Association
12:00-1:30pm
Gordon Gathering Hall, Reich College of Education Building
Please RSVP to kingsh@appstate.edu by June 7, 2016.

Writers workshop for student and community veterans, local and state-wide
4:00-7:00pm
Gordon Gathering Hall, Reich College of Education Building
Books will be available for purchase from University Bookstore.

June 14, 2016

Public Reading for Campus and Community
7:30pm
Gordon Gathering Hall, Reich College of Education Building
Free and open to the public

Reception and Book Signing immediately following the Reading
Duke Rotunda, Reich College of Education Building
Books will be available for purchase from University Bookstore.

Books

All of Matt Gallagher's books will be available at the Appalachian State University Bookstore, and will be available for purchase at the writers workshop and the public reading, reception and book signing.

Youngblood: A Novel - Available from Simon & Schuster
Youngblood: A Novel

By Matt Gallagher
2016

The US military is preparing to withdraw from Iraq, and newly-minted lieutenant Jack Porter struggles to accept how it’s happening—through alliances with warlords who have Arab and American blood on their hands. Day after day, Jack tries to assert his leadership in the sweltering, dreary atmosphere of Ashuriyah. But his world is disrupted by the arrival of veteran Sergeant Daniel Chambers, whose aggressive style threatens to undermine the fragile peace that the troops have worked hard to establish.

As Iraq plunges back into chaos and bloodshed and Chambers’s influence over the men grows stronger, Jack becomes obsessed with a strange, tragic tale of reckless love between a lost American soldier and Rana, a local sheikh’s daughter. In search of the truth and buoyed by the knowledge that what he finds may implicate Sergeant Chambers, Jack seeks answers from the enigmatic Rana, and soon their fates become intertwined. Determined to secure a better future for Rana and a legitimate and lasting peace for her country, Jack will defy American command, putting his own future in grave peril.

Pulling readers into the captivating immediacy of a conflict that can shift from drudgery to devastation at any moment, Youngblood provides startling new dimension to both the moral complexity of war and its psychological toll.

Review: ‘Youngblood,’ an Urgent Novel About the Iraq War - The New York Times; January 21, 2016

Available from Simon & Schuster

Kaboom: Embracing the Suck in a Savage Little War - Available from Da Capo Press
Kaboom: Embracing the Suck in a Savage Little War

By Matt Gallagher
2011

Based on Captain Matt Gallagher's controversial and popular blog, which the U.S. Army shut down in June 2008, Kaboom is a sardonic, unnerving, one-of-a-kind Iraq war memoir. "At turns hilarious, maddening and terrifying," providing "raw and insightful snapshots of conflict" (Washington Post), Kaboom resonates with stoical detachment from and timeless insight into a war that we are still trying to understand.

Available from Da Capo Press

Fire and Forget: Short Stories from the Long War - Available from Da Capo Press
Fire and Forget: Short Stories from the Long War

Edited by Roy Scranton and Matt Gallagher
2013

Fire and Forget includes the title story from Redeployment by Phil Klay, 2014 National Book Award Winner in Fiction.

These stories aren't pretty and they aren't for the faint of heart. They are realistic, haunting and shocking. And they are all unforgettable. Television reports, movies, newspapers and blogs about the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan have offered images of the fighting there. But this collection offers voices—powerful voices, telling the kind of truth that only fiction can offer.

What makes the collection so remarkable is that all of these stories are written by those who were there, or waited for them at home. The anthology, which features a Foreword by National Book Award winner Colum McCann, includes the best voices of the wars’ generation: award-winning author Phil Klay’s “Redeployment;” Brian Turner, whose poem “Hurt Locker” was the movie's inspiration; Colby Buzzell, whose book My War resonates with countless veterans; Siobhan Fallon, whose book You Know When the Men Are Gone echoes the joy and pain of the spouses left behind; Matt Gallagher, whose book Kaboom captures the hilarity and horror of the modern military experience; and ten others.

Available from Da Capo Press

Thanks

Many thanks to the following partners and sponsors: the Office of Equity, Diversity and Compliance; the Office of Academic Affairs; the College of Arts and Sciences; the Office of the Provost; the Military Affairs Committee; the Department of English; the Office of Multicultural Student Development; the University Bookstore; The Richard T. Barker Friends of the Library and community sponsor Gideon Ridge Inn.