Matt Gallagher

Oct. 19 - 20, 2017
A collaborative effort of the Appalachian Veterans Arts & Humanities Collective and Blurred Boundaries: The Experience of War and Its Aftermath

Matt Gallagher, a Wake Forest University graduate, and Iraq war combat veteran, will be returning to Appalachian State University on October 19 & 20, 2017. He kicked off the Collective’s inaugural event during his residency here in mid-June of 2016. Gallagher is the author of two highly acclaimed books: the memoir, Kaboom, and the Iraq War novel, Youngblood, cited by the New York Times as “An urgent and deeply moving novel.”

Gallagher’s visit is a collaborative effort of Appalachian State’s Appalachian Veterans Arts & Humanities Collective and Appalachian State’s Blurred Boundaries: The Experience of War and Its Aftermath, a film, reading, and discussion series sponsored by the National Endowment for the Humanities.

Schedule of Events

October 19, 2017

7 p.m.
415 Plemmons Student Union (Rough Ridge)
Matt Gallagher will give a reading of his work, followed by a Q&A. Free and open to the public.

October 20, 2017

Writing Workshop
2 - 5 p.m.
102 Plemmons Student Union (Watauga River Room)
Free and open to the public.

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.


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

“An urgent and deeply moving novel” (Michiko Kakutani, The New York Times) about a young American soldier struggling to find meaning during the final, dark days of the War in Iraq.

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.

For fans of Phil Klay’s Redeployment or Ben Fountain’s Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk, Youngblood provides startling new dimension to both the moral complexity of war and its psychological toll.

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

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

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


Parking is free on campus after 5 p.m. We recommend the Library Parking Deck on College Street (from King Street, turn down College Street at the First Baptist Church). To reach the Student Union, cross College Street and follow the walkway between the chiller plant and the University Bookstore, passing the Post Office and entering the Student Union on the second floor. More information and maps