Conference Overview

An international conference investigating war, literature, and art at the United States Air Force Academy on September 20-21, 2018, will offer disciplinary and interdisciplinary presentations on "Representing and Remembering War.” The conference will include a variety of genre presentations, both critical and creative, such as literary criticism, journalism, rhetorical analysis, cultural studies, theory, fiction, non-fiction, poetry, film studies, photography, painting, and music. As an international forum on the cultural implications of warfare, the conference will bring together a multitude of perspectives, critical approaches, and discourse communities on the topics of warfare and its representations across all time periods and conflicts. Diverse presentations will illuminate, challenge, deconstruct, engage with, or create not simply the 'official' representations of wars, but the sub-cultures that merit a more nuanced or sophisticated intellectual exploration.

Submissions are now closed but the conference is open to the public with registration.

Conference Schedule:

The conference schedule is available online and can be downloaded as a pdf file here.

Conference Contact :

[email protected].

Conference Directors:
Lt Col Jesse Goolsby, PhD.
Prof Tom McGuire, PhD.
Capt Katie Witt


To register for the 2018 War, Literature & the Arts Conference please submit the following information:
Affiliation: (Optional)  
Please note: there is no conference fee

Conference Hotels

Hilton Garden Inn 1810 Briargate Parkway Colorado Springs, CO 80920 (719) 598-6866
Homewood Suites by Hilton 9130 Explorer Drive Colorado Springs, CO 80920 (719) 265-6600


Colorado Springs Airport is 20 miles from the conference hotels
Denver International Airport is 75 miles from the conference hotels


Bus transportation between the Hilton Garden Inn and the conference location (Arnold Hall) will be provided as scheduled here. If you plan to use the conference buses, please take this survey. Conference participants may also drive to the conference location (Arnold Hall; see map below).

About War, Literature & the Arts

About the US Air Force Academy

Read more about USAFA

Keynote Speakers

Suzan-Lori Parks

Named among Time magazine’s “100 Innovators for the Next Wave,” Suzan-Lori Parks is one of the most acclaimed playwrights in American drama today. She is the first African-American woman to receive the Pulitzer Prize in Drama, and is a MacArthur “Genius” Award recipient. She’s been awarded grants by the National Endowment for the Arts, Rockefeller Foundation, Ford Foundation, New York State Council on the Arts and New York Foundation for the Arts. She is also the recipient of a Lila-Wallace Reader’s Digest Award, a CalArts/Alpert Award in the Arts, and a Guggenheim Foundation Grant. She and is an alum of New Dramatists and of Mount Holyoke College. Parks’s plays include Topdog/Underdog (2002 Pulitzer Prize winner); The Book of Grace; In the Blood (2000 Pulitzer Prize finalist); Venus (1996 OBIE Award); The Death of the Last Black Man in the Whole Entire World; Fucking A; Imperceptible Mutabilities in the Third Kingdom (1990 OBIE Award); and The America Play. Her newest plays, Father Comes Home From The Wars (Parts 1, 2 & 3)—set during the Civil War—was awarded the Horton Foote Prize, the Edward M. Kennedy Prize for Drama as well as being a 2015 Pulitzer Prize Finalist. Currently performing Watch Me Work, a free weekly writing workshop, open to artists of all disciplines, Parks teaches at New York University, and serves at the Public Theater as its Master Writer Chair.

Robert Olen Butler

Robert Olen Butler has published sixteen novels—The Alleys of Eden, Sun Dogs, Countrymen of Bones, On Distant Ground, Wabash, The Deuce, They Whisper, The Deep Green Sea, Mr. Spaceman, Fair Warning, Hell, A Small Hotel, The Hot Country, The Star of Istanbul, The Empire of Night, Perfume River—and six volumes of short fiction—Tabloid Dreams, Had a Good Time, Severance, Intercourse, Weegee Stories, and A Good Scent from a Strange Mountain, which won the 1993 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction. In 2013 he became the seventeenth recipient of the F. Scott Fitzgerald Award for Outstanding Achievement in American Literature. He also won the Richard and Hinda Rosenthal Foundation Award from the American Academy of Arts and Letters and was a finalist for the PEN/Faulkner Award. He has twice won a National Magazine Award in Fiction and has received two Pushcart Prizes. He has also received both a Guggenheim Fellowship in fiction and a National Endowment for the Arts grant. His stories have appeared widely in such publications as The New Yorker, Esquire, Harper’s, The Atlantic Monthly, GQ, Zoetrope, The Paris Review, Granta, The Hudson Review, The Virginia Quarterly Review, Ploughshares, and The Sewanee Review. His works have been translated into twenty-one languages, and he was a charter recipient of the Tu Do Chinh Kien Award given by the Vietnam Veterans of America for “outstanding contributions to American culture by a Vietnam veteran.” Butler is a Francis Eppes Distinguished Professor holding the Michael Shaara Chair in Creative Writing at Florida State University.

WLA Conference Fellows

Brian Castner

Brian Castner is a nonfiction writer, former US Air Force Explosive Ordnance Disposal officer, and veteran of the Iraq War. He is the bestselling author of All the Ways We Kill and Die, and the war memoir The Long Walk, which was adapted into an opera and named an Amazon Best Book for 2012.

Maurice Decaul

Maurice Decaul, a former Marine, is a poet, essayist, and playwright, whose writing has been featured in the New York Times, The Daily Beast, Sierra Magazine, Epiphany, Callaloo, Narrative, The Common, and others. He is a graduate of Columbia University and New York University.

Elyse Fenton

Elyse Fenton is the author of the poetry collections Clamor, winner of the 2010 University of Wales Dylan Thomas Prize, and Sweet Insurgent (Saturnalia 2017), winner of the Alice Fay di Castagnola Prize. Her work has been published in The New York Times, Best New Poets, American Poetry Review, Pleiades, and Prairie Schooner, and has been featured on NPR's All Things Considered and PRI's The World.

Richard Johnson

Richard Johnson is a field artist and visual journalist. He has helped cover the war in Afghanistan for The National Post—traveling with Canadian and U.S. forces, and the war in Iraq for the Detroit Free Press—embedding with the United States Marine Corps. Many of his fieldwork reportage sketches from Iraq and Afghanistan are held by the Smithsonian Museum of Armed Forces History, and the United States Marine Corps Museum.

Martin Löschnigg

Martin Löschnigg earned a Ph.D. from Graz University (1993), where he is now Professor of English, Chair of the Section on the New English Literatures and Deputy Director of the Centre for Canadian Studies. His main research interests include narrative theory, autobiography, the English novel, the literature of war, and Canadian Literature.

Meg McLagan

Meg McLagan is a filmmaker and cultural anthropologist. She co-directed the feature documentary Lioness, which won the Center for Documentary Studies Filmmaker Award at Full Frame Documentary Festival, and screened at the Tribeca Film Festival, Human Rights Watch Film Festival, and many other venues including the U.S. Congress. She earned a Ph.D. in anthropology from New York University.

Dunya Mikhail

Dunya Mikhail is an Iraqi American poet and author of The War Works Hard (2005), translated by Elizabeth Winslow. The collection won the PEN Translation Award, was shortlisted for the Griffin Poetry Prize, and was selected as one of the 25 Best Books of 2005 by the New York Public Library. Diary of a Wave Outside the Sea (2009), co-translated with Elizabeth Winslow, won the Arab American Book Award.

Dan O’Brien

Dan O’Brien is is a playwright, poet, and librettist. His play, The Body of an American, is the winner of the Horton Foote Prize for Outstanding New American Play and the inaugural Edward M. Kennedy Prize for Drama among other awards. O'Brien's third collection of poetry, New Life, was published by CB Editions in London in 2015, and by Hanging Loose Press in Brooklyn in 2016. He holds a BA in English & Theatre from Middlebury College and an MFA in Playwriting & Fiction from Brown University.

G. Kurt Piehler

G. Kurt Piehler is the Director of the Institute of World War II and the Human Experience and Associate Professor of History at Florida State University. He is author of Remembering War the American Way (Smithsonian Institution Press, 1995, reprint ed., 2004) and World War II (Greenwood Press, 2007) in the American Soldiers’ Lives series.

Helen Thorpe

Helen Thorpe’s journalism has appeared in The New York Times Magazine, New York magazine, The New Yorker, Slate, and Harper’s Bazaar. Her radio stories have aired on This American Life and Sound Print. She is the author of Soldier Girls and The Newcomers.

Special Presenters on 30th Anniversary of WLA

Brian Turner

Brian Turner is an American poet, essayist, and professor. He won the 2005 Beatrice Hawley Award from his debut collection Here, Bullet, a collection of poems about his experience as a solider in the Iraq War. His honors include a Lannan Literary Fellowship and NEA Literature Fellowship in Poetry, and the Amy Lowell Poetry Travelling Scholarship. He earned a MFA in Poetry from the University of Oregon. Turner is the Director of Sierra Nevada College’s Master of Fine Arts program.

Benjamin Busch

Benjamin Busch is a veteran US Marine officer, writer, filmmaker, and illustrator. He’s the author of the memoir Dust to Dust (Ecco) and his essays have been published in Harper’s, The New York Times Magazine, War Literature & the Arts, and on NPR. His poems have appeared in North American Review, Prairie Schooner, Five Points, Michigan Quarterly Review and Epiphany, among many others.

Special Performance of Outside Paducah: J.A. Moad II

J.A. Moad II is a former Air Force C-130 pilot with over 3,000 flight hours and more than 100 combat sorties. He served as an English Professor at the United States Air Force Academy and continues to serve as an editor and blogger for their international journal, War, Literature & the Arts (WLA). His short stories, poetry and essays have appeared in a variety of journals and anthologies, and he is the recipient of the Consequence Magazine Fiction Award. In addition to writing, he has performed on stage at the Library of Congress and at The Guthrie Theater as part of The Telling Project - Giving Voice to the Veteran Experience. In the fall of 2017, he performed in his play, Outside Paducah - the Wars at Home in New York City at the Wild Project Theater and was nominated for the New York Innovative Theater Award (NYIT) for Outstanding Solo Performance. He currently resides in Northfield, MN. He is a graduate of the United States Air Force Academy, Southern Illinois University, and Augsburg College.