Spring 2013 Homecoming: Tim O’Brien, Story Truth, and Beginnings

Acclaimed Vietnam War author Tim O’Brien visited the Spring 2013 Homecoming as the Diana M. Raab Distinguished Writer in Residence.

On Thursday, May 23, 2013, at the Brown Hotel, he spoke to a standing-room-only crowd of MFAers and members of the community about the power of story, the (often superior) relationship of story-truth to happening-truth, and the tragedies of war.

“A bullet can kill an enemy,” O’Brien said. “But a bullet can also make an enemy.”

O’Brien spoke against war in general, saying his stance was neither liberal nor conservative but instead opposed the hypocrisy of those who advocate war-making yet leave the fighting to others.

The next morning, O’Brien answered questions during a private session for MFA students, faculty, and alumni and offered further revelations about the story-truth and happening-truth of several stories in the Program Book in Common, The Things They Carried.


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