New Program! Veteran Writers – Writing Our Way Home

Join us to honor Veteran authors, poets, and songwriters!

Hosted by Veterans Writing Project and The Memorial Day Writers’ Project

Veterans Writing Project is a non-profit organization that helps veterans, service members, and military family members gain the skills and confidence they need to tell their stories. We provide no cost creative writing and songwriting workshops and seminars around the country. We also publish the literary journal O-Dark-Thirty both online and in print.

The Memorial Day Writers’ Project is a creative venue for veterans and those who have been touched by war. Twice a year, on Memorial Day and on Veteran’s Day, The Memorial Day Writers’ Project hosts an event for Veteran writers on the National Mall in Washington DC. All are welcome to participate. Please email dick_epstein@hotmail.com for more information.


Calling Veteran authors (fiction & nonfiction), songwriters, and poets. Is there anyone out there who would like to participate in the Veteran Writers Program at the Kensington Day of the Book Festival this year? Register for a vendor’s table and sell your books. Participate in an open mic opportunity whether you are registered or not. This is a chance to read from your work and display your books with other Veteran authors. Contact us at kensingtonbookfestival2020@gmail.com if you are interested or want more information. For table registration see “participant information”. 

Please pass this to others who may be interested. Thank you!


Readings & performances by…

More readings & performances coming soon!


Special Guests: Barbara Morris & Audrey EngdahlIn memory of Richard Morris, USA, author and songwriter

When Richard Morris (8/16/43-11/21/17) died suddenly, he had begun his fifth “social justice” novel during the span of a ten-year retirement from his career in the building industry. In addition to the novels, he wrote over two hundred blog posts (www.richardmorrisauthor.wordpress.com/blog) on writing and the social justice issues which propelled his stories. At the time of his death, Morris had just completed blog posts related to the Ken Burns and Lynn Novick series on The Vietnam War in which he reviewed each episode, described how his own life fit into the narrative, and commented upon how he and the country had both been on “The Wrong Side of History.” This brought his writing full circle from when he commenced it with a funny but heartrending Cologne No. 10 for Men. In hindsight it may be noted that ten times in his blog posts, Morris wrote about Agent Orange as one of the many lingering tragedies of the Vietnam war. But he never linked to his own narratives that Agent Orange was the presumptive cause of the cancer which had caused his retirement and the broken bones that led to an emergency surgery ending with complications and death.

Richard was born in Pittsburgh PA and grew up in the suburbs of Cleveland OH. In 1967-1968, he served as a second lieutenant rifle platoon leader in the 1st Cavalry Division (Airmobile) in Vietnam, earning a bronze star, air medal, and combat infantryman badge.  Besides providing a platform for his first novel, this experience inspired Richard to write twenty-five songs while in Vietnam (lyrics at https://richardmorrisauthor.wordpress.com/skytroopers/lyrics/ ), and in 2007 he recorded “Skytroopers – songs of war, peace and love from Vietnam,” (www.cdbaby.com/cd/RichardMorris).

We welcome Barbara Morris, Richard’s wife, and Audrey Engdahl, his daughter, who will read from his works and perform a few of his songs. And thank you to Barbara for her sponsorship that helps make this Veteran Writers Program possible!


Special Guest: Ron Capps, author/singer/songwriter

Two performances – 12:00 to 12:30 and 3:00 to 3:30

Ron Capps is the founder, director, and curriculum developer of the VWP, Ron served 25 years in the Army and Army Reserve and is a veteran of the war in Afghanistan. He is an award-winning writer and songwriter. His book, Writing War: A Guide to Telling Your Own Story  serves as the curriculum for VWP creative writing seminars and workshops. His memoir, Seriously Not All Right: Five Wars in Ten Years, is published by Schaffner Press. Ron will present original songs and short readings from his memoir Seriously Not All Right: Five Wars in Ten Years as part of a discussion of using the arts to help heal PSTD.


Richard Epstein, USA, poet

Richard Epstein is a long-time resident of the Washington, DC area. His poems have appeared in O-Dark ThirtyDerosIncomingPoeticaSchuylkill Valley Journal and The Federal Poets. Epstein hosts the Memorial Day Writers Project on the National Mall near the Vietnam Veterans Memorial twice a year (on Veterans Day and Memorial Day). He has been a featured reader at the U.S. Navy Memorial, the Vietnam Women’s Memorial, the Kensington Bookstore Poetry Series and the Frederick Poetry Salon.


Jim Smith, USA, poet

Jim Smith was drafted into the US Army in 1968 and served in Vietnam as a grunt with the 25th Infantry Division. He has been published in O-Dark-Thirty and often reads at the Kensington Row Bookshop and the Memorial Day Writers’ Project on the Mall.


Tom Glenn, NSA, author

Tom Glenn, who escaped under fire when Saigon fell in April 1975, will read from his novel, Last of the Annamese. The book tells of the final days of Vietnam and of those who survived and those who did not.


David Martin, USCG, author/poet


Maritza Rivera, USA, poet

Maritza Rivera served as an Intelligence Officer in the US Army from June 1974 to August 1978.  She was a Senior Instructor for the US Army Ordinance and Chemical Center and School (USAOCCS) at her last duty station  in Aberdeen, MD.


Brenardo Taylor, USN, poet


Philip Padgett, USN, author

Philip Padgett examines history by applying skills developed during 40 years of analytical support to national security deliberations and international negotiations. His book, Advocating Overlord, tells how the leaders of great nations at the intersection of national destinies overcame mutual suspicion to trust each other and make common cause against a shared threat. Their struggle and its solution is a story with lessons for our time.


Tom Crowley, USA, author

Tom Crowley will read from his memoir Shrapnel Wounds: An Infantry Lieutenant’s Vietnam War Memoir. The book covers his service as a rifle platoon leader in the Vietnam war, beginning with his entry into the army and training several years before going to Vietnam and extending to his return to Vietnam many years after the war ended.