Excerpts from a recent interview with Words After War co-founder Mike McGrath.
Yesterday Mike was interviewed by The Billfold, a financial-literacy site (and part of The Awl Network). They covered a variety of WAW-related topics. Check out some choice excerpts below and click HERE to read the whole thing. And don’t forget to buy your tickets for our first ever public event, “Danger Close: Writers on War,” Nov. 2 at ACME Studio in Brooklyn. Hope to see you there.
The WAW origin story:
I met Brandon Willitts while getting my MFA at the University of Virginia. He was living in Charlottesville, taking classes at the local community college and grappling with a lot of issues that recently returned veterans frequently experience. We met watching football at a watering hole and bonded over writing/lit. The following semester he started a writing group at Piedmont (his community college) with a professor, myself and our friend Lee, another MFA guy. It was just very obvious that Brandon had a lot on his mind and that the group was a very important, almost necessary outlet. At the time I sort of took it for granted because I was taking workshops almost as a job, but later, after I finished grad school and was released into the largely uncaring world I realized that it can be a really effective support network. I missed having readers and deadlines and feedback. Then, after Brandon finished his B.A. in lit he was working as a veterans’ advocate in NYC and one night we were talking about building a writing studio in the woods behind my parents’ house and that somehow led to Words After War
On the benefits of writing workshops:
We’re all protective of our memories, especially painful or traumatic ones, but one benefit of the workshop environment is to experience these memories from another perspective. And that’s healthy.
On the fiscal challenges facing an emerging non-profit:
Right now, we’re running on empty. Meaning, we are entirely self-funded. It has been difficult. We secured a fiscal sponsorship, which allows us to raise money until the IRS approves our 501(c)(3), which, these days, who knows when that will be. We have reached out to friends and family and other people in our extended network, and we are seriously considering a crowdfunding campaign, but in the end we really do believe that the money we need will come, and, in the meantime, we wanted to get the ball rolling so prospective donors would be able to see exactly where their donations would be going.
As always, we thank you for your time and support. Want to help us provide no-cost, high-quality literary programming for veterans, their families and civilian supporters? Make a tax-deductible donation HERE.