SAN ANTONIO (Oct. 27, 2014) — Phil Klay, M.F.A., a Marine-turned-author whose short story collection, “Redeployment,” is a National Book Award finalist, speaks at noon Thursday at The University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio. His visit is the culmination of One Community/One Book 2014.
Klay will speak in the Holly Auditorium, 7703 Floyd Curl Drive. The event, followed by a reception and book signing, is free and open to the public. Those planning to attend can register at www.texashumanities.org.
After graduating from Dartmouth College, Klay enlisted in the U.S. Marine Corps and deployed to the Anbar Province of Iraq as a public affairs officer during the 2007 troop surge. “Redeployment” is a collection of fictional short stories based on his experiences.
The word “redeployment” has two meanings: a return home after combat or the beginning of a new tour of duty. Klay explores both scenarios and the traumas inherent to each of them.
The book is often compared with defining literary works of other wars, notably “The Things They Carried,” Tim O’Brien’s acclaimed short story collection on the Vietnam War. On Oct. 15, “Redeployment” was named one of five finalists for the National Book Award for Fiction; the winner will be announced Nov. 19.
“This is a riveting collection of short stories that conveys the profound impact of war on the human psyche,” said Ruth Berggren, M.D., FACP, director of the Center for Medical Humanities & Ethics at the Health Science Center. “The stories both horrified and amazed me. Most importantly, they helped me begin to understand what it means to be a soldier or veteran of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars and, therefore, made me a better-prepared, more empathic physician.”
One Community/One Book is a partnership of the Center for Medical Humanities & Ethics, the Health Science Center Libraries and the STRONG STAR Multidisciplinary PTSD Research Consortium, which studies combat-related post-traumatic stress disorder.
Klay will be introduced at the event by STRONG STAR Director Alan L. Peterson, Ph.D. ABPP, a clinical psychologist and retired Air Force lieutenant colonel who served in Iraq.
“There is tremendous gratitude for the sacrifices made by service members and veterans, but it’s difficult for those who have never seen combat to truly understand the experience of our nation’s military,” Dr. Peterson said. “A book like ‘Redeployment’ serves as a starting point for conversations that ultimately lead to better understanding.”
Redeployment is the seventh book featured as a One Community/One Book selection of the Health Science Center.
“One Community/One Book has taken off at the Health Science Center,” said Rajia Tobia, A.M.L.S., executive director of the Libraries. “Literature is a window into a person’s experiences, and discussing a book can lead to additional insights. Recognizing that people are shaped by their experiences is especially important for health professionals, making One Community/One Book a valuable resource for the South Texas Medical Center, as well as San Antonio at large.”
The One Community/One Book project received generous support from David and Marisela Kepes, as well as a gift made by Jerald Winakur, M.D., and his wife, Lee Robinson, to honor the memory of Velma Marie Twiner. This program was made possible in part with a grant from Humanities Texas, the state affiliate of the National Endowment for the Humanities.
The University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio, one of the country’s leading health sciences universities, ranks in the top 13 percent of academic institutions receiving National Institutes of Health (NIH) funding. The university’s schools of medicine, nursing, dentistry, health professions and graduate biomedical sciences have produced more than 31,000 graduates. The $787.7 million operating budget supports eight campuses in San Antonio, Laredo, Harlingen and Edinburg. For more information on the many ways “We make lives better®,” visit www.uthscsa.edu.