News Center

English Professor Receives NEH Grant for Community Outreach Program

Alex Vernon - 20120309 - 13182814CONWAY, Ark. (March 28, 2016) – Hendrix College English professor Dr. Alex Vernon will direct Fiction & Fact: A War Dialogue with Veterans, a two-year community outreach project in conjunction with the Central Arkansas Library System (CALS).

The project, which will be offered beginning this fall, recently received one of 17 national grants from National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH).

A West Point graduate and combat veteran whose several books include an award-winning memoir about the Persian Gulf War, Vernon has taught war literature and film to undergraduate students for 15 years as a professor of English at Hendrix.

"The opportunity to discuss artistic and testimonial accounts of war with other veterans will be enormously gratifying,” said Vernon. “There's no single veteran perspective, and we'll all bring different ideas to the table and take new reflections with us. Thinking about a war story that isn't one's own offers the power of connection as well as the liberty of emotional distance and imaginative engagement. It's going to be great." 

Arkansas Literary Festival Coordinator Brad Mooy will serve as assistant director for the Fiction & Fact project

“Through Fiction & Fact, CALS has the wonderful opportunity to offer innovative programming for veterans utilizing the Butler Center for Arkansas Studies’ extensive Korean and Vietnam materials. By bolstering the war-related offerings at the 2017 and 2018 Arkansas Literary Festival and producing a new film series augmented by humanities scholar panels in the Rob Robinson Theater, CALS reinforces its vital commitment to serve the general public with thoughtful, free events. We’re simply thrilled that the NEH has entrusted CALS to undertake such a significant, worthy project,” Mooy said.

Over the two years, the grant of $99,772 will fund Fiction and Fact: A War Dialogue with Veterans provides opportunities for veterans to participate in any of four distinct units and reflect on the war and homecoming experiences through facilitated discussions based on different humanities sources: books, art, film, museum exhibits, oral histories, and blogs. These sources draw chiefly from World War I, the Vietnam War, and the second war in Iraq. Each unit involves two weekend discussion retreats for that set of veterans and includes a blog that will supplement retreat discussions. Veteran-civilian interactions occur through a film series and themed Festival panels. Additionally, the project includes author presentations at the Arkansas Literary Festival and visits to the National World War I museum in Kansas City and the National Veterans Art Museum in Chicago (formerly the Vietnam Veterans Art Museum).

“NEH provides support for projects across America that preserve our heritage, promote scholarly discoveries, and make the best of America’s humanities ideas available to all Americans,” said NEH Chairman William D. Adams. “We are proud to announce this latest group of grantees, who through their projects and research will bring valuable lessons of history and culture to Americans.”

Read more

More information about the project and participation for veterans will be available at the 2016 Arkansas Literary Festival, April 14-17. For more information, contact or 918-3098.

About the Arkansas Literary Festival

The Arkansas Literary Festival is a project of the Central Arkansas Library System. The 2016 Festival will be held April 14-17 at the Main Library campus and other downtown venues. The Festival’s mission is to encourage the development of a more literate populace. A group of dedicated volunteers assists Festival Coordinator Brad Mooy with planning the Festival. Committee chairs include Kevin Brockmeier, Talent Committee; Susan Santa Cruz, Festival Guides; and Amy Bradley-Hole, Moderators.

About the National Endowment for the Humanities

Created in 1965 as an independent federal agency, the National Endowment for the Humanities supports research and learning in history, literature, philosophy, and other areas of the humanities by funding selected, peer-reviewed proposals from around the nation. Additional information about the National Endowment for the Humanities and its grant programs is available at:

About Hendrix College

Hendrix College is a private liberal arts college in Conway, Arkansas. Founded in 1876 and affiliated with the United Methodist Church since 1884, Hendrix is featured in Colleges That Change Lives: 40 Schools That Will Change the Way You Think about Colleges and is nationally recognized in numerous college guides, lists, and rankings for academic quality, community, innovation, and value. For more information, visit