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Big Read Author Tim O'Brien Visits Wichita

Contact: Jennifer Heinicke, Wichita Public Library |

Free Event Thursday Night Highlight of Community One-Book Program

Author Tim O'Brien will talk about his book, "The Things They Carried," at a public event at 7 p.m., Thursday, Nov. 3, at the Wichita State University Hughes Metropolitan Complex at 29th Street North and Oliver. The event is free and no tickets are required. Books will be available for sale. A book signing will follow his talk.

"The Things They Carried" is this year's Big Read selection for the Wichita area. The Big Read challenges community members to read, discuss and celebrate the same book. The short story compilation shares the experiences of soldiers before, during and after the Vietnam War. Published in 1990, "The Things They Carried" was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize and the National Book Critics Circle Award.

O'Brien's Vietnam War experiences have informed several, but not all, of his works. He served in the United States Army in the 46th Infantry as a foot soldier in 1969-1970. Injured by shrapnel in a grenade attack, he was awarded a Purple Heart. His first book, a Vietnam war memoir entitled "If I Die in a Combat Zone, Box Me Up and Ship Me Home" was published in 1973 during his graduate studies at Harvard. His third book, a novel entitled "Going After Caccicato," was a breakthrough success, earning O'Brien the 1979 National Book Award.

In addition to the National Book Award, his many accolades include a Guggenheim fellowship, an award from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, and two National Endowment for the Arts fellowships.

O'Brien's visit is made possible by Candlewood Suites - Wichita Airport, Friends of the Wichita Public Library, Friends University Library, USD 259 - Wichita Public Schools, Wichita State University Fairmount College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, and Wichita State University Libraries.

The Big Read is a program of the National Endowment for the Arts in partnership with Arts Midwest. For more information on the national initiative, visit

For additional Big Read – Wichita events, please visit

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