Iraqi War Veteran and Award-Winning Author Kevin Powers Coming to Sheridan College



Wendy Smith, Director of Marketing and Public Information (307) 675-0412,

Claire Barnes, Writer/Editor (307) 675-0416,

Sheridan College, Ucross Foundation and the Students Veterans of America at Sheridan College welcome author and Iraqi War Veteran Kevin Powers for a discussion and book signing of his PEN/Hemingway award-winning novel, “The Yellow Birds”, at 2 p.m. on Sunday, April 15 in the Whitney Academic Center W153. The SVA will provide up to 30 complimentary copies of Powers’ book to veterans who attend the event.

This event is sponsored by the National Endowment for the Humanities Grant: Creating Humanities Communities along the Hemingway Highway, a multi-year initiative that explores Hemingway’s continuing relevance, both in contemporary literature and as an icon. Sheridan College partners in this NEH Grant include the Wyoming Humanities Council, Wyoming Institute for Humanities Research and Ucross Foundation where Powers will be a writer-in-residence.

Kevin Powers joined the army at the age of 17, later serving a year as a machine gunner in Mosul and Tal Afar, Iraq, in 2004 and 2005. After his honorable discharge he enrolled in Virginia Commonwealth University, where he graduated in 2008 with a Bachelor’s degree in English. He holds an MFA from the University of Texas at Austin, where he was a Michener Fellow in Poetry. “The Yellow Birds” is his first novel.

“The war tried to kill us in the spring,” so begins this powerful account of friendship and loss. In Al Tafar, Iraq, twenty-one-year-old Private Bartle and eighteen-year-old Private Murphy cling to life as their platoon launches a bloody battle for the city. Bound together since basic training when Bartle makes a promise to bring Murphy safely home, the two have been dropped into a war neither is prepared for. In the endless days that follow, the two young soldiers do everything to protect each other from the forces that press in on every side: the insurgents, physical fatigue, and the mental stress that comes from constant danger. As reality begins to blur into a hazy nightmare, Murphy becomes increasingly unmoored from the world around him and Bartle takes actions he could never have imagined.

The National Endowment for the Humanities Hemingway Highways Grant is a multi-year initiative that explores Hemingway’s continuing relevance, both in contemporary literature and as an icon.  The grant was inspired by the 90th anniversary of Ernest Hemingway’s writing of “A Farewell to Arms” in Wyoming. Upcoming NEH Hemingway Highway events include author talks with award-winning writers, including Sigrid Nunez in August 2018 and Suki Kim in September 2018. The public opening of events for the grant will take place Sept. 6 – 8, 2018.  Events include the performance of Carol Hemingway’s play, “Hemingway on Stage”, and a gala at the Sheridan Inn featuring Hemingway cocktail historian, Phil Greene. Ucross Foundation has partnered with the PEN/Hemingway Award for Debut Fiction since 1995. The award was founded in 1976 by Mary Hemingway, the wife of Ernest Hemingway, to honor his legacy. Each year, the award winner, two finalists and two honorable mentions are invited for one-month residencies at Ucross. More than sixty writers have come to Wyoming through this literary collaboration, intended to support emerging writers at a crucial time in their writing careers. The partnership was conceived by Annie Proulx, who was a Ucross trustee at the time, after she had served as a judge for the award. The annual ceremony for the PEN/Hemingway award takes place each spring at the John F. Kennedy Library and Museum in Boston. The award is administered by PEN/New England, which is a chapter of PEN America, a worldwide community of writers celebrating creative expression and defending the liberties that make them possible. PEN