Larry Heinemann, 11th Annual ODU Literary Festival


Larry Heinemann

Document Type

Featured Participant

Festival Date



Newport News Room, Webb Center; University Theatre

Author/Artist Bio

Larry Heinemann won the National Book Award in 1987 for Paco's Story, the second book in a trilogy which began with Close Quarters. Both books had their genesis in his service with the Twenty-fifth Division in Vietnam as a combat infantryman. Of his writing, critics have said: "Larry Heinemann tells this story as if talking aloud, at times a hip, cynical patter that contains the bitterness Paco never speaks. It's an effective voice well-suited to the Vietnam War, a fiction that rings truer than factual accounts." Others have said, "Heinemann writes about the workingman's Vietnam, exceptional for its bleak, shared, unexceptional reality." He has been called "One of America's most important writers." Larry Heinemann has twice been the recipient of National Endowment for the Arts Fellowships and has twice won Illinois Arts Council Fellowships. Paco's Story also won the Carl Sandburg Literary Arts Award and the Vietnam Veterans of America Freedom to Express award, among others. His forthcoming non-fiction book about "tripwire veterans" was excerpted in the April 1985 issue of Harper's.


Larry Heinemann gave a talk titled "Vietnam Chic" at 1:30 p.m. on Tuesday, October 4, in the Newport News Room of Webb Center.

He also read from his fiction at 8 p.m. that evening in the University Theatre.


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