Annual Veterans Pen Celebration 2023


Sunday November 12, 2023 from 2:00-4:00 PM

National WWI Museum and Memorial in Kansas City, MO

Join us in person, or watch live on our Facebook page.


VVWP Panel to Explore a Writer’s Next Steps after ‘The End’

When is “The End” not the end?

Successful writers will agree that the task of placing their written work before any audience — prospective agents and publishers or just friends and family – is far from over when the last sentence is crafted.

Those next steps are the focus of this year’s Veterans Pen Celebration presented annually by the Veterans Voices Writing Project (VVWP), publishers of Veterans’ Voices magazine. The event is from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. on Sunday, Nov. 12, in the R.A. Long Learning Center at the National World War I Museum and Memorial in Kansas City, Mo.

While the VVWP focuses on the needs and interests of veterans, this free event will be open to the public.

A distinguished panel of experts in writing, publishing and marketing will discuss the lengthy and often complicated “to do” list for any authors curious about displaying their works beyond the paper or screen where they came to life.

• What’s left to do before I show it to anyone?
• Who should see it?
• Should I try to find an agent or publisher, or should I self-publish?

VVWP is honored to present three panelists familiar with every facet of a manuscript’s life after creation. They are:

Lou Eisenbrandt — VVWP board member who served as an Army nurse in Vietnam. Her award-winning book, Vietnam Nurse, covers her wartime experiences, and another, Unsteady as She Goes, describes her ongoing struggle with Parkinson’s disease traced to exposure to Agent Orange.

Virginia Brackett — Award-winning professor emeritus at Park University, manuscript editor, author of 15 books, writing mentor and facilitator for numerous veteran groups. Her latest book is In the Company of Patriots.

Vivien Jennings — Founder of the legendary Rainy Day Books stores. Since 1975, Rainy Day Books has provided the Greater Kansas City community with a gathering place, a wellspring of ideas and creative thought and an ongoing voice for literacy and awareness.

The panel’s moderator will be VVWP Vice President Ted Iliff, author, retired journalist and prose editor for Veterans’ Voices magazine.

VVWP was started in 1946 as a volunteer organization helping returning World War II veterans with postwar trauma to use writing as a form of therapy. The prose and poetry from those efforts led to the creation of Veterans’ Voices magazine in 1952. The award-winning magazine’s three editions per year feature prose, poetry and visual art exclusively by veterans.

For more information, contact Ted Iliff (