U.S. Marine Corps veteran and author of Redeployment, winner of 2014 National Book Award for Fiction
About Phil Klay
Phil Klay is a graduate of Dartmouth College and a veteran of the U.S. Marine Corps. He served in Iraq’s Anbar Province from January 2007 to February 2008 as a Public Affairs Officer. After being discharged, Klay received his MFA from Hunter College. He is the author of Redeployment (The Penguin Press), a powerful collection of short stories that takes readers to the front lines of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. In his book and public lectures, Klay explores the complex feelings of brutality, faith, guilt, and fear that a soldier experiences during war, while also revealing the isolation and despair that can accompany a soldier’s homecoming.
With his stark, realistic depictions of war, Phil Klay’s book has been praised as “one of the best debuts of the year” by the Portland Oregonian and author Karen Russell calls his writing “searing and powerful, unsparing of its characters and its readers.” Redeployment won the the 2014 National Book Award for Fiction and the 2015 Chautauqua Prize. His writing has also appeared in the New York Times, Granta, Newsweek, The Daily Beast, the New York Daily News, Tin House, and The Best American Nonrequired Reading 2012.
Phil Klay’s next work, Missionaries, is a novel of extraordinary suspense infused with geopolitical sophistication and storytelling instincts that are second to none. Missionaries is a window not only into modern war, but into the individual lives that go on long after the drones have left the skies. Missionaries was included on Barack Obama’s “Favorite Books of the Year” list and hailed as “A sweeping, interconnected novel of ideas in the tradition of Joseph Conrad and Norman Mailer” by the Wall Street Journal. Klay’s next book, Uncertain Ground is a powerful series of reckonings with some of our country’s thorniest concerns, written in essay form over the past ten years.
A Soldier’s Homecoming: Returning to Civilian Life
From the Front Lines of War: Exploring Themes of Violence, Survival, Grief, and Fear
Depictions of War and the Tradition of War Literature
Religious Faith and Modern War
Citizenship in an Age of Perpetual Conflict
Praise for Phil Klay
Veterans in our audience were deeply affected by Phil Klay’s talk, saying it captured their own experiences. For those without military background, Phil offered a nuanced view of the personal sacrifice intrinsic to serving in the armed forces. Service members and their families should not bear this burden alone. Phil’s storytelling is helping many people, regardless of background, to empathize with the military experience. We feel this has great relevance to our current and future health professionals, who are privileged to care for many service members and veterans.— The University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio, Director, Center for Medical Humanities & Ethics
Phil was received extremely well in all locations. It sounds like Carbondale had the most veteran-heavy crowd, and Urbana the most generationally diverse. The post-reading discussions were really lively and interesting, and Phil did an amazing job of speaking/responding to questions. He’s so smart, and so deft at managing situations in which the audience puts him in a position to be the definitive answer on undefinable things. He was gracious through and through, and we’ve had raves from both librarians as well as our contacts at the Old State Capitol in Springfield.— Illinois Humanities Council
Praise for Uncertain Ground
Incisive collection . . . Enriched by the author’s military experiences and sharp turns of phrase (“We’re America. We’re good at violence”), this is an astute and often enraging survey of America’s forever wars.— Publishers Weekly
An introspective collection of essays . . . Klay’s reassuring voice offers truth, hope, and ways forward during a challenging, polarized period in America.— Booklist
Marine Corps veteran and acclaimed writer Klay delivers a closely observed set of essays on an age of endless war . . . Klay’s incisive, grunt’s-eye perspective is too little heard or heeded. His topics take on larger issues, but they almost always return to that central point of view—whether it be the monasticism of military life, the militarization of the culture, or citizens’ easy access to military-grade weapons. A compelling critique of civilian foibles by a skilled writer well versed in carrying out civilian wishes in the field.— Kirkus
Praise for Missionaries
Missionaries is an urgent, detailed, compassionate and quietly furious novel about America and her Forever Wars. Intensely readable, exciting, funny and heartbreaking – it will change you.— A.L. Kennedy
“Phil Klay’s Missionaries is a big, rich, clear-eyed book about death and life; wise, compassionate, and yes, as cynical as it needs to be when necessary, but full of vivid people caught up in that organized human violence which is our species’ haunting passion. I’ve maybe never read a war novel this good.”— Ayad Akhtar, Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright of Disgraced
Books by Phil Klay
Media About Phil Klay
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- Phil Klay travels from New York, NY