Join Jess Ruliffson in conversation with Bryan Doerries and Peter Catapano as they discuss Invisible Wounds, Jess’ new comics journalism project which is based on candid, compassionate graphic interviews with returning war vets from the battlefields of Afghanistan and Iraq.
Cartoonist Jess Ruliffson spent five years traveling across the country interviewing veterans of the Iraq and Afghanistan Wars, from kitchen tables in Georgia and libraries in New York City to dive bars in Mississippi and back porches in Vermont. What she finds is that the real experience of soldiers at war is a far cry from depictions in popular media like Zero Dark Thirty or American Sniper. In these illustrated interviews, Ruliffson shares the stories of men, women, and non-binary ex-soldiers who struggle to reconcile their wartime experiences with their postwar lives. Identity lies at the heart of these stories, as they grapple with their gender, their race, and the brutality they’ve witnessed and caused. In this compassionate, probing book, Ruliffson reveals how America’s endless entanglement in wars have affected the psyches of the people who wage them.
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About Jess Ruliffson: Jess Ruliffson is an award-winning cartoonist. Her debut graphic novel, Invisible Wounds, is forthcoming from Fantagraphics. In 2017, her comic I Trained to Fight The Enemy was shortlisted for Slate’s Cartoonist Studio Prize. Her comics have appeared in Freeman’s Tale of Two Americas, Virginia Quarterly Review, The Gainesville Sun, BuzzFeed, The Nib, The Boston Globe, Pantheon Books, Wilson Quarterly, and The Oxford American. She teaches comics and painting at The Sequential Artists Workshop in Gainesville, FL and The School of Visual Arts in NYC. Jess is represented by Duvall Osteen at Aragi, Inc.
About Bryan Doerries: Bryan Doerries is a New York-based writer, director, and translator who currently serves as Artistic Director of Theater of War Productions, a company that presents dramatic readings of seminal plays and texts to frame community conversations about pressing issues of public health and social justice. A self-described evangelist for ancient stories and their relevance to our lives today, Doerries uses age-old approaches to help individuals and communities heal from trauma and loss. Doerries’ books include The Theater of War: What Ancient Greek Tragedies Can Teach Us Today, The Odyssey of Sergeant Jack Brennan, All That You’ve Seen Here is God, and Oedipus Trilogy. Among his awards, he has received an honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters from Kenyon College, was named Public Artist in Residence for the City of New York, and was recently elected a Hasting Center Fellow. For more information about his work, please visit: www.theaterofwar.com.
About Peter Catapano: Peter Catapano has been an editor in the New York Times Opinion Section since 2005, where he has edited the work of many military veteran authors. He is the co-editor of four books, most recently, Question Everything: A Stone Reader. His most recent essay, “I’m Going to Make a Fire”: The Transmogrifications of Gary Lieb, about his friendship with the late illustrator, appeared in the Los Angeles Review of Books last year.