by Alexander Hehr
About Tim O’Brien
Tim O’Brien is a native Minnesotan. Born in Austin, raised in Worthington, and attended Macalester College in St. Paul, O’Brien never lived outside of his home state until 1968, when he was drafted for the Vietnam War. After his tour from 1968-1970, he headed straight to graduate school at Harvard and later worked for the Washington Post.
In 1973, O’Brien published his first memoir, If I Die in a Combat Zone, Box Me Up and Ship Me Home, which is about his experiences in Vietnam. His work blurs the lines between fiction and reality. O’Brien’s writing details actual events he encountered, but he embellishes the action with fiction to follow his own distinction of reality. He continued to write and publish novels through the ‘70s and ‘80s, but none were as popular as The Things They Carried, which was published in 1990 and put O’Brien on the literary map.
About Jim Stowell
A man of many talents, Jim Stowell has graced the stage as an actor, writer, and director for the last 40 years. A favorite of the arts communities in Minneapolis and St. Paul, the Twin Cities have compared him to great writers like Lewis Carroll, Walt Whitman, Jack Kerouac, and Mark Twain. Stowell has written eleven one-man plays, performing his pieces across a variety of diverse settings, from villages in Guatemala and Brazil, to the Goodman and Guthrie theatres in the United States. A film version of his one-man play Traveling Light was presented at the Sundance Film Festival. The Things They Carried is the first piece he has written that does not delve into the details of his own life. His other plays are all based on his personal experiences including his play Cuba Si which details his humanitarian efforts in Cuba and meeting with Fidel Castro, and Three Rivers Meeting which discusses his background growing up as a cowboy and his relationship with Native Americans.