Posted November 24, 2020 | 5:19 PM

Spend an Evening with Tim O'Brien, Author of "The Things They Carried"

2020 NEA Big Read concludes with presentation by award-winning novelist

Hillsborough County, Fla. (Nov. 24, 2020) - The Hillsborough County Public Library Cooperative will present a special virtual evening with American novelist Tim O'Brien on Friday, Dec. 4 at 6 p.m.

O'Brien is the author of "The Things They Carried." The collection of linked short stories about a platoon of American soldiers fighting on the ground in the Vietnam War is based upon his experiences as a soldier in the 23rd Infantry Division.

The author's personal appearance caps the library system's participation in the 2020 NEA Big Read, which invites residents to find out for themselves how the joy of sharing a good book can bring a community together. The NEA Big Read is funded by a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts in partnership with Arts Midwest. Library staff chose "The Things They Carried" from the grant list in tribute to Hillsborough's significant military ties: In addition to being home to MacDill Air Force Base, Hillsborough has the most veterans in Florida.

During the free online event on Dec. 4, O'Brien will discuss "The Things They Carried" and his experiences during the Vietnam War, and answer questions from the audience. Go to to register and obtain the online link for the event. The presentation is sponsored by the Friends of the Jimmie B. Keel Regional Library.

Copies of "The Things They Carried" - which has a mature theme best suited for older teens and adults - are available at libraries and as an eBook on OverDrive. The library system also has organized an online book discussion on Monday, Nov. 30 at 6:30 p.m. Register at

About "The Things They Carried" and author Tim O'Brien:

"The Things They Carried" (1990) is considered one of the finest books about the Vietnam War. Far from a combat story of pride and glory, it is a compassionate tale of the American soldier, brimming with raw honesty and thoughtful reflection. This award-winning work is a brutal, sometimes funny, often profound narrative about the human heart, how it fares under pressure, and what it can endure.

Author Tim O'Brien was born on Oct. 1, 1946. He earned a degree in political science from Macalester College. He spent his Vietnam tour of duty from 1969 to 1970 as a foot soldier with the 46th Infantry in Quang Ngai province before returning home with a Purple Heart after being wounded in a grenade attack. O'Brien published his first book to wide critical acclaim in 1973. He went on to write several award-winning books and win literary accolades, including a National Book Award and two National Endowment for the Arts fellowships. A resident of Austin, Texas, he teaches creative writing at Texas State University.


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