2017-01-06 / Community

‘Homecoming’ author to host reading on Jan. 17

David Arenstam reads from his new book, “Homecoming,” at Kennebunk Free Library on Jan. 17.

Arenstam, a writer, journalist, and teacher at Thornton Academy, will read selections from his debut novel, “Homecoming: A Soldier’s Story of Loyalty, Courage, and Redemption,” on Tuesday, Jan. 17 at p.m. at Kennebunk Free Library.

Based on hundreds of hours of interviews with Vietnam veterans, “Homecoming” follows two American aviators assigned to the Aerial Rocket Artillery in Vietnam. Crew chief Russell Warriner and co-pilot Bobby Connelly are brought together for a mission in early 1968. As the Tet Offensive rages, the two men discover that their courage and strength alone may not be enough to bring them home safely.

A Bates College graduate and finalist for the Maine Teacher of the Year award, Arenstam recently received his master’s degree in journalism from Harvard University. “Homecoming” grew out of a project for his graduate program, in which he interviewed the real-life Russell Warriner, a 68-year-old Vietnam veteran who lives in Old Orchard Beach.

He also interviewed other members of the Army’s 1st Calvary Division and their families, and that research helps form the backbone of “Homecoming.” The book has already been nominated for the 2017 William E. Colby award, given to emerging writers of military fiction and nonfiction.

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