Mighty Pen Project

“In speaking to a group of fellow Civil War veterans, Chief Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes observed, ‘We have shared the incommunicable experience of war, we have felt, we still feel, the passion of life to its top. In our youth our hearts were touched by fire.’ His remarks ring true with veterans even today, just as they did when he first delivered them more than a century ago. The Virginia War Memorial Foundation’s Mighty Pen Project is am important way for veterans to tell the story of how their hearts have been touched by fire. You will be moved and inspired by their words.” 

-Charles F. Bryan, Jr., U.S. ARMY (1971 – 1973)

The Virginia War Memorial Foundation provides a number of free creative outlets for veterans and the means by which their work may be enjoyed by all.

The Mighty Pen Project is an intensive writing class designed to help and encourage veterans and their loved ones commit to paper their memories and reflections.

These writings together forming a living documentary of American military service.  The Foundation provides the MPP writing classes free of charge, offering creative writing instruction so that students may develop their memories into a complete written narrative. Classes are taught by author and creative writing professor David L. Robbins.

Now in its tenth year, the Mighty Pen Project has grown to include a variety of mediums and outlets:

Mighty pen project journal

Every year, the Virginia War Memorial Foundation publishes a curated collection of original works from the past year’s classes of the Mighty Pen Project.

The written works included in the Mighty Pen Project Journal range from creative fiction to personal stories to poetry to plays.

Supporters of the Foundation receive a complimentary copy of the journal. But several groups regularly request additional copies for book club discussions,  educational purposes, and more.

To request copies of the Mighty Pen Project Journal, email us at mightypen@vawarmemorial.org.

War in Pieces

War in Pieces is a festival of one-act plays hosted and produced by the The Virginia War Memorial Foundation in collaboration with our local Richmond theater partners.

The festival provides MPP students with the opportunity to see their written narratives come to life through theatrical productions.

This year, the VWMF is once again partnering with Firehouse Theatre of Richmond. The works of four playwrights will be performed at the Memorial in March 2024.


Photo Credit: Bill Sigafoos


Mighty Pen Podcast

The Mighty Pen Podcast premiered in January 2024. It is a culmination of ten years of Mighty Pen writing classes and shared veterans stories.

As part of the tenth anniversary of the MPP, the podcast will bring select stories to life with dramatic readings by professional actors. The readings will be followed by interviews with the writers themselves.

This program shares a vast range of experiences had by veterans and their families during war and peace times, during and after their service. The Mighty Pen Podcast is available on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, and the VWMF YouTube Channel. Beginning January 2, new episodes will drop every Tuesday throughout 2024 to commemorate the MPP’s anniversary.

Listen to the premiere episode HERE.

View the authors and their biographies HERE.


Registration is now open for The Mighty Pen Project 2024.

Do you want to preserve your military experiences? Are you a family member or friend who has been connected to military service through your loved ones?

Now is the time to share your stories.

The VWMF is currently accepting applications for the 2024 Mighty Pen Project Virtual Semesters.


Mighty Pen Project Virtual Master Class: January 3 – March 13, 2024 

REGISTRATION CLOSED (contact mightypen@vawarmemorial.org to inquire about the waitlist.)

This course is open to previous graduates of the Mighty Pen Project. Professor David L. Robbins will work with students to go beyond entry-level writing techniques to help veteran students further develop their memoirs and recollections. Classes will be held virtually via Zoom for 12 weeks, on Wednesdays at 6:30PM.

Mighty Pen Project Virtual New Student Class: April 17 – July 3, 2024

The Mighty Pen Project is for all Virginia veterans! We are proud to offer a virtual semester of the Mighty Pen Project, taught by Professor David L. Robbins. Students are encouraged to join from anywhere in the Commonwealth of Virginia via Zoom for this 12-week semester. Classes are Wednesdays at 6:30PM.

All classes are hosted free-of-charge as a benefit to veterans.


If you are interested in reading selected work by students from previous classes, you may browse stories at VCU Scholars Compass.


Are you interested in hosting a Mighty Pen Project class in your region of Virginia?

The Foundation is open to educators and volunteers to help with veteran programming and outreach across the Commonwealth. Contact us at info@vawarmemorial.org for more information about hosting a Mighty Pen Project class.

If you have questions or need assistance, reach out to us at mightypen@vawarmemorial.org.