The Road Ahead: Veterans' Reading

Contributors Matthew Hefti and Kristen L. Rouse to the new anthology, The Road Ahead:  Stories of the Forever War, join fellow veterans Justice Castañeda and Dave Chrisinger in a reading of works about combat and its lasting effects on people and nations. The reading will include a question and answer period moderated by Ben LeRoy, editor of Tyrus Books.  

Kirkus Review said that The Road Ahead is “(a)n anthology of stories covering a literary terrain as expansive as the seemingly endless 'war on terror' that spawned it. These stories provide plenty of revelation on the nature of the war and the soldiers who continue to fight it.” Kirkus Review

The Watershed Reading Series is supported by Dane Arts with additional funds from the Endres Mfg. Company Foundation, The Evjue Foundation, Inc, charitable arm of The Capital Times, the W. Jerome Frautschi Foundation, and the Pleasant T. Rowland Foundation. 

Matthew Hefti veteran writer

Matthew J. Hefti is the author of the novel A Hard and Heavy Thing, which was named one of the top ten books of 2016 by Military Times, one of the top ten first novels of 2016 by Booklist, and one of the Great Group Reads of 2016 by the Women’s National Book Association. He lives in Madison, Wisconsin, and is in his final semester at the University of Wisconsin Law School, where he has spent the past two years as a clinical student in the Frank J. Remington Center, working for the Wisconsin Innocence Project and other criminal law clinics. 

Justice Cansteneda

Justice Castañeda, MA, MCP  currently serves as the Executive Director of Common Wealth Development, Inc., a local development organization specializing in affordable housing development, economic development and business incubation and youth development and mentorship in Madison, WI.  An educator and economic development specialist by trade, Justice’s professional and academic work explores the intersections of housing policy, economic development and community violence, looking at the role these intersections play in educational & life outcomes for youth who have experienced traumatic events in early childhood and adolescence.  

A Madison, WI native, Justice completed his undergraduate work at UC San Diego, a Master of Arts in Policy, Organization and Leadership Studies from the Graduate School of Education at Stanford University, and earned his Masters of City Planning from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, where he focused on housing policy, community &... Read More

David Chrisinger Veteran nonfiction writer

David Chrisinger believes in the power of storytelling and has made it his life’s work to help others be better leaders by becoming better storytellers. In 2014, David started teaching a popular writing seminar for student veterans at the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point, and in 2016 he edited a collection of his students’ essays titled See Me for Who I Am. He is the author of a forthcoming public policy book from John Hopkins University Press, and he is currently writing a memoir about his journey to uncover the truth about what happened to his grandfather during the Battle of Okinawa in 1945.


Ben LerRoy Editor Bleak House Tyrus Books

Ben LeRoy has nearly two decades of 360-degree publishing experience, having started and run two critically acclaimed houses: Bleak House Books and Tyrus Books. He has written about the publishing industry for a variety of websites and has been a featured speaker at a number of writing conferences. LeRoy was named to Publishers Weekly’s “Fifty Under Forty” list.  Books from Bleak House and Tyrus have received dozens of starred reviews in trade publications, have been finalists for nearly all crime fiction awards (including Edgar Award finalists in three categories in 2008, the only time a small press has accomplished that feat), have won the Barnes & Noble Discover Award, have achieved USA Today bestselling status, and were selected as an Okra Pick from SIBA.

In 2011 he sold Tyrus Books to F+W Media. In 2016, Tyrus Books was sold by F+W Media to CBS/Simon & Schuster.

In 2017 Simon & Schuster’s Gallery imprint took possession of the Tyrus Books’... Read More

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Arts + Literature Laboratory is located in Madison’s Schenk-Atwood neighborhood at 2021 Winnebago Street, Madison, Wisconsin 53704.

Gallery hours are Tuesday-Saturday 11am-3pm during exhibitions or by appointment. Please check the exhibitions calendar before planning your visit, as the gallery is closed between exhibitions and other schedule changes are posted here.


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