The work of the Veterans Writers Group at Cal State San Bernardino went on display when the university’s Veterans Success Center hosted an exhibitor’s booth at the Los Angeles Times Festival of Books.

Seven CSUSB students and alumni, who are members of the Veterans Writers Group, participated at the event, held April 22-23 at the University of Southern California. The festival provided a venue for the writers to meet and introduce their books to a wide audience.

This marked the third year the Veterans Writers Group took part in the festival, attended by an estimated 150,000 people, and a place for writers, poets, filmmakers, musicians and other artists to gather. It’s generally regarded as one of the largest festivals of its kind in the United States.

Founded in 2014, the Veterans Writers Group offers a free nine-session, college-level creative writing course for those closely affiliated with the military, and their immediate family members. Participants receive thorough training in the art, craft and business of professional screenwriting. In addition, participants learn the rules of creative writing, as well as how to create long-form writing projects, such as novellas and novels.

The Veterans Writers Group is designed to help writers publish their work. Not only do the writers find support and inspiration in the program, but the publishing label, Written By Veterans, gives them the option to publish their work in e-book and trade paperback formats while retaining all profits, rights and control.

While at the festival, the Veterans Writers Group attracted interest from CSUSB alumni, students and faculty who attended, and was a magnet for veterans. Many who visited the booth often stated: “Finally, someone came up with a writing program for veterans. There’s a real need for this.”

Seventeen self-published works of art were on display at the festival, including historical fiction books, screenplays, poems and an anthology, consisting of writing samples from the participants in the program, each published through Written By Veterans.

Andreas Kossak, an adjunct faculty member at CSUSB, founded the Veterans Writers Group and Written By Veterans. He is a veteran of the West German Army and has been working in film production for nearly 30 years in various roles, including screenwriter, cameraman, producer and director. He taught at CSUSB for years before starting the screenwriting course for veterans, which evolved into the Veterans Writers Group.

During Kossak’s six years of teaching screenwriting, students often told him how the class helped them discover their passion for creative writing. After reading about the difficulties veterans experienced when transitioning to civilian life, Kossak decided to create a writing course for veterans with the hope of having a positive impact on their lives.

“The Written by Veterans program can be a tremendous enrichment in the lives of veterans and their family members,” said Kossak.

Over the past three years, the Veterans Writers Group has increased from six members to more than 30. Among the group members are combat veterans who served in the Vietnam War, Desert Storm and the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. The program provides a creative outlet for its participants. It also helped Jorge Aguayo, CSUSB student and U.S. Marine Corps veteran, Will Torres, CSUSB alumnus and USMC veteran, and Bory Thach, CSUSB alumnus and U.S. Army veteran, publish their own writing projects.

Torres began writing his screenplay, “Freelance: A POG story,” in Kossak’s screenwriting course and completed the project in the Veterans Writers Group program. Thach’s and Torres’ screenplays earned spots on’s hot new releases in screenplays list, with Thach taking the No. 16 position and Torres the No. 1 spot. Additionally, Aguayo published three books in the program.

“You have to be ready to commit at least 30 minutes each day to creative writing, be patient with yourself and persistent in your effort,” said Kossak. “What you can hope for in return is that you will embark on a lifelong, fulfilling and therapeutic adventure of discovering all those stories that you never imagined you could write.”

The CSUSB Veterans Success Center provides support services focused on the special needs and requirements of today’s military veterans, service members and dependents to assist students in transitioning to the university environment and in achieving their academic and personal goals.

For more information, contact the CSUSB Veterans Success Center at 909-537-5195 or

Also visit the Veterans Success Center website.