Kayla Williams, Artistic
Recognizing outstanding achievement and excellence in portraying the veteran experience through the arts, film or literature (director, writer, etc.).
Kayla Williams is a former sergeant and Arabic linguist in a Military Intelligence company of the 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault). During her deployment to Iraq, Williams was at the forefront of troops’ interaction with Iraqis while also navigating the challenges of being part of the 15% of the Army that is female.
Williams is the author of Love My Rifle More Than You: Young and Female in the U.S. Army, a memoir about her experiences negotiating the changing demands on today’s military. She regularly speaks and writes about military and veterans’ issues for numerous media outlets, including MSNBC, CNN, BBC, Huffington Post, The Guardian, and Slate.
Ms. Williams graduated cum laude with a BA in English Literature from Bowling Green State University, and earned an MA in International Affairs with a focus on the Middle East from American University. She is a 2013 White House Woman Veteran Champion of Change, Truman National Security Project Fellow, member of the Army Education Advisory Committee, and a former member of the VA Advisory Committee on Women Veterans.
She currently lives near Washington, D.C. with her husband, a combat-wounded veteran.
Her book Plenty of Time When We Get Home: Love and Recovery in the Aftermath of War, about his injury and their joint path from trauma to healing, was released by W. W. Norton in 2014.