Archive - March 2018

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 Finding one’s way into book publishing
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Talking with Romany Tin (Cambodia)
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The Genius of Moritz Thomsen (Ecuador)
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To Die in Addis Ababa (Ethiopia)
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Joe Colmen Passes at 98 (HQ/Washington)
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Mike Tidwell remembers Moritz Thomsen (Ecuador)
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Finding Moritz Thomsen (Ecuador)
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Remembering Moritz Thomsen (Ecuador)
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Looking for a magazine or website to publish your fiction, nonfiction, poetry?
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Peace Corps accused of quarantining, then firing, PCV with HIV (Cambodia)

 Finding one’s way into book publishing

They are known infamously as “gate keepers.” The men and women who throughout the long history of publishing make the decision on whether a book gets published. These mysterious editors who control the fate of every would-be writer hide away mostly in New York skyscrapers and decide what is worthy of publication. Or at least that is what most would-be novelists think. Perhaps the most famous editor of all book editors was Maxwell Perkins. Perkins published F. Scott Fitzgerald, Ernest Hemingway and Thomas Wolfe. They were his first famous writers but he would go onto publish a wide range of novelists, from J.P. Marquand to Erskine Caldwell to Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings, as well as, late in his editorial career, convince James Jones not to pen an autobiographical novel but write instead From Here to Eternity. You might ask: how did these editors become ‘gate keepers’? Well, they start in the . . .

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Talking with Romany Tin (Cambodia)

The Peace Corps may do work around the world to reduce HIV stigma and discrimination, but, according to a report on Friday, it’s a different story if one of its volunteers tests positive. A Peace Corps volunteer who was stationed in Cambodia claims the federal government agency quarantined him in a hotel room and then terminated his service after he tested positive for HIV. Wrote Jorge Rivas in Splinter News I published the article  “Peace Corps accused of quarantining, then firing, PCV with HIV (Cambodia)” about PCV Romany Tin on March 12 on our site and then reached out to get his story of what happened in Cambodia and with the Peace Corps. — JCoyne • First off, Romany, where did you go to college? I attending California State University Long Beach and majored in Political Science and International Studies. I graduated in May of 2017 and departed to Peace Corps on July . . .

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The Genius of Moritz Thomsen (Ecuador)

I first  published this item on June 1, 2009. A new publication from Quito, Ecuador, is out with a scholarly look at the writings of Moritz Thomsen (Ecuador 1965–67). It is the online publication LiberArte, from the Universidad de San Francisco de Quito. Contributors to LiberArte are primarily professors and students at the university. The journal, first published in January, 2005, features articles on literature, film, and critical trends in Ecuador. Last year there was a conference on Thomsen’s writing held in Quito. If you are interested in any reports from that conference, contact Martin Vega (vegamart@gmail.com) Martin also welcomes comments and critiques of Thomsen from those who knew him. I asked Martin if he knew Moritz and he said he didn’t, but that Alvaro Aleman, who heads up their journal, did know Moritz and often visited him in Guayaquil and spoke with him at length about authors and books. After Thomsen’s death, Alvaro . . .

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To Die in Addis Ababa (Ethiopia)

Peace Corps Volunteer Susan Traub was killed on the night she and her husband arrived as new Peace Corps Volunteers to Ethiopia. It was a  tragic death through absolutely no fault of her own and only because she turned left and not right when she stepped out of the Land Rover at the hotel on her first night in Addis Ababa. This story is about Susan, and it is also about her husband, Charles, who was also injured that night, but who went onto have an amazing life in all the years since, living through the death of his young wife, his own injury, and then a tour in Vietnam. Today he has emerged having had a successful career as a photographer, college professor, author of fifteen books, and a husband and a father. What happened in Ethiopia in September 1967, happened in the last days of my tour as . . .

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Joe Colmen Passes at 98 (HQ/Washington)

In her book on the early days of the Peace Corps, (Come As You Are) Coates Redmon writes of Colmen, “He was one of Shriver’s foils who could, like Mankiewicz and Gelman, make Shriver laugh his great whooping laugh and cause him to make light of things in tense situations. Colmen was an obsessive punster and an instigator of mass guffawing at senior staff meetings. Like Mel Brooks, whom Colmen physically resembled, Colmen likes to see the group dynamic reach the brink of craziness. Like Brooks, Colmen likes to provoke “dangerous laughing.” On his first trip to Africa with Shriver, Colmen and a hand full of other HQ officials went to the royal palace of Emperor Haile Selassie and after Shriver’s official visit with the Emperor, Shriver and the small group were given a tour of the royal gardens. As they reached an outer corridor of the palace, a sort . . .

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Mike Tidwell remembers Moritz Thomsen (Ecuador)

  Moritz Thomsen (Ecuador 1965-67) died of cholera in Guayaquil, Ecuador on August 28, 1991. In March 1993 in our newsletter Peace Corps Writers we published an essay entitled “Ashes on the River Esmeraldas” written by Mike Tidwell (Zaire 1985-87). Tidwell who had published his Peace Corps story The Ponds of Kalambayi: An African Sojourn that won the RPCV Writers & Readers’ Paul Cowan Non-Fiction Award in 1991. Mike’s book, Sargent Shiver told me, was one of the best accounts of Peace Corps service.  •   Ashes on the River Esmeraldas Quite fitting that on my first morning in Quito, Ecuador, there to visit the buried ashes of Moritz Thomsen, I watched a dirty waif wrap his arms around a gringo tourist’s leg, begging for coins, refusing to let go. To free himself, the tourists made the boy fetch like a pathetic dog, throwing some coins toward a trash heap, . . .

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Finding Moritz Thomsen (Ecuador)

By Patricia A. Wand (Colombia 1963-65) Published in Peace Corps Writers & Readers, May 1997   “THE MESSAGE FROM ECUADOR TODAY IS: NO GOOD DEED GOES UNPUNISHED.” So wrote Moritz Thomsen on June 29, 1990, and what he meant was that he was angry at me. He was angry because I nominated him for the Sargent Shriver Award; because I suggested his traveling to the U.S. when I knew of his frail health; and because I described his living conditions in my letter of nomination. But this all happened after I got to know him a bit. Let’s start much earlier than that; when I read is first book. Living Poor: A Peace Corps Chronicle spoke to me and for me. Moritz Thomsen captured the essence of Latin American village culture as I too knew it. I saw in his village the same people, the same breadth of character, the . . .

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Remembering Moritz Thomsen (Ecuador)

Back in 1990, shortly before his death from cholera, I interviewed Moritz for then newsletter, Peace Corps Writers & Readers. Moritz who had been a PCV in Ecuador from 1965-67, had written three books, all about his time in Latin America. Many consider his book Living Poor the best written account of the Peace Corps experience. When he emailed me he was living at Casilla 362, Guayaquil, Educador Here is what Moritz wrote me, responding to one of my questions. Moritz, you are an example of a Peace Corps Volunteer who has never come home. From your books we know your “history” over these last twenty-five years or so, but is there another reason—perhaps a mystical reason—that has kept you in Latin America. No, no mystical reasons for staying in South America. In my younger years I was very often the kid who was the last to leave the party, . . .

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Looking for a magazine or website to publish your fiction, nonfiction, poetry?

  Thanks to a “heads up” from Mark Jacobs (Paraguay 1978-80) •  NewPages.com is news, information, and guides to literary magazines, independent publishers, creative writing programs, alternative periodicals, indie bookstores, writing contests, and more. Check it out. Also check out these fifty (plus)publications. All the magazines listed below have published essays that appeared in the Table of Contents or the Notable Essays section of the annual anthology BEST AMERICAN ESSAYS. The Georgia Review Established 1947  The American Scholar www.theamericanscholar.org/ The Gettysburg Review http://www.gettysburgreview.com Creative Nonfiction http://www.creativenonfiction.org Prairie Schooner Established: 1926 http://prairieschooner.unl.edu/ The Missouri Review Established: 1978 http://www.missourireview.org River Teeth http://static.ashland.edu//riverteeth/ Tin House http://www.tinhouse.com/index.htm Fourth Genre a journal of creative nonfiction a href=”http://msupress.msu.edu/journals/fg/”> Orion special emphasis on writing about nature/environment http://www.orionmagazine.org/ Image writing about spirituality & the arts www.imagejournal.org Agni Boston University http://www.bu.edu/agni/index.html Granta http://www.granta.com/ The Antioch Review founded 1941 http://antiochcollege.org/antioch_review.html Bellevue Literary Review Special emphasis on illness/health http://www.blreview.org/ The Kenyon . . .

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Peace Corps accused of quarantining, then firing, PCV with HIV (Cambodia)

Thanks to a ‘heads up’ from Alana DeJoseph (Mali 1992-94) Romany Tin has emailed me to say: “The splinternews article got it wrong and misinterpreted the them.us article. I wasn’t quaratined nor did I claimed to be. I said that the news of not being able to go back to Cambodia made me feel not wanting to leave the hotel room which I barely left. Them.us got it right (I interviewed with them), but splinternews (I didnt interview with them)” jcoyne note • Peace Corps Accused of Quarantining, Then Firing, Volunteer With HIV By Jorge Rivas, Splinter News AP Photo The Peace Corps may do work around the world to reduce HIV stigma and discrimination, but, according to a report on Friday, it’s a different story if one of its volunteers tests positive. A Peace Corps volunteer who was stationed in Cambodia claims the federal government agency quarantined him in a hotel room and . . .

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