Archive - 2018

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Where are our RPCV Ambassadors?
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Emily Arsenault’s (South Africa) new mystery — THE LAST THING I TOLD YOU
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“Downsizing Books” by John Coyne (Ethiopia)
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Join Association of Writers & Writing Programs
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Review — FIGURES IN A LANDSCAPE by Paul Theroux (Malawi)
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Jenny Phillips (Lesotho), writer and award-winning filmmaker, dies at 76
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House passes Peace Corps Health Legislation
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Peace Corps Porn
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Finding “Teranga” from Senegal to the streets of Paris by Carrie Knowlton (Senegal)
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RPCV Who Served with Distinction in the Foreign Service (Ethiopia)

Where are our RPCV Ambassadors?

  A-100 is the entry level class that only Foreign Service Officers go through when they first join the State Department.They are sworn in as Foreign Service Officers at the end of this 6 week program.During this event they also find out what country they are being sent to for their first assignment.It is a big deal.Very memorable for all involved.In the last four Foreign Service classes there have been a total of 5% RPCVs. Here is the enrollments numbers of A-100 on the last four classes.          The 194th  has 5 Peace Corps Volunteers out of 82 students  (current class underway)          The 193rd  had 3 out of 41          The 192nd had 0 out of 34          The 191st   had 2 out of 45 Neither the Peace Corps or the State Department has a list of RPCVs . . .

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Emily Arsenault’s (South Africa) new mystery — THE LAST THING I TOLD YOU

    Emily Arsenault’s (South Africa 2004-06) new novel is a psychological thriller about the murder of a psychologist in a quiet New England town and his former patient whose unreliable thread will keep you guessing. until the shocking end. I hear myself whispering. Not again. Not again. Why did I ever come back here? Surely because of you. Because I thought of something I’d always meant to tell you. Because you were the only one I ever really wanted to tell it to… Therapist Dr. Mark Fabian is dead—bludgeoned in his office. But that doesn’t stop former patient Nadine Raines from talking to him—in her head. Why did she come back to her hometown after so many years away? Everyone here thinks she’s crazy. And she has to admit—they might have good reason to think so. She committed a shockingly violent act when she was sixteen, and has never really . . .

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“Downsizing Books” by John Coyne (Ethiopia)

  When I was growing up on a farm in Illinois all six of us kids (I was the youngest) waited for the Saturday Evening Post to arrive in Wednesday’s mail so we’d have stories to read over the weekend. After dinner, whichever of my three sisters was washing the dishes that night would prop a book up against the kitchen window so she could read as she scrubbed. Since my job was to dry, I couldn’t pull off that trick. But I loved books too, and before I learned to read, my oldest sister would read to me whatever Jane Austen or Brontē novel she had gotten from the village library. We read so many books, in fact, that soon my older siblings had gone through everything deemed “age appropriate” by the librarian, Mrs. Butterfield. So one day she refused to let my sister Eileen check out the book she’d chosen. My mother, an . . .

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Join Association of Writers & Writing Programs

Preview Weekend  Get Your All-Access Pass and See What Members Love About AWP  You know that an AWP membership comes with a discounted conference registration and a subscription to The Writer’s Chronicle, but there is so much more. And it is yours to explore for three days, free of charge, from July 20–22, 2018. Here are some of the resources you will find upon logging in: Over 1,300 online articles on writing and teaching in our Features Archive Our Writer’s Calendar, with an up-to-date listing of events and publishing opportunities The AWP Job List, which provides the latest information on open jobs for writers Over 100 Career Advicearticles AWP’s Career Services Web Series, including our Writer to Agent Web Serieswith agents from Folio Literary Management We are offering three days of FREE access to see what an AWP membership is all about. Simply email awp@awpwriter.org with your first and last name or sign up below, and we will set . . .

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Review — FIGURES IN A LANDSCAPE by Paul Theroux (Malawi)

  Figures in a Landscape: People and Places Essays: 2001-2016 By Paul Theroux (Malawi 1963-65) Eamon Dolan/Houghton Miffin Harcourt 416 pages May 2018 $28.00 (hardcover),  $15.64(paperback), $15.99 (Kindle) Reviewed by Mark D. Walker (Guatemala 1971–73) • The “Godfather of contemporary travel writing” has probably chronicled more places in the world than almost any other author. This is his third volume of essays, following Sunrise with Seamonsters (1984) and Fresh Air Fiend (2001), for a total of 134 essays written over 53 years. This new collection of essays is a veritable cornucopia of sights, characters, and experiences covering the globe. The collection includes varied topics and showcases his sheer versatility as a writer. The title of the book is based on a 1945 painting by the Irish-born artist known for his grotesque, emotionally charged, raw imagery that, according to Theroux, sums up all travel writing and many essays. In the introduction of . . .

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Jenny Phillips (Lesotho), writer and award-winning filmmaker, dies at 76

  Thanks for the ‘heads up’ from Susan Zawalich. • Jenny Phillips, writer and award-winning filmmaker, dies at 76 by Bryan Marquard Boston Globe staff JULY 13, 2018 Mrs. Phillips sought Fidel Castro’s help in securing documents of Ernest Hemingway. In an Alabama prison, one of her several far-flung outposts of compassion and creativity, Jenny Phillips recorded her conversations with lifers and death row inmates — those discarded in “the dustbin of humanity,” she would later say. Back home in Concord, she played the tapes as she drove, letting their voices fill her car and spark her imagination. “They wanted people to know their stories so they wouldn’t be forgotten,” Mrs. Phillips, who turned those initial encounters into an award-winning documentary, recalled a few years later, in 2008. “They also wanted their stories to somehow help other people. As well as a wish to be remembered, there’s a wish to be useful.” Drawn . . .

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House passes Peace Corps Health Legislation

  The National Peace Corps Association posted this news about the House of Representatives action on the Sam Farr and Nick Castle Peace Corps Reform Act of 2018.  It is good news, but the fight is not over. The Senate still has to act.  Here is NPCA’s article. https://www.peacecorpsconnect.org/articles/one-step-closer-house-passes-peace-corps-healthsafety-legislation “With praise for the mission of the Peace Corps and the work of its volunteers, and acknowledgement that more needs to be done to improve volunteer health care, safety and security, the House of Representatives unanimously passed Peace Corps health/safety legislation (H.R. 2259) late Tuesday afternoon. The revised House bill, renamed the “Sam Farr and Nick Castle Peace Corps Reform Act of 2018”, now goes back to the United States Senate for further consideration. Earlier this year, Senators unanimously passed its version of the legislation (S. 2286) introduced by Bob Corker (R-TN) and Dianne Feinstein (D-CA). The Senate can either approve the House version . . .

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Peace Corps Porn

The paperback jacket is torn. The wrinkled pages bent and stained. Still, the cover photo of the naked Peace Corps Volunteer is crystal clear and one exposed breast is bright in the sunlight of the camera flash. Beneath the woman’s breast, as if a yellow sticker has been tapped over her belly button, is a bold declaration. A REPRINT FROM THE BEST OF OUR ADULT NOVELS WHICH MAY HAVE BEEN PREVIOUSLY PUBLISHED UNDER ONE OR MORE DIFFERENT TITLES The novel is entitled Passion Delight, written by Frances Sibley. It is, the back cover says, a Body Talk Library book, published in 1985 by American Art Enterprises of California. A quick google search found the publisher, but no mention of Passion Delight, or where one might buy a copy. Perhaps this is a new title. Nor could I find out anything about “Frances Sibley”…..was she an RPCV in Senegal who set . . .

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Finding “Teranga” from Senegal to the streets of Paris by Carrie Knowlton (Senegal)

  Teranga by Carrie Knowlton (Senegal 1999-01) • You can fall in love with a person, but you can also fall in love with moments in time, the sounds of drums on the beach, and roosters crowing while women pound millet at dawn. You can fall in love with the way the Atlantic Ocean smells at sunset and the way all those things come together to become your memory of a place. After two and a half years living in Senegal while serving in the Peace Corps, I was smitten. Senegal is that bump that juts out into the Atlantic Ocean just below the Sahara desert on the western-most tip of Africa. There is a beach in the capital, Dakar, where you can sit and eat a plate of fish and rice, watch the sunset, and listen to drumming and the call to prayer. The country is 92% Muslim and French is . . .

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RPCV Who Served with Distinction in the Foreign Service (Ethiopia)

Recently, I have published a series of blog items on RPCVs who have fulfilled Kennedy’s wish that Returned Peace Corps Volunteers would join the State Department and become our future ambassadors and finally break the “pale, male & Yale” syndrome of the Foreign Service. I have now identified fifty-four RPCVs, men and women of all ethnic groups, who have become, as they are formally called, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary. RPCVs have also made significant contributions to the State Department in many ways  besides becoming ambassadors. One who did so is Tom Gallagher,  a Volunteer with me in Ethiopia from 1962-64. Gallagher was the youngest chief of a major diplomatic mission (US Consulate, Guayaquil), and was well on his way to an ambassadorial appointment when he made the decision to become the first civil servant in the world to publicly and voluntarily declare that he was a homosexual. Having done so, . . .

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