Author - John Coyne

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Looking for an Editor to Help You Write Your Book? Check Out RPCV Chuck Lustig!
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The Peace Corps in the Time of Trump, Part 8
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The first class of MFA Creative Writing for PCVs and RPCVs at National University begins on April 10, 2017.
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Talking with Sabra Moore (Guinea)
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Review: NUNS, NAM & HENNA by Larry Berube (Morocco)
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Ron Arias Wetback Story Into film (Peru)
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Openings: A Memoir by Sabra Moore from the NYC Women’s Art Movement (Guinea)
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The Peace Corps in the Time of Trump, Part 7
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Talking with Larry Berube (Morocco)
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Dr. Joseph T. English, M.D. Peace Corps Shrink

Looking for an Editor to Help You Write Your Book? Check Out RPCV Chuck Lustig!

Chuck Lustig (Colombia, 1967-68) novelist, editor and an Iowa Writers’ Workshop MFA graduate. Some of his instructors at Iowa: John Irving, John Leggett and Gail Godwin. Currently finishing part one of his four-part Peace Corps hero saga entitled Charging the Jaguar (the story of a PCV turned Colombian drug lord), Chuck Lustig is available for: Writer’s coach therapy sessions by telephone or Skype: Tell me your writing challenges; let me listen and only then suggest possible options/solutions; Line-by-line edits of manuscripts; and Editorial critiques of Peace Corps novels and memoirs. Your immediate opportunity: Subscribe to Chuck Lustig’s monthly ExcitingWriting Advisory. Cost: Gratis. (Chuck has been bringing out a new issue of his newsletter every month for the past 15 years. Content also appears as a blog. For a number of years now, Chuck has been reviewing a different book about writing every month. For sample content, visit my blog at . . .

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The Peace Corps in the Time of Trump, Part 8

Carol Bellamy was nominated to be Peace Corps Director by Bill Clinton. The Senate confirmed her for the position on October 7, 1993. Leaving Bears Steams, where she was managing director, she was Peace Corps Director until May 1, 1995. President Clinton then nominated her to be head of UNICEF. One of Carol’s many claims to fame is that she is the first RPCV (Guatemala 1963-65) to be Director of the agency. How she got the appointing is an interesting and typical Washington story of how people get jobs in D.C. Maureen Orth (Columbia 1964-66) attending a Georgetown party shortly after Clinton was elected mentioned to the president-elect that the Peace Corps never had an RPCV director. Maureen told me, “Clinton’s eyes widened, hearing that news.” It was clear he understood he could be the one to nominate a ‘first” for the job.   Clinton also would nominate Chuck Baquet (Somalia 1965-67) . . .

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The first class of MFA Creative Writing for PCVs and RPCVs at National University begins on April 10, 2017.

The first class of MFA Creative Writing for PCVs and RPCVs at National University begins on April 10, 2017. This total online graduate degree program will begin with a seminar in Creative Nonfiction. Students write and critique each others’ original work in an online workshop-style format. Through presentation and critique of published and student-generated work, students will advance their understanding of the genre’s many forms, including memoir, autobiography, nature writing, literary journalism, and the personal essay. The course is being taught by novelist and nonfiction writer John Coyne (Ethiopia 1962-64). If interested in enrolling in this special MFA program, contact John Coyne at jcoyneone@gmail.com, or Frank Montesonti, Lead Faculty at National University at fmontesonti@nu.edu.

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Talking with Sabra Moore (Guinea)

Sabra Moore (Guinea 1964-66) an artist and activist before, during, and after her Peace Corps years has just published her memoir of twenty-two years in New York working as an artist and freelance photo editor. The book is entitled, Openings: A Memoir from the Women’s Art Movement, New York City 1970-1992. Her book also goes back to her Peace Corps years and her childhood in east Texas. I recently interviewed Sabra about her career, in and out of the Peace Corps, and her current life in Abiquiu, New Mexico. Sabra, what was your background before the Peace Corps?  I grew up in east Texas- my grandparents were farmers, my father organized for the Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers and was a railroad engineer for the Cotton Belt and my mother was a dedicated first-grade school teacher. I graduated from the University of Texas in Austin with a BA cum laude and studied in the liberal . . .

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Review: NUNS, NAM & HENNA by Larry Berube (Morocco)

  Nuns, Nam & Henna: A Memoir in Poetry and Prose Larry Berube (Morocco 1977-79) Peace Corps Writers Imprint January 2017 59 pages $5.99 (paperback), $1.99 (Kindle) Review by Leita Kaldi Davis (Senegal 1993-96) • In Nuns, Nam & Henna: A Memoir in Poetry and Prose, the two-page prologue is one of the most powerful openings I’ve ever read.  The author is six years old. His three sisters and mother are at the kitchen table when the father comes in and starts striking the mother in the face with a hammer! Shock and bedlam ensue, his mother screams to her son to get help, but he is paralyzed, and his sister instead runs for help.  This moment haunts him, perhaps for his whole life.  His mother could not forget it, as she brought it up whenever they got drunk together.  “Why didn’t you go get help?” “The unanswerable question finally stopped . . .

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Ron Arias Wetback Story Into film (Peru)

Los Angeles movie director A.P. Gonzalez will begin shooting a short film, “The Wetback,” as a prelude to an intended feature-length movie based on the celebrated novel, The Road To Tamazunchale, by Ron Arias (Peru, 1963-65). The short comes from the title story of Arias’ recently published collection, The Wetback And Other Stories, which focuses on a largely Latino neighborhood called Frogtown next to the L.A. River. As an example of the timely theme and style of the feature, the short will be entered in festivals and shown to prospective investors and producers to raise interest in the full-length movie project. “The short,” he says, “accurately reflects on the lives of immigrant and working-class Latinos in the U.S. It’s not a story about misery and poverty and other stereotypical notions of American Latinos; it’s about respect, compassion, humor and the magic in our culture. “I have cast the short with an . . .

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Openings: A Memoir by Sabra Moore from the NYC Women’s Art Movement (Guinea)

Openings is a memoir from the women’s art movement in New York City, from 1970 to 1992. It was written by Sabra Moore (Guinea 1964-66). After her Peace Corps tour, Sabra moved to New York City and became involved with the feminist art movement. She was president of the NYC/Women’s Caucus for Art, a key organizer of the 1984 demonstration against MoMA for excluding women and minority artists, a member of the Heresies Collective, an active member of Women Artists in Revolution and Women’s Action Coalition, and a leading organizer/creator of several large-scale women’s exhibitions in New York City, Brazil, Canada, and New Mexico. Her artistic and political involvement was showcased in the feature length film The Heretics (2011). Moore also worked for thirty years in NYC as a freelance photo editor for publishers such as Doubleday, Harper Collins, American Heritage, and Random House. Her most recent major solo show, Out of the Woods, . . .

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The Peace Corps in the Time of Trump, Part 7

Elaine Chao was appointed Peace Corps Director by President Bush on October 8, 1991. She resigned on November 13, 1992. I believe her thirteen months as Director is the shortest tour. When I interviewed her in her first months at the Peace Corps, she had already made one tour to Africa and sitting in her office she broke down in tears recalling how the PCVs were living overseas. This was first of many ‘teardowns’ she would have in speaking to RPCV groups. It became a standard joke and RPCVs began to laugh at her when she had her outbursts. Hey, this is the Peace Corps, what did you expect? Later I would learn on her first trip to West Africa and visiting a female volunteer living in a village and seeing how the young woman was dealing with life in the developing world, she burst out, “Does your mother know . . .

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Talking with Larry Berube (Morocco)

  Last month Larry Berube (Morocco 1977–79) published with Peace Corps Writers his memoir Nuns, Nam & Henna: A Memoir in Poetry and Prose.  The poems and prose are recollections from his boyhood experiences at St. Peter’s Orphanage in Manchester, New Hampshire, from the age six to twelve; his time as a young soldier in the U.S. Army with the 25th Infantry Division in Vietnam; and as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Morocco where he worked in small villages of the Middle Atlas Mountain region of Morocco on various water projects. We talked to Larry recently about his life and his new book. •   Larry, you were a PCV from ’77 to ’79. Where were you and what was your job? I was in Beni Mellal, Morocco, which was a provincial capital. But my work took me to small villages in the Middle Atlas mountain region. My job was leading a local government surveying team, which . . .

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Dr. Joseph T. English, M.D. Peace Corps Shrink

One of the famous Mad Men of the Peace Corps in the early years of the Peace Corps was the stoic Doctor Joseph English, a young MD and research fellow at the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) in Bethesda, Maryland. In 1961 when Shriver was putting together the Staff for the new agency, he came across a paper written about a student mental health center that English had established at his alma mater, Saint Joseph’s College. Sarge at the time was looking for a psychiatrist to evaluate new PCVs. As Joe recalls in a recent profile in The Chironian, a publication of the New York Medical College, where Dr. English is the Sidney E. Frank Distinguished Professor of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, he was in his office at the NIMH reading an article in the New York Times how JFK’s call for a New Frontier was exciting young people . . .

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