Richard Wiley (Korea 1967-69) is the Associate Director of the Black Mountain Institute at UNLV. The Black Mountain Institute  is an international literary center “dedicated to promoting discourse on today’s most pressing issues” and Wiley is author of the novels Soldiers In Hiding (winner of the PEN/Faulkner Award for best American fiction and reissued in 2007 by Hawthorne Books), Fools’ Gold, Festival for Three Thousand Maidens, Indigo, and Ahmed’s Revenge. His most recent novel, Commodore Perry’s Minstrel Show, was published by the new Michener Series at the University of Texas Press in 2007. Wiley has been teaching creative writing at  UNLV since 1989, and brought the Peace Corps Masters International Program in creative writing to the university in the mid-nineties.

Well, now he has arranged a wonderful evening of Peace Corps Writers in Las Vegas to celebrate the creation of the Peace Corps. This is another event to celebrate the 50 years of the Peace Corps that is being done without the help or cooperation of the Peace Corps or the National Peace Corps Association. Here are the participants and the focus of the evening.

“Writing the World: American Authors Looking Outward”
Beam Music Center Doc Rando Recital Hall
October 14, 2010 - 7:00pm

Peter Hessler was the The New Yorker’s correspondent in the People’s Republic of China, from 1996 to 2008. His first book, River Town: Two Years on the Yangtze, which recounts his experiences during two years in the Peace Corps, won the Kiriyama Prize and was short-listed for the Thomas Cook Travel Book Award. His second book, Oracle Bones, was a finalist for the 2006 National Book Award. His newest book, Country Driving: A Journey from Farm to Factory, a record of his journey from northern Chinese counties to the factory towns on southern China, appeared in 2010. His stories have been published in the Best American Travel Writing for 2001, 2004, and 2005.

Paul Theroux’s highly acclaimed novels include Picture Palace (winner of the Whitbread Prize for Fiction), Hotel Honolulu, My Other Life, Kowloon Tong, and The Mosquito Coast (adapted into a major motion picture). He has also published chronicles of his own travels by train throughout the world in renowned travel books, including Ghost Train to the Eastern Star, Dark Star Safari, Riding the Iron Rooster, The Great Railway Bazaar, The Old Patagonian Express, and The Happy Isles of Oceania. He lives in Hawaii and on Cape Cod.

Mary-Ann Tirone Smith is the author of eight novels, and co-author of a ninth. Her book Girls of Tender Age: A Memoir examines the murder of a classmate and her brother’s undiagnosed autism (both taboo subjects for discussion in the nineteen-fifties working-class neighborhood of her childhood); it was selected by Maureen Corrigan, of National Public Radio, as one of the best works of nonfiction of 2006, and has been widely read by discussion groups and book clubs. A former Peace Corps volunteer in Cameroon, Mary-Ann has taught fiction writing at Fairfield University and participated in writing seminars throughout the country, as well as in Ireland. Her book reviews have appeared in The New York Times, the Hartford Courant, the Boston Globe, and others. She lives in Connecticut.

Marnie Mueller is the author of three novels: Green Fires, partially based on her Peace Corps experiences in Ecuador; The Climate of the Country, set in Tule Lake Japanese American Segregation Camp where Mueller was born; and My Mother’s Island, set in her family’s Puerto Rico. Recipient of an American Book Award from the Before Columbus Foundation, her work has been singled out by Barnes and Noble “Discover Great New Writers,” the New York Times Book Review, and BookSense. Her current project is a non-fiction book, Triple Threat: The Life and Times of Mary Mon Toy Okada, about a Japanese-American showgirl interned during World War II.

[All BMI events are free and open to the public. Tickets are not required. For more information, email: blackmountaininstitute@unlv.edu or check out: http://www.blackmountaininstitute.org/