Literary Type

News of writers who have served in the Peace Corps.

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Leita Kaldi Davis wins Lillian Carter Award (Senegal)
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Poet John Robert “Jack” Mueller (India) dies in Grand Junction, Colorado
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EVERYTHING HAPPENS FOR THE BEST: a true 1960s love story (Ecuador)
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Writer Mark Brazaitis (Guatemala) turns political
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Peace Corps writers at AWP Conference
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Jason McFarland (China) publishes ANNOUNCING THE FEAST
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The rules for writing A Peace Corps book
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Charles Carrington Cox (Ecuador 1965-67; APCD/Peru, Brazil 1970-75) publishes first book
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PROVERBIAL LAUGHTER OF THE WORLD by Nicholas Hosel (Afghanistan)
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Paul Theroux in The NY Times (Malawi)

Leita Kaldi Davis wins Lillian Carter Award (Senegal)

  Leita Kaldi Davis wrote — The Lillian Carter Award is given to Peace Corps Volunteers who enter service over the age of 50, in honor of President Jimmy Carter’s mother, Lillian, who went to India with Peace Corps in her sixties. It is also awarded to Returned PCVs who continue the third goal of Peace Corps, “bringing the world home to America.” So, I’m thrilled to tell you that I have won this award! We’ll be going to Atlanta to the Carter Center May 10 to receive the award from the hands of President Jimmy Carter. I’m so happy to share this news with you. Leita Kaldi Davis (Senegal 1993-96) • Leita Kaldi Davis worked for the United Nations and UNESCO, for Tufts University Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy and Harvard University. She worked with Roma (Gypsies) for fifteen years, became a Peace Corps Volunteer in Senegal at . . .

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Poet John Robert “Jack” Mueller (India) dies in Grand Junction, Colorado

  Thanks for the ‘heads-up’ from Dan Campbell (El Salvador 1974-77) • John Robert “Jack” Mueller (PCV India), who taught poetry and sailing in New Orleans before gaining prominence among the post-Beat poets in the San Francisco Bay area, died of cancer Thursday in Grand Junction, Colorado. He was 74. Lawrence Ferlinghetti, renowned poet and co-founder of the landmark City Lights bookstore in San Francisco, said, “Jack Mueller is the biggest-hearted poet I have ever known.” Mueller published six collections of poems and two books of sketches, most notably “Amor Fati” (Lithic Press, 2013). A reviewer praised his approach to “almost exclusively cosmic questions — about mortality, love and our relationship to language.” He created art wherever he went, making sketches and short poems on bar napkins, coasters and index cards, according to his brother, Gordon “Nick” Mueller, president and CEO of the National World War II Museum in New Orleans. . . .

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EVERYTHING HAPPENS FOR THE BEST: a true 1960s love story (Ecuador)

  Thanks  to the ‘heads up’ from Dan Campbell (El Salvador 1974-77) • Author Philip R. Mitchell’s Everything Happens for the Best: A Cross-Cultural Romance During the Early Years of the Peace Corps is a 1960s Love Story. Recently published  Philip R. Mitchell (Ecuador 1964-66) Peace Corps memoir is the adventurous and romantic story of the author’s determination to service his country, his fateful encounter with the love of his life, and the lengths he would go to conquer the time and distance between them while he taught in Ecuador. Philip R. Mitchell’s tale details the courtship and passion of Phil and Beatriz, whose paths in life diverge for an agonizing two years before coming together once again.   • Everything Happens for the Best: A Cross-Cultural Romance During the Early Years of the Peace Corps Philip R. Mitchell (El Salvador 1964–66) Page Publishing, Inc. February 2017 $12.12 (paperback), $9.99 . . .

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Writer Mark Brazaitis (Guatemala) turns political

Contact: Mark Brazaitis Pronunciation: Braz-EYE-tis 304-276-8846 markbraz@yahoo.com www.markforwestvirginia.com   WVU English Professor Announces Candidacy for Morgantown City Council   February 6, 2017—Mark Brazaitis, a WVU English professor and the author of seven books, announced today he will run for a position on the Morgantown City Council from the sixth ward.   “We have a wonderful city,” Brazaitis said. “But we have challenges now and ahead, and we could be doing much better.”   Brazaitis is running on a campaign to protect and enhance Morgantown’s small- and medium-sized businesses, its parks, recreation areas, and green spaces, its roads and bridges, and its distinct neighborhoods, including downtown.   “We are a growing city, which presents obstacles as well as opportunities,” he said. “We must ensure that we grow in a smart, thoughtful way—a way that respects the health, safety, and prosperity of the people who live here, including families, as well as . . .

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Peace Corps writers at AWP Conference

  Crossing Borders, Spanning Genres RPCVs at the Associate Writers Program Conference presented a panel on Friday, February 10, 2017, where poets, journalists, and novelists shared their experiences as Peace Corps Volunteers. The panelists discuss how their service affected their writing, their relationship to literature, and their careers.  The panelists were: Peter Chilson (Niger 1985-87) got his MFA in creative writing from Pennsylvania State University in 1994 and teaches writing and literature at Washington State University. His essays, journalism and short stories have appeared in Foreign Policy, The American Scholar, The North American Review,  Audubon,  Ascent, Creative Nonfiction, Clackamas Literary Review, Gulf Coast, Rain City Review,  West Africa, North Dakota Quarterly and elsewhere. His reporting has been supported by a Fulbright grant and the Pulitzer Center for Crisis Reporting. His work has twice appeared in the Best American Travel Writing anthology (the 2003 and 2008 issues) and other collections of creative nonfiction. Chilson’s book Riding the Demon: On the Road in West Africa (University . . .

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Jason McFarland (China) publishes ANNOUNCING THE FEAST

  Jason McFarland (China 2012–14) taught at Zunyi Normal College in Guizhou, Western China and while there he learned Chinese and continued his academic career with the hope of pursuing post-doctoral research in Chinese liturgy after his tour, and before he returned to the US. An avid amateur chef, he also spent his free time learning to cook Sichuan cuisine, as well as learning to play the Chinese gourd flute and also dabbling in Chinese meditation techniques. His academic research interests include liturgical-theological method for the interpretation of non-textual primary sources, liturgical ecclesiology in light of contemporary modes of belonging, the intersection of liturgical studies with ritual studies and ethnomusicology, the dialectic tradition and creativity in liturgical praxis, and the function of liminal phases in religious ritual. Jason has an extensive background in liturgical music, holding undergraduate and postgraduate music degrees. Music is also the topic of his first book: . . .

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The rules for writing A Peace Corps book

There are no rules. And that is what is so great about writing a book. Bonnie Lee Black (Gabon 1996-98) a successful writer/editor/creative writing professor and RPCV, author of How To Cook a Crocodile: A Memoir with Recipes, sent me these wise words on how Peace Corps writers should go about the task of writing a book. Her list: Hopeful Peace Corps writers should take writing courses from reputable instructors to learn the basics and to have the opportunity to workshop their writing among peers. They should also read lots of good How-To books on the craft. There are a gazzillion of them out there. They should avoid at all costs: exclamation points, stereotyping, cliches, and all other proofs of lazy writing. They should plan on revising each chapter or piece at least ten times. Quality writing is all about revision. They should NOT confuse explicit, titillating, borderline-pornographic sex scenes . . .

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Charles Carrington Cox (Ecuador 1965-67; APCD/Peru, Brazil 1970-75) publishes first book

Charles Carrington Cox (Ecuador 1965-67) & APCD (Peru, Brazil 1970-75) who has worked over 50 years in development, living in 50 developing countries and the former Soviet Union and its satellites, retired in 2010 and has just published his first book, Uprooting Terrorism Everywhere.   This book proposes strategies and tactics to dismantle and ultimately destroy insurrectionist movements and genocidal dictators and presidents for life. The approaches to achieve these objectives are presented in the first chapter. ISIS, al-Qaeda, Taliban, Boko Haram and offshoots of these movements are targeted. The proposed dethroning of murderous dictators is complicated but feasible. The author condemns leaders who played the tragic zero sum game – “my way or we fight to the death” to topple governments or militarily carve out autonomous regions. Many lost the game, but meanwhile their horrendous agendas cost hundreds of millions of lives. A strong thumbs down is given to . . .

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PROVERBIAL LAUGHTER OF THE WORLD by Nicholas Hosel (Afghanistan)

Nicholas Hoesl is an RPCV from Afghanistan (1965–67), a community pharmacist, toastmaster, national keynote speaker, columnist, broadcaster, lecturer, and global volunteer. He has recently published his fourth book, which is about host country sayings. The book is entitled: Proverbial Laughter of the World: Afghanistan to Zimbabwe On his website The Laughter Doc he writes: Laughter is the universal language. For thousands of years proverbs with laughter have remained a joyful part of communication. From countries all over the globe, including the rich cultures of Africa, Arabia, Persia and Native America, Proverbial Laughter takes popular proverbs and turns them into tidbits of contemporary wit, wisdom and laughter. All the world’s a stage. Western culture says, “Know yourself.” The Eastern says, “Become yourself.” The world is ready for a meeting of these two in Proverbial Laughter of the World.  

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Paul Theroux in The NY Times (Malawi)

  Pardon the American Taliban By PAUL THEROUX NY Times, OCT. 22, 2016 In the mid-1960s a young American teacher in a small central African country became involved with a group of political rebels — former government ministers mostly — who had been active in the struggle for independence. They had fallen out with the authoritarian prime minister, objecting to his dictatorial style. The country was newly independent, hardly a year old. The men advocated democratic elections and feared that the prime minister would declare himself leader for life in a one-party state. Fluent in the local language, obscure because he was a teacher in a bush school, and easily able to travel in and out of the country on his United States passport, the American performed various favors for the rebels, small rescues for their families, money transfers, and in one effort drove a car over 2,000 miles on back . . .

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