Literary Type

News of writers who have served in the Peace Corps.

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DRAGONFLY NOTES by Anne Panning (Philippines)
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THE GIRL IN THE GLYPHS finalist in Multicultural Fiction 2018 International Book Awards
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Mark Walker makes video about Different Latitudes: My Life in the Peace Corps and Beyond (Guatemala)
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OUR WOMAN IN HAVANA published by Vicki Huddleston (Peru)
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Peter Hessler (China) writes on the Egyptian revolution and raising twins on the Nile
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The “Cat Person” is an RPCV (Kenya)
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Why Paul Theroux Loves Cape Cod (Malawi)
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Talking China with Michael Meyer
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FIRST, YOU GET PISSED by Mary-Ann Tirone Smith (Cameroon)
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Mike Tidwell remembers Moritz Thomsen (Ecuador)

DRAGONFLY NOTES by Anne Panning (Philippines)

  Dragonfly Notes: On Distance and Loss, a memoir by Anne Panning (Philippines 1988-90) will be published in September 2018 • When a seemingly routine medical procedure results in her mother’s premature death, Anne Panning is left reeling. In her first full-length memoir, the celebrated essayist draws on decades of memory and experience as she pieces together the hard truths about her own past and her mother’s. We follow Panning’s winding path from rural Minnesota to the riverbanks of Vietnam’s Mekong Delta and all the way back again–a stark, poignant tale of two women deeply connected, yet somehow forever apart. Dragonfly Notes is a testament to the prevailing nature of love, whether in the form of a rediscovered note, a sudden moment of unexpected recall, or sometimes, simply, the sight a dragonfly flitting past. • Anne Panning (Philippines 1988-90) is a celebrated prose writer. Her second collection, Super America (University of Georgia Press, . . .

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THE GIRL IN THE GLYPHS finalist in Multicultural Fiction 2018 International Book Awards

  The Girl in the Glyphs (Peace Corps Writers, 2016) by David C. Edmonds (Chile 1963–65), and co-authored with his late wife, Maria Nieves Edmonds, is an award-winning finalist in the Multicultural Fiction category of the 2018 International Book Awards. Glyphs was also the recipient of a 2016 first place literary award from the International Latino Book Awards, first place Royal Palm Literary Award of the Florida Writers Association (FWA) and a silver (2017) from the Florida Authors and Publishers Association (FAPA). Edmonds’ prequel to Glyphs, The Heretic of Granada, about a priest on the run from the Inquisition, was just published by Southern Yellow Pine Publishers. It is available at Amazon or Barnes & Nobles. • The Girl in the Glyphs: A Novel David C. Edmonds (Chile 1963–65) and Maria Nieves Edmonds A Peace Corps Writers Book January 5, 2016 354 pages $12.99 paperback; $4.99 Kindle  

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Mark Walker makes video about Different Latitudes: My Life in the Peace Corps and Beyond (Guatemala)

  “The Making of  Different Latitudes” is a 3:30 minute video of Mark  talking about his Peace Corps book, published by Peace Corps Writers last year. His son was the cameraman, an RPCV, Hal Rifken, directed the video, and a local t.v. producer, Donald Griffith, edited it. Watch:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DZmJhe-E9rc&feature=youtu.be • Different Latitudes: My Life in the Peace Corps and Beyond by Mark D. Walker (Guatemala 1971–73) Peace Corps Writers April 2017 332 pages $18.00 (paperback)    

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OUR WOMAN IN HAVANA published by Vicki Huddleston (Peru)

[Not a Review} Our Woman in Havana chronicles the past several decades of U.S.-Cuba relations from the bird’s-eye view of State Department veteran and longtime Cuba hand Vicki Huddleston, our top diplomat on the ground in Havana under Presidents Clinton and George W. Bush. After the U.S. embassy in Havana was closed in 1961, relations between the countries ground to a halt. In 1977, the U.S. established the U.S. Interests Section to serve as a de facto embassy. Ambassador Huddleston’s spirited and compelling memoir about her time as a diplomat in Havana and beyond takes the reader through some of the most tense and dramatic years of Castro’s Cuba, from her first days going face-to-face with Fidel Castro, pressing to improve relations and allow hundreds of thousands of Americans to visit Cuba, to the present day, as she peers forward to the future of the relationship. She writes incisively about the . . .

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Peter Hessler (China) writes on the Egyptian revolution and raising twins on the Nile

  Peter Hessler’s essay “Morsi the Cat” appears in the May 7, 2018 issue of The New Yorker. The subtitle of the essay is “Making a home in Cario during a revolution.” Peter and his wife Leslie and their newly born twin daughters, Natasha and Ariel, spent five years living in Cairo. As new parents, daily they had to deal with and worry about raising their twins while living through a revolution. They were also confronted (as all cat owners are) with the daily antics of their household pet, Morsi, named after Mohamed Morsi, a leader of the Muslim Brotherhood and president of Egypt.  The Hesslers had adopted the cat to rid their Cariro apartment of invading mice, living as they were in a first floor apartment in Zamalek, a neighborhood on a long, thin island in the middle of the Nile. While in Egypt, Peter wrote pieces for The . . .

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The “Cat Person” is an RPCV (Kenya)

  Thanks to a “heads up” from NPCA’s Worldview Magazine and Peter Deekle (Iran 1968-70) I’ve learned that writer Kristen Roupenian (Kenya 2003-05) is a Peace Corps writer. Kristen’s story “Cat Person” in The New Yorker [December 11, 2017] about online dating was the weekly magazine’s second-most-read story of 2017. Also Scout Press has paid a reported seven figures for the rights to two works by Roupenian. The first is a collection of stories, You Know You Want This that is scheduled for release in the spring of 2019. In Worldview article on the achievements of RPCVs, Peter Deekle writes that as a PCV Kristen taught public health and HIV education at an orphan’s center a few hours from the Ugandan border, then worked as a teacher’s aide and a cashier in a bookstore before earning a Master’s degree in English at Harvard. Next she devoted five years to full-time writing. Today . . .

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Why Paul Theroux Loves Cape Cod (Malawi)

  Thanks for the ‘Heads Up’ from Mark D. Walker (Guatemala 1971–73) Q & A in The New York Times, April 16, 2018 — JCoyne • Why Paul Theroux Loves Cape Cod By Dave Seminara, New York Times As a child, the author was taken with the sunshine and beaches. He now spends every summer there because “nothing ever changes.”   For 50 years, Paul Theroux’s addictive novels and brutally honest travel narratives have inspired readers to leave home, travel slow and with a purpose beyond sightseeing. His versatility and boundless curiosity shine in Figures in a Landscape, a new collection of essays (to be published on May 8), and in his latest autobiographical novel, Mother Land (which will be published in paperback on May 1), where Mr. Theroux takes readers to his beloved Cape Cod and deep inside the Machiavellian world of a large, dysfunctional family run by a scheming matriarch. It’s a deeply revealing . . .

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Talking China with Michael Meyer

   In the March/April issue of The Writer’s Chronicle I published this interview with Michael Meyer (China 1995-97) about his China books. Michael is one of what I call the “China Gang” who in the late ’90s went to China with the first groups of PCVs and wrote books about their host country. The RPCVs are, besides Meyer, Craig Simons (China 1996-98), Rob Schmitz (China 1996-98), and Peter Hessler (China 1996-98). — John Coyne   Michael Meyer is a recipient of the Whiting Writers Award, a Guggenheim Fellowship, a National Endowment for the Humanities Public Scholar award, and a two-time winner of a Lowell Thomas Award for travel writing. His stories have appeared in The New York Times, Time, Smithsonian, Slate, the Financial Times and [on] This American Life. He has also had residencies at the New York Public Library’s Cullman Center for Scholars and Writers and the Rockefeller Foundation’s Bellagio Center in Italy. He is a current fellow . . .

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FIRST, YOU GET PISSED by Mary-Ann Tirone Smith (Cameroon)

  To read Chapter One of Mary-Ann Tirone Smith’s (Cameroon 1965-67) new memoir, First, You Get Pissed, go to her home page mary-anntironesmith.com. Consecutive chapters will appear weekly, every Sunday, along with a link to the previous chapters. Comments are welcome by Mary-Ann and might even evolve into a new spin on a book discussion group. Mary-Ann’s second novel, Lament For A Silver-Eyed Woman, published in 1987, was the first novel written by an RPCV about the Peace Corps. Back in 2012 I asked Mary-Ann how she first got published and she told me — When I finished my second novel,  The Book of Phoebe (the first was really bad), I could not get an agent because I hadn’t been published, and of course, I couldn’t get published because I didn’t have an agent.  Catch-22. Then I read an interview in my local paper with a writer who mentioned that her editor was Kate . . .

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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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