Literary Type

News of writers who have served in the Peace Corps.

1
Reading and promoting Peace Corps writers
2
Who is Karin McQuillan? (Senegal)
3
VULGAR FAVORS by Maureen Orth(Colombia)
4
Another RPCV achieves another first (Kenya)
5
STORIES MAKE THE WORLD by Stephen Most (Peru)
6
“What Are You?” They Ask My Son by Michael Meyer (China)
7
WRITING ABROAD by Peter Chilson (Niger) published by University of Chicago Press
8
New book on Bobby Kennedy by Chris Matthews (Swaziland)
9
Michael Meyer’s (China) new book coming In October
10
Make Love Not War . . . Will Siegel (Ethiopia) writes Haight Ashbury novel

Reading and promoting Peace Corps writers

From John Coyne: In this age of technology where we have fewer and fewer books and everyone walks around town with their eyes glued to iPhones, it does us all good to promote the books written by RPCVs about their experiences as Volunteers and as travelers in the world. To promote the story of the Peace Corps through nonfiction, fiction and poetry is the central reason why Marian Haley Beil and I started Peace Corps Writers & Readers back in the Seventies and continue that mission today on this website. I also take any opportunity I can to write about RPCV books. As a parttime travel writer for a Westchester, New York newspaper, I just published a short piece about five travel books by former Volunteers hoping to encourage sales and spread their knowledge of foreign counties. I’d suggest if you have a favorite RPCV book, try and get it . . .

Read More

Who is Karin McQuillan? (Senegal)

Karin McQuillan (Senegal 1972) writes, I was looking for a new hobby to balance out my work as a psychotherapist. I was an avid mystery reader, and I had two subjects I very much wanted to write about – Africa and wildlife. I’d been in the Peace Corps, and just come back from a wildlife safari, which was a joyful experience, and thought it would be fun to put all those things together. My only problem was that I had never written anything and didn’t have a clue how to write a mystery – so first I had to learn how to write. I was in the Peace Corps in West Africa, and then went to Kenya three times on safari. I read hundreds of books on Africa – culture, history, wildlife, anthropology, fiction. And I subscribed to the Nairobi daily paper, to get detailed local color. As a result, . . .

Read More

VULGAR FAVORS by Maureen Orth(Colombia)

  American Crime Story: Author Maureen Orth On the “Fact-Based Reporting” of Her Book Vulgar Favors   Before Andrew Cunanan shot designer Gianni Versace on the front steps of his Miami home in July 1997, Vanity Fair contributor Maureen Orth (Colombia 1964-66) was already steeped in the mind of the serial killer. That murder is portrayed in the upcoming FX series American Crime Story: The Assassination of Gianni Versace, which is based on Orth’s book Vulgar Favors: Andrew Cunanan, Gianni Versace, and the Largest Failed Manhunt in U.S. History. At the time of the murder, Orth had spent two months reporting for Vanity Fair on Cunanan and the events that might have led to him to kill four other people before finally targeting Versace. Even before law enforcement announced that Cunanan was a suspect, Orth and the fact checkers at Vanity Fair had a hunch they knew exactly who had pulled the trigger at Ocean Drive. The full story at: https://www.vanityfair.com/hollywood/2018/01/still-watching-versace-episode-2-maureen-orth

Read More

Another RPCV achieves another first (Kenya)

Kristen Roupenian (Kenya 2003-05) is the author of the short story “Cat Person”  which became a viral phenomenon after appearing in The New Yorker this month. She just received a seven-figure book deal that  Deborah Treisman, The New Yorker’s fiction editor, commented, “We have not seen anything like that with fiction.” The story in The New Yorker, has become the magazine’s second most-read article in 2017.  Kristen’s collection, You Know You Want This is the first of a two-book deal that includes an untitled novel. In an interview on The New Yorker website, Kristen says, “I always wanted to be a writer, but I spent most of my twenties doing anything and everything else. I did the Peace Corps in Kenya, and I was a nanny for a while, and then I spent a long time in graduate school, studying African literature. It’s only in the past five years that I’ve really . . .

Read More

STORIES MAKE THE WORLD by Stephen Most (Peru)

  Stories Make the World: Reflections on Storytelling and the Art of the Documentary by Stephen Most (Peru 1965-67) Berghalin Books 288 pages June, 2017 $34.95 (paperback), $150.00 (hardcover) • Since the beginning of human history, stories have helped people make sense of their lives and their world. Today, an understanding of storytelling is invaluable as we seek to orient ourselves within a flood of raw information and an unprecedented variety of supposedly true accounts. In Stories Make the World, award-winning screenwriter Stephen Most offers a captivating, refreshingly heartfelt exploration of how documentary filmmakers and other storytellers come to understand their subjects and cast light on the world through their art. Drawing on the author’s decades of experience behind the scenes of television and film documentaries, this is an indispensable account of the principles and paradoxes that attend the quest to represent reality truthfully. Stephen Most (Peru 1965-67) is an author, playwright, . . .

Read More

“What Are You?” They Ask My Son by Michael Meyer (China)

  This Opinion piece appeared in The Wall Street Journal on Tuesday, October 31, 2017, written by Michael Meyer (China 1995-97). Michael teaches creative nonfiction at the University of Pittsburgh. His most recent book, just published by Bloomsbury, is The Road to Sleeping Dragon: Learning China from the Ground Up. — JC • “What Are You?” They Ask My Son At 5, he doesn’t quite understand what it means to be ‘biracial.’ ‘I’m a boy,’ he says.   My son is 5. He was born in Hong Kong and spent the past two years in Singapore. We returned to the U.S. so he could grow up here, and the culture shock has been minimal: Like his fellow kindergartners, Benji loves Legos and belting out “Let it Go.” Unlike them, he plays piano, which he learned in a Singapore preschool. Also unlike them, Benji is constantly asked: “What are you?” It’s a . . .

Read More

WRITING ABROAD by Peter Chilson (Niger) published by University of Chicago Press

  “Tell me all about your trip!” It’s a request that follows travelers as they head out into the world, and one of the first things they hear when they return. When we leave our homes to explore the wider world, we feel compelled to capture the experiences and bring the story home. But for those who don’t think of themselves as writers, putting experiences into words can be more stressful than inspirational. Writing Abroad: A Guide for Travelers is meant for travelers of all backgrounds and writing levels: a student embarking on overseas study; a retiree realizing a dream of seeing China; a Peace Corps worker in Kenya. All can benefit from documenting their adventures, whether on paper or online. Through practical advice and adaptable exercises, this guide will help travelers hone their observational skills, conduct research and interviews, choose an appropriate literary form, and incorporate photos and videos into . . .

Read More

New book on Bobby Kennedy by Chris Matthews (Swaziland)

  Amazon Has This To Say: With his bestselling biography Jack Kennedy, Chris Matthews shared a new look of one of America’s most beloved Presidents and the patriotic spirit that defined him. Now, with Bobby, Matthews returns with a gripping, in-depth, behind-the-scenes portrait of one of the great figures of the American twentieth century. Overlooked by his father, and overshadowed by his war-hero brother, Bobby Kennedy was the perpetual underdog. When he had the chance to become a naval officer like Jack, Bobby turned it down, choosing instead to join the Navy as a common sailor. It was a life-changing experience that led him to connect with voters from all walks of life: young or old, black or white, rich or poor. They were the people who turned out for him in his 1968 campaign. RFK would prove himself to be the rarest of politicians — both a pragmatist who knew how . . .

Read More

Michael Meyer’s (China) new book coming In October

  In 1995, at the age of twenty-three, Michael Meyer, after rejecting offers to go to seven other countries, was selected for the new China program and sent to a tiny town in Sichuan, China. Going there, he wrote Chinese words up and down his arms so he could hold conversations, and per a Communist dean’s orders, jumped into explaining to his students the Enlightenment, the stock market, and Beatles lyrics. Thus began his impassioned immersion into Chinese life. Michael has spent most of the last twenty years living and working on China’s urban and rural halves, learning to understand its people, culture, and conflicts as very few from the West ever have. His new book The Road to Sleeping Dragon chronicles the journey that he made to understand China. As he has done with his other books, Michael puts readers in his novice shoes, introducing them to a fascinating cast . . .

Read More

Make Love Not War . . . Will Siegel (Ethiopia) writes Haight Ashbury novel

  Will Siegel (Ethiopia 1962-64) went to San Francisco after his Peace Corps years and much of his new novel is set during the “summer of love” in Haight Ashbury. Peace Corps Writers will be publishing Will’s Last Journey Home — A Novel of the 1960s, next year. Here is a chapter from his forthcoming book. As Will describes it: This is a chapter about midway through my novel. Gil, the main character, returned from the Peace Corps in Ethiopia, is now in graduate school and after about a year and a half, (in the spring 1965) he brings his girlfriend, Suzanne, to meet his new hippie friends. He is trying to please them both, though he sometimes resents that the apartment, near the Haight Ashbury section of San Francisco was taken over by this hippie cohort of his roommate, Franco. There is another RPCV in the room, Busby, who has completely disavowed his Peace Corps . . .

Read More

Copyright © 2016. Peace Corps Worldwide.