Literary Type

News of writers who have served in the Peace Corps.

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Which RPCV is the most successful Peace Corps writer?
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Tom Spanbauer’s I LOVED YOU MORE wins a "Lammy"
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Lenore Myka (Romania 1994-96) author of forthcoming King of the Gypsies
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Free e-version of UNDER CHAD’S SPELL by Michael Varga (Chad)
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Michael Varga (Chad 1977-79) wins Glimmer Train Fiction Award for June
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Wordrunner publishes THE OLD FEVER by Rick Gray (Kenya 1988-90)
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Kirkus gives COOPER’S PROMISE rave review
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Screenplay by Edmisten (Peru 1962-64) Finalist at Alaska International Film Festival

Which RPCV is the most successful Peace Corps writer?

Now that, I thought, would get everyone’s attention. What Peace Corps writer in the 54 years of the agency  has made the most money from his or her books, earned the most awards, sold the most books, had the most books on the New York Times Best Seller List, and had their book(s) made into movies? You pick your writer from this list. All winners will  win a special ‘Peace Corps’ prize (from me). Here are the candidates. Post your choice in the Comment Section of the blog and tell us why you think so….yes, you can google to get facts and figures. If I have missed any writer you think should be on this list, please let me know. jcoyneone@gmail.com The list. T. D. Allman (Nepal 1966-68) Lauri Anderson (Nigeria 1963-65) Ron Arias (Peru 1963-64) Jim Averbeck (Cameroon 1990-94) Bill Barich (Nigeria 1964-66) Donald Beil (Somalia 1964-66) Tom Bissell . . .

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Tom Spanbauer’s I LOVED YOU MORE wins a "Lammy"

27th Annual Lambda Literary Award Winners The winners of the 27th Annual Lambda Literary Awards (the “Lammys”) were announced on Sunday night in a gala ceremony hosted by comedienne Kate Clinton at Cooper Union in New York City. The Lambda ceremony brought together  over 550 attendees, sponsors, and celebrities to celebrate excellence in LGBT literature and 27 years of the groundbreaking literary awards. Lauren Patten of the hit Broadway show Fun Home and performer Toshi Reagon gave special performances.  Gloria Steinem introduced Rita Mae Brown, author of the classic, Rubyfruit Jungle, who received the Pioneer Award.  In a sign of the transgender coming of age, Casey Plett winner in the Transgender Fiction category for A Safe Girl to Love ended her acceptance speech with, “The transgender community is taking over!” Tony Valenzuela, Lambda Literary Foundation Executive Director, congratulated all the winners, including our Tom Spanbauer ( Kenya 1969-71) who won the Gay . . .

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Lenore Myka (Romania 1994-96) author of forthcoming King of the Gypsies

Lenore Myka (Romania 1994-96) is the author of King of the Gypsies: Stories, winner of the 2014 G.S. Sharat Chandra Prize for Short Fiction, which will be published by BkMk Press in Fall 2015. Her fiction has also been selected as distinguished by The Best American Short Stories and The Best American Non-Required Reading series. Her award-winning work has appeared in New England Review, Iowa Review, Alaska Quarterly Review, West Branch, Colorado Review Online, Booth Journal, and Massachusetts Review, among others. She received her MFA in Fiction from Warren Wilson College. Learn more about Lenore at www.lenoremyka.com. Lenore taught English in Romania and this book grew out of that experience. Lenore writes that the stories involve a gypsy boy victimized by Romania’s notorious state-run orphanage system flees, determined to reunite with the parents who abandoned him. A child prostitute cajoles her way into the heart of an American aid worker, risking their friendship for . . .

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Free e-version of UNDER CHAD’S SPELL by Michael Varga (Chad)

The Kindle edition of Under Chad’s Spell, a Peace Corps novel by Michael Varga (Chad 1977-79.), is available for free for a limited period of time at Amazon.com. The promotion will end without warning, so if you have an interest in having the Kindle edition of the book, now’s the time to download it. Under Chad’s Spell tells the story a group of Peace Corps Volunteers serving in Chad in the 1970s when civil war breaks out. To receive the Kindle version of Under Chad’s Spell from Amazon.com for no cost, click on the book cover or the bold book title.

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Michael Varga (Chad 1977-79) wins Glimmer Train Fiction Award for June

Glimmer Train June 2014 Fiction Open 1st Place Michael Varga receives $2,500 for short story “Chad Erupts in Strife.” After his tour in Chad, Michael Varga became a Foreign Service Officer serving primarily in the Middle East. He holds a Master’s degree in Economics from the University of Notre Dame and a Bachelor’s degree in English from Rider University. Michael is also playwright and actor. Three of his plays have been produced. “Collapsing into Zimbabwe,” a short story, earned him first prize in the competition sponsored by the Toronto Star. His columns have appeared in various newspapers and journals. This will be his first off-campus fiction in print. www.michaelvarga.com. Here’s what Mike has to say about his writing and himself, and the Peace Corps. I went to Chad in 1977 as a 21-year-old freshly minted college grad in the Peace Corps. Chad has been very much a part of my personal narrative . . .

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Wordrunner publishes THE OLD FEVER by Rick Gray (Kenya 1988-90)

Wordrunner eChapbooks it is a quarterly online literary publication of fiction, poetry or memoir, usually a collection featuring one author, plus the occasional anthology.  They are trying to provide a launch for new works as well as encouragement to the authors, who are actually paid for their writing (albeit a token). They charge no fee for submissions. They can be reached at: www.echapbook.com/submissions.htm. Two Peace Corps memoirs were submitted to Wordrunner in 2012. Both were under consideration, but according to editor and publisher,  Jo-Anne Rosen, Rick Gray’s The Old Fever: A Memoir of Kenya was the more compelling of the two. The Old Fever is really about Kenya’s spell — the fever of the place that got into the author’s blood and never left, making a return to everything that came before impossible.  Let The Old Fever cast its spell over you at www.echapbook.com/memoir/gray, where hyperlinks to photos, videos and background articles have been added to enhance and deepen the . . .

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Kirkus gives COOPER’S PROMISE rave review

Cooper’s Promise by Timothy Jay Smith (Program Consultant: Poland, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Russia, Ukraine and Armenia) iUniverse, $15.95 209 pages April, 2011 COOPER’S PROMISE (reviewed on July 15, 2012) In Smith’s debut novel, a former American soldier hiding out in a small African country can’t escape the ghosts of his past. Sgt. Cooper, an Army deserter, spends his days in Lalanga drinking cheap gin in a dive. He makes a promise to Lulay, a young girl who sells herself each night, to someday take her away. What little money Cooper makes comes from buying smuggled diamonds from a blind boy and his sister, and turning a meager profit at an Arab merchant’s shop. There, he meets the merchant’s son, Sadiq, with whom he becomes quickly enamored; he longs to accidentally run into him at a local hammam (a bathhouse and massage parlor). But Cooper’s life is confounded by a strange . . .

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Screenplay by Edmisten (Peru 1962-64) Finalist at Alaska International Film Festival

Patricia Taylor Edmisten (Peru 1962-64) won a finalist award in the Alaska International Film Festival (AIFF) competition for her screenplay Kennedy’s Children, based on her Peace Corps novel, The Mourning of Angels.  The Festival received several hundred submissions from over two dozen countries.   The AIFF is Alaska’s leading independent film and screenplay recognition platform and competition that awards innovative and diverse films that connect independent filmakers’ vision and the artistic process to the emerging global arts community.  Awards are presented to less than fifteen percent of total applicants.

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