Literary Type

News of writers who have served in the Peace Corps.

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Frank Mankiewicz's (Staff 1961-65, DC & CD Peru) So As I Was Saying
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Cindy Goff (Central African Republic 1983-85) Tales from the Heart Comic Books
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Catherine Varchaver (APCD Kyrgyzstan 1995-97) Edits Her Grandmother’s Book on Fly Fishing
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Peggy Anderson, 77, author of bestseller NURSE, died Sunday, January 17, 2016
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Michael Varga’s (Chad) award winning story published in Glimmer Train
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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

Frank Mankiewicz's (Staff 1961-65, DC & CD Peru) So As I Was Saying

This February 16th Thomas Dunne Books will publish the memoir of the late Frank Mankiewicz, So As I Was Saying . . .: My Somewhat Eventful Life, written by Frank and Joel Swerdlow. The book tells the story of one of the very early Peace Corps staff members, the first CD in Peru, and later Latin America Regional Director who later went on to become Senator Robert Kennedy’s press secretary, as well as, for George McGovern, and who had a long career in media and politics. Much of what is written about in this book about his Peace Corps tour was first recounted in Coates Redmon’s Come As You Are published in 1986 by Harcourt Brace Jovanovich. What’s news here, at least to me, is the background involving Mankiewicz and LBJ during the Dominican Republic Invasion of 1965 when PCVs in-country were in almost unanimous support of the rebels opposing . . .

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Cindy Goff (Central African Republic 1983-85) Tales from the Heart Comic Books

Organizing my Peace Corps books to donate them to one of the academic Peace Corps collections, I came across 8 comic books that were co-written in the late ’80s and early ’90s by Cindy Goff (Central African Republic 1983-85) and Rafael Nieves. The comics were first published by Entropy Enterprises in Minnesota, then by Slave Labor Graphics, in San Jose, California. The co-authorship began, as the two explain in the first issue, because of their friendship. Cindy writes, “He [Rafael] got me hooked on comics early in our friendship. Why we are friends is hard to figure out. He grew up in a tough Puerto Rican neighborhood of Chicago; I in the lily-white suburbs of Minneapolis. He dislikes chatter and boisterousness, both of which I am accused of regularly. He dislikes chatter and boisterousness, both of which I am accused of regularly. He is quiet and serious and street smart, . . .

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Catherine Varchaver (APCD Kyrgyzstan 1995-97) Edits Her Grandmother’s Book on Fly Fishing

Maxine Atherton learned to fish with her father and attended the California School of Fine Arts (now the San Francisco Art Institute) where she met her future husband, John Atherton, the renowned painter and illustrator-and avid angler. After John’s untimely death in 1952 while fishing on the Miramichi in New Brunswick, Maxine embarked on an extended angling adventure in France and Spain that led to many more adventures over the next four decades. In 1962 Max published Every Sportsman’s Cookbook. She spent her last years writing in Manchester, Vermont, and died in January 1997. When she passed away, her granddaughter, Catherine Varchaver, (APCD Kyrgyzstan 1995-97) found a wrapped roll of manuscript pages that she had honed, one reviewer writes, “into this winsome yet powerful memoir” just published by Skyhorse Publishing and entitled, The Fly Fisher and the River. It is being released in conjunction with a reissue of The Fly and the Fish by . . .

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Peggy Anderson, 77, author of bestseller NURSE, died Sunday, January 17, 2016

Peggy Anderson (Togo 1962-64) who wrote a national best-seller about the life of a big-city hospital nurse, died Sunday, January 17, 2017. Ms. Anderson, a former Inquirer writer and copy editor, was in Penn Medicine’s hospice unit in Center City. She had been diagnosed with lung cancer nearly seven years ago. It went into remission, but returned last year and spread, said Mary Walton, a longtime friend. In 1978, Ms. Anderson achieved great success with her book Nurse: The True Story of Mary Benjamin, R.N. Ms. Anderson, whose mother was a nurse, spent two months trying to find someone who would best serve as the focus of her book. That person turned out to be Mary Fish, who was a head nurse at Pennsylvania Hospital. Fish agreed, but was skeptical that readers would care. “This book isn’t going to go anywhere,” she recalled thinking at the time. “Nobody is going to . . .

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Michael Varga’s (Chad) award winning story published in Glimmer Train

Michael Varga’s short story, “Chad Erupts in Strife,” which won the Fiction Open in 2014 from Glimmer Train Magazine [“harder to get into than Harvard”], is published in November (Issue #96) of the magazine). The story centers on how a Peace Corps Volunteer’s family reacts when word arrives in a cryptic newspaper article that war has broken out in Chad. Michael (Chad 1977–79) is a  Foreign Service Officer, playwright and actor, as well as a writer of fiction.  Three of his plays have been produced, and one published (Payable Upon Return).  His Peace Corps novel, Under Chad’s Spell, published by Peace Corps Writers, is available at Amazon.com.  For other works by Michael Varga, visit his website at www.michaelvarga.com.

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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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