Peace Corps Writers

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The 2017 Peace Corps Writers Awards Announced
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Do you want to earn your MFA ONLINE?
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The New Yorker Features George Packer (Togo 1982-83) Pieces From the Magazine
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Joshua Berman (Nicaragua 1998-2000) Publishes Crocodile Love: Travel Tales from an Extended Honeymoon
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Review: Uhuru Revisited by Ron Singer (Nigeria 1964-67)
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This article about Rajeev Goyal (Nepal 2001-03) Written by Peter Hessler (China 1996-98)
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John Coyne (Ethiopia 1962-64) Interviewed on SUVUDU.com
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Mark Wentling(Honduras 1967-69) Comments on Steven Radelet's (Western Samoa 1981-83) The Great Surge: The Ascent of the Developing World
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REVIEW: The Keys to the Congo by Irene Brammertz (Zaire 1988-90; Malawi 2011-12)
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New books by Peace Corps writers — November 2015

The 2017 Peace Corps Writers Awards Announced

  The 2017 Peace Corps Writers Awards for books published in 2016 were announced at the recent NPCA Conference. Marian Haley Beil and I were pleased and extremely fortunate to have Jane Albritton (India 1967-69) senior editor of four books of essays by RPCVs published by Travelers’ Tales/Solas House present the awards. Here are the 2017 Peace Corps Writers Award Winners. JC   For more about the awards and previous winners — CLICK • The Maria Thomas Fiction Award Judenstaat Simone Zelitch (Hungary 1991–93) Tor Books, June 2016 JUDENSTAAT IS A NOVEL of vast historical imagination — also a fantasy engendered from grief, from love, and from the devastating particulars of Europe’s 20th century tragedy. Simone Zelitch’s page-turning alternate history is the uncanny precision with which she has deftly transformed the threads of actual events into the stunning new fabric of her novel. Judenstaat raises profound questions about the cost of the Zionist . . .

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Do you want to earn your MFA ONLINE?

I am currently talking to several colleges and universities about developing an online Creative Writing MFA for Peace Corps PCVs and RPCV Writers. This degree could be obtainable within a year of your service–or while you are still overseas–you would have a MFA degree, and, I hope, a book, either a memoir or a novel before you finish your tour.  The time frame would be one or two years depending on your schedule. Are you interested? I am working with several non-profit accredited colleges that have MFA online programs so that you could obtain the degree while you are a PCV, or after your tour, wherever you are living in the world….if you have a computer handy. I would teach one of the writing courses, and other RPCV faculty would be involved, including several book editors I know. It would be friendly, ‘hands on,’ and approachable courses that focus on your . . .

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The New Yorker Features George Packer (Togo 1982-83) Pieces From the Magazine

A selection of stories from The New Yorker’s archive George Packer’s World In late 2008, George Packer drove around Florida, one of the places where the financial crisis began. He wanted to understand how the state had become the foreclosure capital of America, and what the “diagram of moral responsibility” looked like. It was shaped, he wrote in “The Ponzi State,” like an inverted pyramid, “with the lion’s share belonging to the banks, mortgage lenders, regulators, and politicians at the top.” The race to build more and more subdivisions-even when the people buying them clearly couldn’t afford them-was essentially a confidence game, with “everyone involved both being taken and taking someone else.” A George Packer piece, whether it is about the housing crisis or Silicon Valley, always provides readers with the rhetorical equivalent of a panoramic shot.These big-picture moments, however, are paired with intimate portraits of individual lives. In “The . . .

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Joshua Berman (Nicaragua 1998-2000) Publishes Crocodile Love: Travel Tales from an Extended Honeymoon

In 2005, Josh (Nicaragua 1998-2000) and his bride, Sutay Berman (The Gambia 1996-98), canceled their wedding reception, diverted the money to plane tickets, and applied to volunteer around the world. Crocodile Love: Travel Tales from an Extended Honeymoon brings the reader along to: Explore Sutay’s unique family legacy in Pakistan, opening many strange doors, Experience the world’s great religions through a traveler’s lens, Volunteer for three months on a tea plantation in India and for two months with Planned Parenthood Association of Ghana, Stride unannounced into the mud-hut Gambian village where Sutay had once lived as a Peace Corps Volunteer, ten years before. Crocodile Love was published by Tranquilo Travel Publishing Josh’s independent publishing platform based in Boulder, Colorado. Berman is a columnist for The Denver Post and author of five books with Avalon Travel Publishing, including Moon —  Nicaragua, Moon — Belize, and coming in April, Moon — Colorado . . .

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Review: Uhuru Revisited by Ron Singer (Nigeria 1964-67)

The following review, written by David Strain (Nigeria 1963–65), of Uhuru Revisited: Interviews with African Pro-Democracy Leaders by Ron Singer (Nigeria 1964–67) was first published in the Friends of Nigeria quarterly newsletter. • Readers of Ron Singer’s many articles in this quarterly over the years will be greatly interested in his 2011-2012 interviews with 18 African “pro-democracy leaders.” I should emphasize that the range of people who fall within this rubric is quite wide. For examples, Puleng Matsoeneng, who as a daughter of a rural farmer in South Africa, struggled even to obtain an education, has led the fight to bring teachers and education to rural farm children. Kan Dapaah, abandoned by his father, has proceeded through the efforts of his mother and mother’s village to a career in accounting which led to multiple head of ministry posts in the Ghanaian government – he now leads an anti-corruption non-governmental organization . . .

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This article about Rajeev Goyal (Nepal 2001-03) Written by Peter Hessler (China 1996-98)

David Remnick, editor of The New Yorker emailed this morning, December 20,2015, about The Business of Giving and remarks in his Introduction to a series of articles on ‘giving’ about Peter Hessler’s article on the Peace Corps, writing, “a volunteer in an eastern part of Nepal later becomes an expert fund-raiser for the organization, and within ten minutes at a dinner on Long Island raises eighteen thousand dollars.” That ‘volunteer’ was Rajeen Goyal (Nepal 2001-03). He then publishes (again) “Village Voice” an article written by Peter Hessler (China 1996-98) about Rajeen that appeared in the December 20, 2010 issue of The New Yorker. Here it is again, if you missed it the first time the piece was published. A Reporter at Large DECEMBER 20, 2010 ISSUE Village Voice The Peace Corps’s brightest hope. BY PETER HESSLER Rajeev Goyal in Namje, Nepal. Instead of introducing American values abroad, Goyal aims at the reverse. . . .

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John Coyne (Ethiopia 1962-64) Interviewed on SUVUDU.com

John Coyne interviewed by Matt Staggs on December 16, 2015 Sometimes you read a book and you just know it’s going to be a part of your life forever. John Coyne’s 1981 horror fantasy Hobgoblin was one of those books for me. It’s the story of Scott Gardiner, a teenager obsessed with “Hobgoblin”: a fantasy role-playing game inspired by Irish mythology. Scott already has a shaky grasp on reality, and after an unexpected tragedy strikes his family he begins to believe that the horrors of the game are real. I read Hobgoblin at just the right age: I was maybe 12 years-old and quite obsessed with Dungeons & Dragons. Like Scott, my home life wasn’t perfect and school was a complete nightmare. I didn’t have trouble distinguishing between reality and fantasy, but there were times when I would have given anything to slip away into a world of sorcerers and dragons. I saw some . . .

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Mark Wentling(Honduras 1967-69) Comments on Steven Radelet's (Western Samoa 1981-83) The Great Surge: The Ascent of the Developing World

Comments about The Great Surge: The Ascent of the Developing World by Steven Radelet (Samoa 1981–83) by Mark Wentling, December 15, 2015 • “Is the glass half-full or half-empty? Radelet’s ‘surge’ viewed from an African angle.” I enjoyed reading Dr. Radelet’s new book, The Great Surge. I applaud the efforts he and his team deployed to produce such an acclaimed book. I’m dazzled and enriched by all the information contained in this book to support his convincing argument that the number of poor people in the world today is less than at any previous time in history. It is difficult to review a book that quotes all pertinent sources and leaves no stone unturned. It appears that he has contacted everyone of any importance in academia about this critically important subject. Almost every sentence cites a key statistic or reference. His book is so chock full of facts and citations . . .

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REVIEW: The Keys to the Congo by Irene Brammertz (Zaire 1988-90; Malawi 2011-12)

The Keys to the Congo: and Further Travels: Memoir of a 2x Peace Corps Volunteer by Irene Brammertz (Zaire 1988-90; Malawi 2011-12) Self-published October 2015 207 pages $30.00 (hardcover), $8.99 (Kindle) Reviewed by Leita Kaldi Davis (Senegal 1993–96) • Irene Brammertz has written a diary type memoir, drawing on journals and letters she wrote and subsequently edited intermittently for ten years after her first service as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Zaire. When Irene was 70-years-old she returned to Africa as a Peace Corps Response Volunteer for nine months in Malawi. Then she participated in a mission trip to the Democratic Republic of Congo (formerly Zaire) in 2013, when she revisited the people and places she had left behind in 1990. In her memoir, Irene recalls all the tribulations of culture shock that every PCV experiences: It’s a wonder that anybody gets anything done to earn a living since it . . .

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New books by Peace Corps writers — November 2015

To purchase any of these books from Amazon.com, click on the book cover, the bold book title, or the publishing format you would like — and Peace Corps Worldwide, an Amazon Associate, will receive a small remittance that will help support the site and the annual Peace Corps Writers awards.   • The Keys to the Congo: and Further Travels: Memoir of a 2x Peace Corps Volunteer Irene Brammertz (Zaire 1988–90; Malawi 2011–12) Self-published October 2015 207 pages $30.00 (hardcover), $8.99 (Kindle) . • One of Windsor: The Untold Story of America’s First Witch Hanging (historical fiction) Beth M. Caruso (Thailand 1989–91); editor: Susanne Aspley (Thailand 1989–91) Lady Slipper Press October 2015 386 pages $17.95 (paperback); $9.99 (Kindle) • A Stone House in Pokhara and Other Tales (Peace Corps letters) Mike  Frame (Nepal 1962-66) Larchill Press 2011 250 pages $25.00 from Larchhill Press . • Mike’s Breakfast Cooking in Nepal . . .

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