Black Mountain Institute of the University of Nevada at Las Vegas is presenting Writing the World: American Authors Looking Outward, a panel discussion featuring four noted former Peace Corps volunteers. The  RPCV writers are: Peter Hessler (China 1996-98); Marnie Mueller (Ecuador 1963-65); Paul Theroux (Malawi 1963-65); and Mary-Ann Tirone Smith (Cameroon 1965-67).  The panel discussion is on the evening of October 14.

Peter Hessler was the The New Yorker’s correspondent in China from 1996 to 2008. His first book, River Town: Two Years on the Yangtze, recounts his experiences in the Peace Corps. His second, Oracle Bones, was a finalist for the National Book Award. His newest book, Country Driving: A Journey from Farm to Factory, is a record of his journey from northern Chinese counties to the factory towns on southern China.

Paul Theroux’s highly acclaimed novels include Picture Palace; Hotel Honolulu; My Other Life; Kowloon Tong; and The Mosquito Coast, which was made into a major motion picture. He has also published chronicles of his own travels by train throughout the world in renowned travel books, including Ghost Train to the Eastern Star; Dark Star Safari; Riding the Iron Rooster; The Great Railway Bazaar; The Old Patagonian Express; and The Happy Isles of Oceania.

Mary-Ann Tirone Smith is the author of eight novels, and co-author of a ninth. Her book Girls of Tender Age: A Memoir was selected by NPR’s Maureen Corrigan as one of the best works of nonfiction of 2006. A former Peace Corps volunteer in Cameroon, Mary-Ann has taught fiction writing and participated in writing seminars throughout the country.

Marnie Mueller is the author of three novels: Green Fires, partially based on her Peace Corps experiences in Ecuador; The Climate of the Country, set in Tule Lake Japanese American Segregation Camp where she was born; and My Mother’s Island, set in her family’s Puerto Rico.

There will be a reception honoring this writers in Doc Rando Recital Hall Lobby on Thursday, October 14, 2010. The panel discussion is from  7:00 to 8:30 p.m., also in Doc Rando Recital Hall. Call 702-895-5542 or email blackmountaininstitute@unlv.edu for more information.

The Associate Director of the Black Mountains Institute, who arranged this event, is Richard Wiley (Korea 1967-69). Wiley is the author of the novels Soldiers In Hiding (winner of the PEN/Faulkner Award for best American fiction and reissued in 2007 by Hawthorne Books), Fools’ Gold, Festival for Three Thousand Maidens, Indigo, and Ahmed’s Revenge. His most recent novel, Commodore Perry’s Minstrel Show, was published by the new Michener Series at the University of Texas Press in 2007. Wiley has been a member of the UNLV English Department faculty since 1989. Visit him at richardwileyauthor.com.