Winner of the 2011 Paul Cowan Non-Fiction Award is Kevin G. Lowther (Sierra Leone 1963-65) author of The African-American Odyssey of John Kizell: A South Carolina Slave Returned to Fight the Slave Trade in His African Homeland.
Winners of the Peace Corps Writers Awards receive a certificate and small cash award.
Kevin Lowther served as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Sierra Leone (1963–65), teaching African and world history at West Africa’s oldest secondary school in Freetown. He spent the next six years with the Peace Corps in various capacities: trainer, campus recruiter, public information officer (in charge of a news service targeted at college students), desk officer for programs in Southern Africa and manager of an office to support volunteerism among former PCVs. He also was in charge of Volunteers to America — the “reverse” Peace Corps program-during its final year of operation.
In 1971, Lowther worked with C. Payne Lucas, then ending a decade with the Peace Corps, to establish Africare. After a seven-year hiatus as editorial page editor of The Keene (N. H.) Sentinel, Lowther rejoined the Africare staff as its representative in Zambia (1978–83). He later served as Africare’s regional director for Southern Africa (1984-2007), where he was responsible for development and relief projects in eight countries.
In addition to The African American Odyssey of John Kizell, he is co-author of Keeping Kennedy’s Promise (Westview Press, 1978, with C. Payne Lucas), which critiqued the first ten years of the Peace Corps. His op-eds on Africa and development have appeared in The Washington Post, The Christian Science Monitor, American Legacy, and other publications.
In 1976–77, he was selected with other mid-career journalists to a non-degree graduate program at the University of Michigan, where he studied racism in U. S. housing markets and began research which led — after many interruptions — to publication of this book on the slave trade and its impact on Sierra Leone.
Lowther is a 1963 graduate of Dartmouth College, where he majored in history. He is married to the former Patricia Mitchell, who served as a Peace Corps teacher in Turkey (1963–65).
Peace Corps Worldwide has published a review of The African-American Odyssey of John Kizell by Jeff Fearnside (Kazakhstan 2002–04).