Guatemala

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Review — IN THE LAND OF ETERNAL SPRING by Alan Howard
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“Nebaj Notes: Revisiting Peace Corps Guatemala” by Taylor Dibbert (Guatemala)
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Mark Walker (Guatemala) publishes DIFFERENT LATITUDES
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Ellen Urbani (Guatemala 1991-93) In D.C. and Virginia This Week
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Special Deal for RPCV Writers: West Virginia Writers' Workshop This Summer at West Virginia University
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Mark Brazaitis (Guatemala 1991-1993) Reading Saturday at Politics and Prose
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Summer Books From Two Fine RPCV Writers
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Mark Brazaitis (Guatemala 1991-93) Publishes Award Winning Short Story Collection
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Ellen Urbani (Guatemala 1991-92) To Publish New Novel Next August
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Review — MAYA 2012 by Joshua Berman (Nicaragua)

Review — IN THE LAND OF ETERNAL SPRING by Alan Howard

  In the Land of Eternal Spring by Alan Howard Harvard Square Editions June 2017 305 pages $22.95 (paperback) Reviewed by Mark Brazaitis (Guatemala, 1991-93) • If Ernest Hemingway had written a novel about the Guatemalan civil war — or la violencia, as it’s sometimes called — it might well have looked like In the Land of Eternal Spring. Alan Howard’s debut novel features an idealistic hero with a fondness for the ladies, Peter Franklin, and an alluring, brave, but dangerously naïve heroine, Laura Jenson. If you close your eyes slightly as you’re reading Howard’s book, you might think you’ve been transported to the Spain of the 1930s and into Hemingway’s For Whom the Bell Tolls. Robert Jordan, meet Peter Franklin — you’re soul brothers. Howard’s prose, sometimes effectively functional, often quietly poetic, is reminiscent of Hemingway’s. So, too, is his melancholic tone. This is all a compliment. Howard’s novel . . .

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“Nebaj Notes: Revisiting Peace Corps Guatemala” by Taylor Dibbert (Guatemala)

  Nebaj Notes: Revisiting Peace Corps Guatemala Taylor Dibbert (Guatemala 2006–08) — freelance writer • I RECENTLY DID ONE OF THOSE “security clearance” interviews. A friend of mine listed me as a reference; he had applied for a job with a certain U.S. government agency. I’d never done an interview like this. Minutes into the conversation, I’m reminded that I know a lot about this guy (the person whose background is being ‘checked’), which really shouldn’t come as a surprise. I’ve known this person since 2006; we lived in the same rural town in Guatemala – Nebaj – for two years. We were Peace Corps volunteers. The Peace Corps is an awesome journey. Yet it’s not something that one does alone. Lasting friendships are cultivated during those highs and lows. And some of the strongest relationships are formed in one’s “site.” In our case, rather uniquely, one of the members of our Nebaj . . .

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Mark Walker (Guatemala) publishes DIFFERENT LATITUDES

  SUMMER, 1971. A naïve young man must decide his path upon graduation from a small university in Colorado. Amidst the turmoil of the counterculture years and the looming possibility of being sent to Vietnam, he concludes that he wants to travel, serve, and, if possible, save the world. As a Peace Corps Volunteer Mark embarks on a vigorous cross cultural experience in a Caribbean and two Central American countries, with a final stop in one of the more isolated areas of the highlands of Guatemala. Though beset with a fear of the unknown and feelings of profound isolation due to being the only Volunteer in a remote village, he eventually gets to know and appreciate the people of the rural communities he is privileged to live among. After a near-death experience takes him to another part of Guatemala and eventually to a horse town, Mark meets the love of . . .

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Ellen Urbani (Guatemala 1991-93) In D.C. and Virginia This Week

Tuesday, Sept 15Thomas Balch Library, Reading/Discussion Subject: In addition to reading from Landfall, Ellen will be discussing her recent travels to New Orleans on the 10th anniversary of Katrina. Location: 208 W Market St, Leesburg, VA 20176 Time: 7 pm Wednesday, Sept 16Kramerbooks & Afterwords Cafe Reading/Discussion Subject: Listen to a bit of Landfall, talk about storms both public and personal, and then join Ellen for drinks afterwards at …. (you guessed it) … Afterwords Cafe. Location: 1517 Connecticut Avenue NW, Washington D.C. 20036, just above DuPont Circle (Q Street Metro exit) Time: 6:30 pm

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Special Deal for RPCV Writers: West Virginia Writers' Workshop This Summer at West Virginia University

Special Deal for RPCV Writers: West Virginia Writers’ Workshop This Summer at West Virginia University I received a note from Mark Brazaitis (Guatemala 1991-1993) saying that “Any Peace Corps-affiliated person who would like to attend the West Virginia Writers’ Workshop-a super deal at $350 for the four-day conference (July 16 to 19)-should email me about a Peace Corps discount!” Mark’s email address: Mark.Brazaitis@mail.wvu.edu and the Workshop’s Web site: http://english.wvu.edu/centers-projects/west-virginia-writers-workshop At the West Virginia Writers’ Workshop, you will: * Participate in an intimate workshop (in fiction, poetry, nonfiction, or screenwriting) in which your work will be critiqued gently and thoroughly by a nationally recognized writer as well as by your fellow workshop members. * Absorb valuable lessons on writing in craft talks given by nationally known authors. * Improve your writing through a series of exercises tailored to the craft talks. * Hear dynamic readings by nationally recognized authors. * Read your . . .

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Mark Brazaitis (Guatemala 1991-1993) Reading Saturday at Politics and Prose

TRUTH POKER BY MARK BRAZAITIS Saturday, June 6, 2015 at 1 p.m. Politics and Prose 5015 Connecticut Ave N W Washington D.C. A poet and an award-winning novelist (Julia and Rodrigo), Brazaitis was awarded the 2014 Autumn House Fiction Prize for his second collection of stories. Praised as “exquisite” and “innovative” by the judge, these pieces dramatize characters ranging from phantoms to faith healers to corrupt cops, and explore a rich emotional terrain of regret, guilt, and confusion.

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Summer Books From Two Fine RPCV Writers

Karl Luntta (Botswana 1978-80) A swimming pool in the Kalahari Desert, the ice skates of a boy in a wheelchair, and a midnight train ride in the cool African night form the backdrop of the eight diverse stories in Swimming. Some of the stories take place in Africa, others in the United States, but in all of them, the characters confront cultural and racial differences, both historically and in the present. In “A Virgin Twice,” an American teaching in Botswana struggles to understand a village’s response to a violent assault. In “Jeff Call Beth,” a white American father attempts to connect with the daughter he left behind in Africa. And in the title story, “Swimming,” a Danish expatriate dying of cancer decides to build an Olympic-sized swimming pool in the Kalahari Desert. All of these characters are clinging to emotional survival in a complex world, confronted by a moment or element . . .

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Mark Brazaitis (Guatemala 1991-93) Publishes Award Winning Short Story Collection

This month, Autumn House Press published Mark Brazaitis (1991-93) collection, Truth Poker: Stories that won its 2014 Fiction contest. Of his stories, Mark says, “Truth Poker is a collection of 15 stories whose outcomes hinge on how characters engage with a truth (about a situation, about themselves). In a crucial moment in their lives, will they tell the truth or conceal it? What will the consequences of their decisions be?” In the collection’s title piece, two boys play a real life version of truth poker. When a person loses a hand, he is required to answer his friend’s question. One of the boys, again the story’s main concern, has lost his mother and is living with his father. Through playing the game, he slowly finds connections between his mother’s suicide and his father’s relationship with an Ohio congressman. As it turns out, the boy’s playmate is the congressman’s nephew. Brazaitis’ . . .

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Ellen Urbani (Guatemala 1991-92) To Publish New Novel Next August

Ellen Urbani (Guatemala 1991-92) Ellen Urbani’s (Guatemala 1991-92) memoir, When I Was Elena was published in 2006 by The Permanent Press. It is her Peace Corps story of living in Guatemala. It is also her story of coming of age as young women in the guerrilla-infested mountains of Latin America. Her narrative is interlaced, chapter-by-chapter, with tales told from the perspectives of seven HCN women she meets in her tour. Now Ellen has returned with her second book. Next August, Forest Avenue Press, will publish her  novel, Landfall. It will be released on August 29, 2015, ten years to the day after Hurricane Katrina made landfall in New Orleans. A summary of the novel from Forest Avenue Press outlines the plot: In a car laden with supplies intended for hurricane victims, Rose and her mother catapult off the road onto the shoals of the Black Warrior River in Alabama, killing . . .

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Review — MAYA 2012 by Joshua Berman (Nicaragua)

Maya 2012: A Guide to Celebrations in Mexico, Guatemala, Belize and Honduras by Joshua Berman (Nicaragua 1998–2000) Moon Travel Guides 128 pages $7.99 (paperback) October 2011 Reviewed by Lawrence F. Lihosit (Honduras 1975–77) TRAVELERS WHO PLAN TO EXPLORE the Mayan world this coming year need this book! Even the seasoned trekker with a worn and patched backpack, creased boots, frayed hat and a passport bulging with extra pages will want to buy Maya 2012 before it’s sold out. It has it all: great maps, background information, descriptions of tours, transportation and discount hotels. It also contains conversion tables, an index, Mayan words and phrases, interesting interviews with important Mayan scholars and even a suggested reading list. This ain’t no guide to overpriced hotels and do-dads, but a book written for us serious wayfarers. For those with only a whiff of Mayan history, this book will convince you that the place . . .

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