Kenya

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Review: BREVITE´ by Stephen Mustoe (Kenya)
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New books by Peace Corps writers — April 2016
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Christopher West Davis (Kenya) publishes AFRICAN WITCH
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Rereading Paul Theroux's (Malawi 1963-65) Girls At Play, Part III
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Rereading Paul Theroux's (Malawi 1963-65) Girls At Play, Part II
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Rereading Paul Theroux's (Malawi 1963-65) Girls At Play
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Better Remember This
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Wordrunner publishes THE OLD FEVER by Rick Gray (Kenya 1988-90)
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Moon Rocket
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Sandra M. Greenberg (Kenya 1966-68)

Review: BREVITE´ by Stephen Mustoe (Kenya)

  Brevité: A Collection of Short Fiction Stephen Mustoe (Kenya 1983–84) Peace Corps Writers May 2016 132 pages $7.95 (paperback) Reviewed by Jane Albritton (India 1967–69) • MEMORY IS THE CORNERSTONE of Stephen Mustoe’s first collection of short fiction: Brevité. Sometimes the memories seem like they rightly belong to the author, sometimes not. But even when the source remains unclear, the quality of remembrance remains present. As with any collection of short fiction, a reader is likely to come away from the experience with favorites. I have. Actually, I have two favorite sets of stories that stand out from the others: a pair featuring the irrepressible Uncle Woody, and a quartet of stories that draw on Mustoe’s experiences in Africa, both as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Kenya and on later return visits. In “Dogfish Blues” and “Blind Faith,” Mustoe introduces Woody, a veteran Navy flier who knew how to get . . .

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New books by Peace Corps writers — April 2016

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. See a book you’d like to review for Peace Corps Worldwide? — Send a note to peacecorpsworldwide@gmail.com, and we’ll send you a copy along with a few instructions.   Moon Colorado Camping: The Complete Guide to Tent and RV Camping (Travel) Joshua  Berman (Nicaragua 1998–2000) Avalon Travel Publishing April 2016 350 pages $19.99 (paperback) . • Blood Upon The Snow (A Novel of the American Revolution) Martin R. Ganzglass (Somalia 1966–68) A Peace Corps Writers Book March, 2016 344 pages $14.95 (paperback), $3.99 (Kindle) • Lips Open and Divine (poetry) Matthew A. Hamilton (Armenia 2006–08; Philippines 2008–10) Winter Goose Publishing April . . .

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Christopher West Davis (Kenya) publishes AFRICAN WITCH

Christopher West Davis (Kenya 1975-78) is a journalist who lived in Kenya and now lives and works in the New York City at the China Daily. He has written for the New York Times, the Washington Post, Reader’s Digest and other publications. In 2005, he was named Aerospace Journalist of the Year by the Royal Aeronautical Society (London). Katherine Stirling of The New Yorker called his previous book, Letters from Moritz Thomsen, “An utterly engrossing story… these marvelous letters and the attendant chronicle of the relationship that developed over their course is a story that is at once fascinating and quite moving, a hard balance to strike, in writing as in life.” Chris has a new book, a novel, entitled African Witch: A Modern Tale of Magical Harm. The write-up on Amazon for the book is: Kenya in its golden age, the safest, sexiest and most wildly popular playground in Africa. . . .

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Rereading Paul Theroux's (Malawi 1963-65) Girls At Play, Part III

What strikes me now rereading Girls At Play is how Theroux did not linger with prose on the beauty of Africa, as he has quite wonderfully uses his evocative skills in other books and essays. In those early books he does not wax and wane as RPCV writers tend to do (including myself) on descriptions of the landscape. In those three novels, he was more interested in the play of personalities in Africa than the lay of the land. Theroux’s third novel on Africa is Jungle Lovers which focuses on Malawi, looking at the changing political and social climate of the country. It came about because of what happened to him when he was teaching at the university in Kampala. “Jungle Lovers was the result of my departure from Africa,” Paul writes. “In 1968, after five years in Malawi and Uganda, my wife and I were attacked by rioting students . . .

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Rereading Paul Theroux's (Malawi 1963-65) Girls At Play, Part II

Theroux’s first novel Waldo was a picaresque story of a young man who became a success as a writer. It sold around 4000 copies, which was impressive for a first novel, but did not generate enough money for Theroux to quit his day job. His second novel Fong and the Indians, was the first of many “African books” and it was his first book (of many) that dealt with the complexities of a changing Africa. The protagonist was a bungling anti-hero, Sam Fong, a Chinese Catholic grocer. It, too, had limited sales and while it had good reviews, especially in England, it didn’t make any best seller lists. Then came Girls at Play a year later. Paul would write about writing Girls at Play: “My future wife taught at a girls’ school in Kenya. While I was writing (Fong and the Indians), I courted her by driving hundreds of miles . . .

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Rereading Paul Theroux's (Malawi 1963-65) Girls At Play

I have been working my way through a new collecting of short stories by Paul Theroux, Mr. Bones: Twenty Stories, which Houghton Mifflin Harcourt published this September. Only one of the stories (so far) relates to his time in Africa. It is entitled, “I’m the Meat, You’re the Knife.” It is the last story in the collection. (Writers–or perhaps their editors–) selected the best stories for the first and last ones in any collection. I first read Girls At Play in the late Sixties. This novel was his third. His first book was Waldo (1967), next three were set in Africa. Fong and the Indians (1968), Girls at Play (1969), and Jungle Lovers (1971).  At the time, I remember reviewers were saying Theroux was ‘writing too fast,’ that he should slow down his publishing. At the same time Saturday Review called Fong and the Indians “a small masterpiece.”  (If he . . .

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Better Remember This

by Meg Sullivan (Kenya 1992-94) This essay won the 1995 Moritz Thomsen Award for Best Short Work about the Peace Corps Experience. YOU’D BETTER REMEMBER THIS. Because people will ask you. Whether you want them to or not, they’ll ask you how Africa was. And though you won’t know where to start, you’re going to have to have something to tell them. A shrug of the shoulders and “Good” won’t be enough. So you’d better remember this. Open the parts of your mind you need, and work them over until you’ve got them just right. Then put what you know in a place the will be easy for you to get to. Deep, but not too deep. Just enough so that even though no one else can see it, you know it’s there, and you can see it and feel it, and you know it makes up part of who . . .

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Wordrunner publishes THE OLD FEVER by Rick Gray (Kenya 1988-90)

Wordrunner eChapbooks it is a quarterly online literary publication of fiction, poetry or memoir, usually a collection featuring one author, plus the occasional anthology.  They are trying to provide a launch for new works as well as encouragement to the authors, who are actually paid for their writing (albeit a token). They charge no fee for submissions. They can be reached at: www.echapbook.com/submissions.htm. Two Peace Corps memoirs were submitted to Wordrunner in 2012. Both were under consideration, but according to editor and publisher,  Jo-Anne Rosen, Rick Gray’s The Old Fever: A Memoir of Kenya was the more compelling of the two. The Old Fever is really about Kenya’s spell — the fever of the place that got into the author’s blood and never left, making a return to everything that came before impossible.  Let The Old Fever cast its spell over you at www.echapbook.com/memoir/gray, where hyperlinks to photos, videos and background articles have been added to enhance and deepen the . . .

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Moon Rocket

by Robert E. Gribbin (Kenya 1968–70) First published on the blog of PeaceCorpsWriters.org on February 13, 2007 • I SEE IT NOW IN MY MIND’S EYE — from my house in Songhor — wind blown tufts of light green sugar cane surging like a great sea on Kenya’s Kanu Plains to wash gently against the thousand foot heights of the Nandi Escarpment. Some thirty miles distant, Lake Victoria Nyanza glimmered in the late afternoon sun. The image is clear, yet complicated by the rush of other images, faces, smells, sounds – by the sheer exuberance of memories that so indelibly marked this time in my life. I was a Peace Corps Volunteer in Central Nyanza charged with supervising the construction of a rural water system designed to pipe potable water to 1200 farms on three government sponsored Settlement Sugar Schemes. I worked most closely with a group of eight men . . .

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Sandra M. Greenberg (Kenya 1966-68)

Monday, November 21 6:27 pm WHEN LES AND I WENT into the conference we were as discouraged as anybody – the preceding week was not at all a good one in terms of work – we had been told outright that money used for visual aids was money that should be spent on shows – which, of course, meant: no visual aids at all; no educational effort on our part; no fulfilling on one of the – or our – Peace Corps aims to help in education – that all we would have to show for our two years would be having done a bunch of shows, which we didn’t feel were all that important or necessary. We could only hope that we could get them to agree at the start of the next fiscal period that money should be set aside for VAs separate and apart from that used . . .

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