Talking with Peter S. Rush Author of Wild World (Cameroon)

Peter Rush was in Cameroon from 1972-73 after graduating from Brown University with a BA in International Relations. He then earned a masters in Creative Writing from the University of Florida and has been a newspaper reporter, magazine editor, and a police officer. He is currently the CEO of a global management firm. We interviewed Peter received about his first novel.

Peter in the Cameroon

Peter, tell us a little bit about yourself and where you were in the Peace Corps. 

I went to Brown and served in the Peace Corps in 1972-73. I was assigned to a little village in northern Cameroon which in the present day has been impacted by the Boko Harum group from Nigeria. In fact, many of the villages in my area have been destroyed.

What was your assignment overseas?

I taught at a GEG school (College Enseignment General)- teaching English (ESL) because Cameroon is officially bilingual English and French as well as some science and math.

After the Peace Corps, what did you do?

After Peace Corps, I returned to graduate school at the University of Florida and began working in newspapers and magazines.

What is your novel Wild World all about?

Wild World is set in 1970 beginning with the killings at Kent State and how the moral ambivalence of the time shaped the individuals and the choices they made, It is a love story and a journey.  The protagonist decides to join the Providence Police to make an impact for the good. He becomes caught in the cross-currents of his college friends and life and the reality of being on the street.

This is your first novel?

Yes, my debut novel.

What’s the novel about?

It is a love story set amid the turmoil, passion, joys and venom of the seventies. The story is about a young couple’s struggle to do what is right in a morally ambiguous time.

Have you thought about writing anything about the Peace Corps and/or your experiences?

I managed to work in a little of my Peace Corps experience into this book. While I’m not ready for a memoir, I have written various sketches that might turn into a book.

What Peace Corps Writers have you read.

Mary-Ann Tirone Smith (Cameroon 1965-67) is a wonderful and prolific writer. We met through mutual friends after returning and she has been an inspiration to me on my writing dreams. I also read Paul Theroux and Tony D’Souza

What’s your next book about? Are you writing it now?

The book uses one of the characters in Wild World, the younger brother of the hero. He has taken the dark path into dealing drugs. He is the protagonist in my next novel tentatively called “The Golden Spoon.” I have a first draft but I do take time in rewriting so I hope it is ready next year.

Well, good luck on the rewrite and with Wild World and thanks for your time.

 

2 Comments

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  • I am looking forward to reading Wild World, and excited to see that a second novel is in the works. Those were indeed turbulent times, and I am sure Peter has done a remarkable job portraying the issues on all sides. I served with Peter in North Cameroon and share his sadness at the changes which have recently taken place thanks to Boko Haram.

  • I look forward to Peter’s memoir! I just finished my own memoir and first book “Different Latitudes” and its quite a journey. I didn’t have Peter’s background writing so he should be ready to roll. I also look forward to checking out “Wild World” as I’m working on an article about those “morally ambiguous” times–in my case I avoided going to Vietnam in 1971 just barely but turn up there 40+ years later as the CEO of Hagar which works with survivors of trafficking, so I’ve seen the country from a totally different perspective and have observed some of the best and the most degrading aspects of Vietnamese society. Although I enjoyed Ken Burn’s Vietnam documentary and the New York Times Vietnam blog, most of the stories are from the combatants perspective–how about those who rejected the war and were committed to promoting peace? I’m sure Peter will help us reflect on some of those issues.

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