Archive - February 2009

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RPCV Writer from Belize
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New RPCV Book
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Light-Horse Harry Cooper
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Can the Peace Corps be far behind?
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David A. Taylor Writes "Soul of a People"

RPCV Writer from Belize

I’ve come across a novel (his first) by RPCV Barry Kitterman who was in Belize in the seventies that came out in May 2008 from Southern Methodist University Press entitled The Baker’s Boy. The novel is set in Central America and in middle Tennessee, and involves two intertwined stories. In the first, Tanner Johnson, nearing midlife, has left his pregnant wife and taken a job as a baker, working nights, trying to avoid a shadowy presence that haunts him from the past. In the second, Tanner relives his painful experiences as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Belize, where he taught at a boys’ reform school. Of the book, novelists Rick DeMarinis writes, “A strong and haunting debut novel by a fine writer.” Davide Bradley, who wrote The Chaneysville Incident, says the book reminds him of “expatriate novels like Graham Greene’s The Quiet American.” I’ve “read into it,” as book editors like to . . .

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New RPCV Book

About 20 years ago Efrem Sigel (Ivory Coast 1964–66) wrote me. He has been publishing short stories over the years, three of which were set in West Africa. He also raised a family, went to work, and kept thinking of writing a book. Well, he did and he his back with The Disappearance [Permanent Press 2/09] that right off the press received three excellent reviews in industry publications: a starred review and an interview in Publishers Weekly, Booklist (a key publication for libraries), and LibraryThing.com, a website for serious bookies. And it got an Indie Next Notable Book award from independent booksellers who belong to the American Booksellers Association. In the February 9, 2009, People Magazine review, Sue Corbett wrote: One idyllic summer day Joshua and Nathalie Sandler return from an errand in their Massachusetts hamlet to find their home empty. Their son Daniel, almost 14, has vanished. As anxious hours become hellish days and weeks, . . .

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Light-Horse Harry Cooper

Harry Cooper is in many ways the forgotten man of professional golf. He never won the Masters, the PGA or the U.S. Open. But for three decades, beginning in the Twenties, he played some of the best, and fastest, rounds of golf on the PGA Tour, winning more than 30 tournaments, culminating in 1937, when he won nine times and was both the leading money winner ($14,000) and winner of the Vardon Trophy for the best scoring average. Born in England in 1904, he moved when he was a child with his father, a golf pro, to Texas where he grew up to win the Texas PGA Championship in 1922 and 1923. His first big win, however, was the inaugural Los Angeles Open in 1926. It was here that he was nicknamed “Light-Horse” by the famous journalist and short story writer, Damon Runyon. Damon wrote that he needed a racehorse . . .

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Can the Peace Corps be far behind?

The President has just named on of his campaign advisors to be the director of Obama’s Faith-Based Initiatives. My guess is that within days the Peace Corps will have a new Director as Obama is moving on to making the second and third level appointments for his administration. My guess is the Peace Corps Director will be 1) a woman, 2) a minority, 3) someone from Chicago, 4) someone from Obama’s campaign, 5) a former PCV, 6) someone who has paid all his/her taxes! Let’s see how close I come. P. S. No, I have no idea who it will be.

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David A. Taylor Writes "Soul of a People"

David A. Taylor (Mauritania 1983–85) has a great new book Soul Of A People: The WPA Writers’ Project Uncovers Depression America published by Wiley and out this month. In light of the recent comparisons between our current recession and the Great Depression, this is a timely book for all writers. For those who don’t know, the WPA Writers’ Project set out to employ thousands of out-of-work journalists, novelists, poets, and ordinary citizens to document history. These writers produced some of the best stories of American life ever published. Among those writers were John Cheever, Studs Terkel, Richard Wright, Ralph Ellison, and Zora Neale Hurston. This year there will be a Smithsonian/Showtime television special on Soul of a People, and the American Library Association just announced that 30 libraries will recieve grants from the NEA for the Humanities to present outreach programs in connections with the book and documentary. David lives . . .

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