Archive - September 2009

1
Peace Corps Signed Into Law 9/22/1961
2
Looking For An Agent? The “A” List
3
Review: Martha Egan's Collection Of New Mexico Stories
4
New Blog: Remembering the '70s
5
Theroux Publishes Another African Story
6
National Journal Interviews Peace Corps Director
7
Gabon RPCV Jack Godwin Wins Fourth Fulbright
8
What Did You Read In The Peace Corps, Mommy?
9
Writers Off The Grid
10
Mali RPCV Writes Interactive Narrative Game Of His Peace Corps Story

Peace Corps Signed Into Law 9/22/1961

This morning on NPR Garrison Keillor, as a part of his writer’s almanac series, honored Peace Corps and read part of Kennedy’s speech in Ann Arbor, MI.  Click the link here for the text or option to download the audio. http://writersalmanac.publicradio.org/ Kennedy first spoke about the idea of a Peace Corps in his final weeks of campaigning for the presidency. At 2 a.m. on October 14, 1960, after a long day of campaigning, the young senator stood on the steps in front of the student union at the University of Michigan. The journalists had gone home, thinking that nothing more would happen that day, but 10,000 students remained, hoping to see and hear Kennedy. He gave a short speech, in which he said: “I think in many ways it is the most important campaign since 1933, mostly because of the problems which press upon the United States, and the opportunities . . .

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Looking For An Agent? The “A” List

Over the next month or so, I’m going to post a list of literary agents who you might contact with your book proposals, finished manuscripts, etc. Agents get a lot of proposals, often as many as 100 emails or letters a week. It is important–for you!–to present yourself in a serious way, without overwhelming them. They will simply disregard your email or letter. Study the agency before you email them. Make sure they are representing a type of book you have written. I have added to each address the agents’ areas of interest. Good luck. (p.s. The “B” list is forthcoming.)  Abel, Carole CAROLE ABEL LITERARY AGENCY 160 West 87th St. New York, NY 10024 Parenting, Health (212) 724-1168 caroleabel@aol.com Abou, Stephanie JOY HARRIS LITERARY AGENCY, INC. 156 Fifth Avenue, Suite 617 New York, NY 10010 General Fiction (212)924-6269 stephanie@globallit.com www.globallit.com Adams, Tracey Adam’s Literacy 7845 Colony Road, C4 #215 Charlotte, NC . . .

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Review: Martha Egan's Collection Of New Mexico Stories

Leita Kaldi Davis worked for the United Nations, UNESCO, Tufts’ Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy and Harvard University. She worked with Roma (Gypsies) for fifteen years, became a Peace Corps Volunteer in Senegal at the age of fifty-five, then went on to work for the Albert Schweitzer Hospital in Haiti for five years. She retired in Florida in 2002. Davis has written a memoir of Senegal, Roller Skating in the Desert, and is working on a memoir of Haiti. Here she reviews a collection of New Mexico stories by Martha Egan (Venezuela 1967–69). • La Ranfla and Other New Mexico Stories by Martha Egan (Venezuela 1967–69) Papalote Press September 2009 208 pages $24. 95 Reviewed by Leita Kaldi Davis (Senegal 1993–96) The themes of Martha Egan’s stories are broken-down vehicles (la ranfla means jalopy), unlikely destinations (Los Lopez, population 58), women who follow their dreams (a veterinarian, a silversmith) . . .

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New Blog: Remembering the '70s

[Coming soon on this website will be a new blog by David Searles, Remember the ’70s, as we fill in some missing years in the history of the Peace Corps. David is the author of one of the important books on the  agency,The Peace Corps Experience.   Welcome, David! We look forward to your stories and observations.] P. David Searles served three years as the Country Director for the Peace Corps in the Philippines (1971-74), and two years at Peace Corps headquarters as Regional Director for North Africa, Near East, Asia, and Pacific (NANEAP) and as Deputy Director under John Dellenback (1974-76). His career has included periods during which he worked in international business, government service and education. After service in the United States Marine Corps (1955-58) Searles worked in consumer goods marketing and in general management positions in the United States, the United Kingdom, Canada and Latin America. His business career was . . .

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Theroux Publishes Another African Story

The September 14, 2009 issue of  The New Yorker has a long short story by Paul Theroux (Malawi 1963-65) entitled, “The Lower River.”  The story is set in Malawi. A ‘volunteer’ at sixty returns to Africa. In the story, the narrator  wondered “if the people of Malabo might still remember what he had done there.” Theroux’s next novel is entitled, A Dead Hand. In it  Theroux returns to India with “a stylish and gripping novel of crime and obsession in Calcutta.” This is a novel that is being billed as “a dark and twisted narrative of obsession and need.”…. When Jerry Delfont, a travel writer with writer’s block, receives a letter from a captivating and seductive American philanthropist with news of a scandal involving an Indian friend of her son’s, he is sufficiently intrigued to pursue the story. Who is the boy found on the floor of a cheap hotel . . .

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National Journal Interviews Peace Corps Director

As the Peace Corps approaches its 50th anniversary, the service program is at something of a crossroads. The agency never fulfilled President Kennedy‘s dream of sending 100,000 Americans abroad every year, and it has been criticized for parachuting too many inexperienced college grads into development jobs they aren’t prepared for. But friends in Congress have secured a 10 percent budget increase for the Peace Corps, and some of the agency’s boosters are hoping for more soon. Enter Aaron Williams, a volunteer in the Caribbean in the late-1960s who has now returned to lead the agency. He spoke to NationalJournal.com’s David Gauvey Herbert about putting a price tag on the Peace Corps experience, the dangers of tying the agency too closely to American foreign policy and his own experience in the Dominican Republic. NJ: You served in the Peace Corps in the Dominican Republic from 1967 to 1970. What doors did . . .

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Gabon RPCV Jack Godwin Wins Fourth Fulbright

Jack Godwin (Gabon 1982-84), who recently published Clintonomics, is off to Swansea University of Wales this spring for three weeks of lecturing on a Fulbright grant.  Jack will be speaking about his new book and meeting with officials of the local Welsh Assembly government to discuss international trade and economic development issues, as well as recruit Swansea students to study in California in conjunction with Sac State’s Global Education foreign exchange program.  Jack is the chief international officer and director of the Office of Global Education at Sac State.  His book, he says, “is a political science book, despite the name. It’s a book about the political economy. I compare Clinton’s and Reagan’s governing philosophies relative to the challenges we face in the global era.” This is Godwin’s fourth Fulbright and his last one.  “I am honored but I am also really disappointed because there’s a law, there’s a rule, . . .

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What Did You Read In The Peace Corps, Mommy?

Tina Thuermer (Zaire 1973-75) grew up in India, Africa and Germany, and was at the airport in Ghana in 1961, aged 10, to greet the first Volunteers who arrived to serve there.  That inspired her to join the Peace Corps after she finished college at Bard. She served as a PCV English teacher at a Protestant mission in Zaire after only  two weeks of pedagogical training. Today, Tina teaches journalism and Theory of Knowledge at the Washington International School in Washington D.C. and is considering rejoining the Peace Corps when she retires, assuming she can ever afford to retire. Having read about PCVs and what they are reading (or read) on this website, Tina sent me the following account of  her reading time in Zaire, back in the day.  One of the wonderful things about being in Peace Corps back in the day was that without the internet, a phone, TV, or even mail, one . . .

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Writers Off The Grid

PCVs and RPCVs going ‘off the grid’ (where electricity is either missing, or sporadic) will be interested in this gizmo, the ‘NEO Writer’. NEO is the modern equivalent of a light-weight portable typewriter that is easy to pack around (less than 2 pounds) and runs seemingly forever on 3 AA batteries. Better yet, after returning ‘to the grid’ you can download your writing to your PC in seconds and get on with editing, blogging, or emailing it off to your editor or to the folks at home. Since many RPCV writers need something quick, light and easy to pack around where computers fear to go, Don Messerschmidt (Nepal 1963–65) thought that his account of “Neo and Me” would interest you. Bear in mind, however, that it cannot distract you with access the Internet (which is nice, sometimes!). This article was originally published in the June 2009 issue of ECS Nepal . . .

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Mali RPCV Writes Interactive Narrative Game Of His Peace Corps Story

On the website Gamasutra, the Art & Business of Making Games there is a piece on Aaron Oldenburg, who was a PCV in Mali and has come up with a great idea for a game that tells the story of his time in Africa. Now at the University of Baltimore as an assistant professor, he has created an interactive narrative, much like being a counselor for the player, he said during a Tuesday session at the GDC Austin Game Writers Summit. Here is his story, as reported by Kris Graft: Oldenburg is the man behind the Flash-based interactive narrative called The Mischief of Created Things, a work based on his two years as a Peace Corps worker in the West African country of Mali. During his time there, he had journal entries, letters home, and many pictures of his experiences. “Coming back and telling stories wasn’t satisfying. It didn’t go . . .

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