Archive - September 2011

1
Stephanie Stuve-Bodeen is winner of Best Children's Book
2
Don Gayton winner of the Peace Corps Travel Book Award
3
China RPCVs tell Congressman Coffman a thing or two
4
Matthew Davis Wins Moritz Thomsen Peace Corps Experience Award
5
Is there something missing from official Peace Corps/Washington’s celebration of the 50th?
6
Cynthia Morrison Phoel winner of Maria Thomas Fiction Award
7
Eric Lax is winner of the Paul Cowan Non-Fiction Award
8
Peace Corps Writers on BBC's Pick of the Week
9
RPCV found guilty on drug charges
10
Tony D'Souza novel picked by influential Gawker Guide

Stephanie Stuve-Bodeen is winner of Best Children's Book

Stephanie Stuve-Bodeen (Tanzania 1989–90) is winner of the Peace Corps Writers’ Award for Best Children’s Writing for her book A Small Brown Dog with a Wet Pink Nose published in 2010 by Little, Brown Books for Young Readers and illustrated by Linzie Hunter. She is author of many highly  acclaimed books for young readers, including the young adult novel The Compound, as well as the Elizabeti’s Doll picture book series, which was inspired by her Peace Corps experience in Tanzania. Stephanie lives in Oregon with her husband, also an RPCV, and their two daughters. Donna Cardon of the Provo City Library, UT writes in the School Library Journal: Amelia wants a dog. When her persistent requests are repeatedly denied, she begins to pretend that she has a dog named “Bones,” and gradually her mother and father go along with the game. Then, when her pet “gets lost,” there is nothing for them to do but . . .

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Don Gayton winner of the Peace Corps Travel Book Award

Don Gayton (Colombia 1966–69) is the winner of the Best Travel Book Award for Okanagan Odyssey: Journeys through Terrain, Terroir and Culture published in 2010 by Rocky Mountain Books. He is an ecologist and writer, whose twin interests focus on the dry landscapes of western North America. His writing includes award-winning books of popular non-fiction (Man Facing West, Okanagan Odyssey, Interwoven Wild, Kokanee, Landscapes of the Interior and The Wheatgrass Mechanism) as well as scientific articles dealing with grasslands and dry forests. Gayton served in the Peace Corps as an agricultural Volunteer in rural Colombia, and that experience had a profound influence on his life. He moved from the US to Canada during the Vietnam War years, and currently lives in British Columbia’s Okanagan Valley, where he works as an ecologist.  His awards include the Saskatchewan Writers Guild non-fiction award, the US National Outdoor Book Award, the Canadian Science Writers . . .

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China RPCVs tell Congressman Coffman a thing or two

[In an article published last week in the Denver PostRep. Mike Coffman says he wants the Peace Corps out of China. Coffman, ( a Colorado Republican)  said he was shocked during a recent visit to the country that Peace Corps Volunteers are teaching English in Chinese universities, rather than serving underdeveloped rural areas. “Having the Peace Corps in China, where we have to borrow money from the Chinese to fund it, is an insult to every American taxpayer and to so many of our manufacturing workers who have lost their jobs to China,” he said. [Coffman is gathering congressional signatures to send a letter to President Barack Obama demanding that the government immediately suspend the Peace Corps program in China. In the letter, Coffman said the U.S. government is short of money to fund its higher-education system while funding a Peace Corps program in China that defrays that country’s higher-education . . .

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Matthew Davis Wins Moritz Thomsen Peace Corps Experience Award

Matthew Davis (Mongolia 2000–02) is the winner of the Moritz Thomsen Peace Corps Writers Experience Award for his memoir  When Things Get Dark: A Mongolian Winter’s Tale published in 2010 by St. Martin’s Press.  Matt has just returned to the United States after a year as a Fulbright Fellow to Syria and Jordan.  He has an MFA in nonfiction writing from the University of Iowa and a Master’s in International Relations and Middle Eastern Studies from The Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies. Kristine Huntley in Booklist wrote: In 2000, at the age of 23, Davis leaves Chicago, his hometown, to travel to Mongolia to work as a teacher for the Peace Corps. Once he arrives in the small town of Tsetserleg, Davis moves into a ger, the circular tent that will be his home for the next two years, and gets to know the family whose land he is living on. He . . .

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Is there something missing from official Peace Corps/Washington’s celebration of the 50th?

Every Fall, Oklahoma empties out on one bright weekend and everyone goes to Dallas for the only football game that matters: In the Cotton Bowl – Texas Longhorns vs. Oklahoma Sooners, The Red River Rivalry. Austin comes to Dallas, too. Some people actually manage to have game tickets. There are class reunions; family get-togethers; stories told and retold of triumphs and defeat; old friends and new ones; a celebration of who it is they are. It is big deal. I think the 50th Anniversary Celebration in DC will be a little like that. Group reunions, parties, and rumors of parties; stories told and retold; old friends and new; a celebration of us. Except.There is no big game. There is no one event that symbolizes who it is we were and should become. No RPCVs will be reading their Journals of Peace, 24/48 hours in the Rotunda of the Capital- as was organized . . .

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Cynthia Morrison Phoel winner of Maria Thomas Fiction Award

Cynthia Morrison Phoel (Bulgaria 1994–96) is the winner of the Maria Thomas Fiction Award for Cold Snap: Bulgaria Stories published in 2010 by Southern Methodist University Press. She  served as a Peace Corps Volunteer in a Bulgarian town not unlike the one in her stories. She holds degrees from Cornell University and the Warren Wilson MFA Program for Writers. Her work has appeared in The Missouri Review, The Gettysburg Review, Harvard Review, and Cerise Press. She lives near Boston with her husband and their three children. In the review of Cold Snap in Booklist Donna Seaman wrote: “Phoel’s first collection of stories and a novella incisively dramatizes the interlocked lives of the beleaguered denizens of a Bulgarian town. Phoel spent time in Bulgaria as a Peace Corps volunteer, but one gets no sense of an outsider looking in. Instead, she fully inhabits the minds of her jittery characters as they grapple with various . . .

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Eric Lax is winner of the Paul Cowan Non-Fiction Award

Eric Lax(Micronesia 1966-68) is the winner of the 2010 Paul Cowan Non-Fiction Award for his book Faith, Interrupted: A Spiritual Journey published by Alfred A. Knopf in 2010. Lax, who was born in British Columbia and grew up in San Diego, is a graduate of  Hobart College and served in Truk (now Chuuk), Eastern Caroline Islands, Micronesia. In 1968-69 he was a Peace Corps Fellow, and later held several posts in Peace Corps/Washington Headquarters. He is the author of eight books. Other recent books include Conversations with Woody Allen: His Films, the Movies, and Moviemaking, and The Mold In Dr. Florey’s Coat: The Making of the Penicillin Miracle (a Los Angeles Times Best Book of 2004). Others include the international best seller Woody Allen: A Biography and Life and Death on 10 West (both New York Times Notable Books). His books have been translated into 18 languages. His articles have appeared in many publications, including The . . .

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RPCV found guilty on drug charges

Posted: Friday, September 02, 2011 – By Tico Times Nicaragua locks up U.S. citizen on narco charges. But his friends and family keep asking: Where’s the evidence? A Nicaraguan court on Monday convicted former U.S. Peace Corps volunteer and RE/MAX real estate franchise owner Jason Puracal, 34, of drug trafficking, money laundering and organized crime. He could face up to 30 years in prison in a trial that has been highly questioned by family members, local media and other observers. Puracal, a native of Washington State, in the U.S., was among 11 people arrested Nov. 11 on drug conspiracy charges (TT, Dec. 17, 2010). Puracal maintains his innocence and said he doesn’t know any of the Nicaraguan suspects in the case. Prosecutors alleged he was involved in “national and international transactions using a great amount of money without justification to buy and sell property, especially in the departments of Rivas . . .

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Tony D'Souza novel picked by influential Gawker Guide

The Gawker Guide to Fall Books has selected Mule: A Novel of Moving Weight by Tony D’Souza (Ivory Coast 2000-02; Madagascar 2002-03)  as one of their top fall books. The book is being published this month. Gawker writes: What It Is: The recession leads a young California couple with a baby on the way to turn to cross-country marijuana-running in order to make some quick cash. On the trip from Cali to Florida (which has a marijuana shortage?) a kidnapping, a shootout, and other business risks occur. Themes: America is broken, danger, risk, “zeitgeist-capturing.” Should You Bother?: Yes, because this book shows how “respectable” people can and do turn to crime in times of desperation. Buy it for your relative who blames drug dealing on the Poors.

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