Archive - September 2013

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Review of Bob Shacochis's (Eastern Caribbean 1975-76) The Woman Who Lost Her Soul
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Matthew A. Hamilton (Armenia 2006-08, Philippines 2008-10) Wins 2013 Poetry Award
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William Hemminger (Senegal 1973-75) Wins 2013 Best Travel Book
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Rave Reviews for Bob Shacochis (Eastern Caribbean1975-76)New Novel
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Rajeev Goyal (Nepal 2001-03) Wins 2013 Paul Cowan Non-Fiction Award
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A Writer Writes: Lost Art: The Private Collection by Lawrence F. Lihosit (Honduras 1975-77)
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Chris Matthews (Swaziland 1968-70) Gives a Shout Out For the Peace Corps
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Bob Shacochis (Eastern Caribbean 1975-76) Novel Amazon Best Book of the Month
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Joanna Luloff (Sri Lanka 1996-98) Wins 2013 Maria Thomas Fiction Award
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Review of Thomas Weck's (Ethiopia 1965-67)The Lima Bear Stories: Bully Bean

Review of Bob Shacochis's (Eastern Caribbean 1975-76) The Woman Who Lost Her Soul

The Woman Who Lost Her Soul by Bob Shacochis (Eastern Caribbean 1975–76) Atlantic Monthly Press $28.00 713 pages 2013 Reviewed by Tony D’Souza (Ivory Coast 2000-02, Madagascar 2002-03) WITH THE WIDELY HERALDED release of his first novel since 1993’s National Book Award Finalist Swimming in the Volcano, Bob Shacochis has managed to make dead one of the livelier discussion points that’s unified Peace Corps writers for the better part of the past two decades: “What’s up with Bob, anyone seen him?” “One assumes he’s still in New Mexico, working on that crazy, alleged book.” The crazy, alleged book long ago became mythological. “I heard it’s about a zombie in Haiti.” “Haiti? I heard it was set in Croatia.” It’s been widely assumed Shacochis had waded into a literary quagmire, drowned himself in a stubborn attempt at an overreaching Ur text, a quixotic journey to write the whole history of some . . .

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Matthew A. Hamilton (Armenia 2006-08, Philippines 2008-10) Wins 2013 Poetry Award

The Peace Corps Writers Award for Best Poetry Book was first presented in 1997. The winner for Peace Corps Writers 2013 Best Book of Poetry published in 2012 is The Land of the Four Rivers by Matthew A. Hamilton (Armenia 2006–08, Philippines 2008–10) published by Cervena Barva Press in 2012. Matthew Hamilton was a Legislative Assistant on Capital Hill and, prior to that, a Benedictine Monk. He is a 1999 graduate of Belmont Abbey College with a Bachelors of Arts degree in History and has a MFA from Fairfield University. He is a poetry reader for the online magazine, Mason’s Road and Drunken Boat. He was nominated for a 2013 Pushcart Prize and has published in A-Minor Magazine, Atticus Review, Boston Literary Magazine, Cha: An Asian Literary Journal, Noctua Review. In his review of this collection for our site, Mark B Brazaitis (Guatemala 1991–93) wrote: Most of the poems in . . .

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William Hemminger (Senegal 1973-75) Wins 2013 Best Travel Book

AWARD for Best Travel Book was first presented in 2001. Winner of the 2013 Best Travel Book is African Son by William J. Hemminger (Senegal 1973-75) published by University Press of America in 2012. William J. Hemminger is chair of the English Department and teaches English and French at University of Evansville in southern Indiana. He is also a poet, translator, musician, composer, and gardener. After graduating from Columbia University, he served in Senegal as a Peace Corps volunteer. Hemminger earned a Ph.D. in 1988 and since then has worked in Madagascar and Cameroon under the auspices of the Fulbright Program. Reviewers of this book write: African Son is one of the best travelogues written about African. Its fifteen insightful, well-written, and well-organized essays tackle important social, cultural, and philosophical issues such as social inequities, cultural differences, man and nature, death, and spirituality. The book skillfully blends honesty and realism: . . .

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Rave Reviews for Bob Shacochis (Eastern Caribbean1975-76)New Novel

Weekend All Things Considered interview http://www.npr.org/2013/08/31/217228965/shacochis-spans-generations-in-the-woman-who-lost-her-soul Washington Post review http://www.washingtonpost.com/entertainment/books/book-world-bob-shacochiss-relentlessly-captivating-the-woman-who-lost-her-soul/2013/09/03/1e0ab6a0-0df2-11e3-bdf6-e4fc677d94a1_story.html Entertainment Weekly Review – an A rating. http://www.ew.com/ew/article/0,,20729334,00.html Boston Globe review http://www.bostonglobe.com/arts/books/2013/08/31/book-review-the-woman-who-lost-her-soul-bob-shacochis/lvikmZ3uBkuApNQXHe1JYN/story.html LA REVIEW OF BOOKS: A Conversation with Bob Shacochis https://lareviewofbooks.org/interview/maximum-bob-an-e-mail-conversation-with-bob-shacochis Tallahassee Democrat interview and review http://www.tallahassee.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/201308310200/LIVING/308310008 http://www.tallahassee.com/article/20130831/LIVING/308310007/-Woman-Who-Lost-Her-Soul-masterpiece Associated Press review: http://abcnews.go.com/Entertainment/wireStory/shacochis-back-woman-lost-soul-20214135 WFME Orlando – “Intersections” interview http://www.wmfe.org/site/News2?page=NewsArticle&id=14985&news_iv_ctrl=1441 Miami Herald review http://www.miamiherald.com/2013/09/08/3607221/sex-lies-and-secrets-in-haiti.html Columbus Dispatch review http://www.dispatch.com/content/stories/life_and_entertainment/2013/09/05/epic-untangles-roots-of-hatred.html

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Rajeev Goyal (Nepal 2001-03) Wins 2013 Paul Cowan Non-Fiction Award

FIRST GIVEN IN 1990, the Paul Cowan Non-Fiction Award was named to honor Paul Cowan, a Peace Corps Volunteer who served in Ecuador from 1966 to 1967. Cowan wrote  The Making of An Un-American about his experiences as a Volunteer in Latin America in the ’60s. A longtime activist and political writer for The Village Voice, Cowan died of leukemia in 1988. • The winner for 2013 Best Non-Fiction book published in 2012 is The Springs of Namje: A Ten-Year Journey from the Villages of Nepal to the Halls of Congress by Rajeev Goyal (Nepal 2001–03) published by Beacon Press in 2012. Beacon Press wrote about this book: A Peace Corps volunteer’s inspirational story about the power of small change In 2001, Peace Corps volunteer Rajeev Goyal was sent to Namje, a remote village in the eastern hills of Nepal. Brimming with idealism, he expected to find people living in . . .

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A Writer Writes: Lost Art: The Private Collection by Lawrence F. Lihosit (Honduras 1975-77)

Lost Art: The Private Collection by Lawrence F. Lihosit (Honduras 1975-77) I just lost my quarterly royalty check on the way to the bank. It was stuffed into my beige cargo pants’ leg pocket when I climbed onto my motor scooter but gone as I approached the pretty young bank teller. An hour later, my publisher’s representative agreed telephonically to put a “stop payment” on the check. She had one question, “Would you like us to issue a new check or carry this over until the next quarter?” “Carry it over, please.” Thank God my budget does not include book royalties. What for? They are chump change. Over the past decades I have rubbed elbows with both renowned and unknown artists, some of whom have earned some bucks. One water color painter bought a house with cash, then earned next to nothing from painting sales for the following decades. He . . .

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Chris Matthews (Swaziland 1968-70) Gives a Shout Out For the Peace Corps

On this evening’s Hardball, Chris Matthews had a new (I think) twist to his show by answering Tweets and someone tweeted: “Chris, what can I do to help America?” or words to that effect. Chris answered immediately with “Join the Peace Corps” and then gave a simple, rational and sound reason why the man should join for all the reasons we know from our own experiences. While most Americans might ask: is there still a Peace Corps? at least Matthews is raising the flag for all of us. He doesn’t have to do it, but he does. He believes in the  Peace Corps. As we believe in it. The world is going, as my mother would have said, ‘to hell in a handbag,’ with wars and Arab Springs, and struggles to find a way to create democracies, and for some reason Obama and Congress and all the powers-that-be forget that . . .

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Bob Shacochis (Eastern Caribbean 1975-76) Novel Amazon Best Book of the Month

Editorial Reviews of The Woman Who Lost Her Soul Amazon.com Review An Amazon Best Book of the Month, September 2013: In this breathtakingly ambitious work, spanning the globe and many decades, Shacochis has crafted a (mostly) fictional backstory to 9/11, tracing the ancient hatreds that continue to infect history. At the story’s core is Jackie Smith (aka Renee Gardner, aka Dottie Chambers), posing as a photojournalist in late-1990s Haiti, a feral and dangerous place — where Jackie fits right in. Beautiful, heedless, and damaged, Jackie/Renee/Dottie is a man-eater: “Hers would be a slavish cult of eager youth and wicked men.” Among those who fall under her spell are the earnest humanitarian lawyer Tom Harrington and the malleable gung-ho Special Forces operative Eville Burnette, not to mention her Croatian-turned-America father, whose inappropriate attentions add a creepy touch. Lording above all is a group of golf buddies, shadowy puppet masters from the . . .

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Joanna Luloff (Sri Lanka 1996-98) Wins 2013 Maria Thomas Fiction Award

THE MARIA THOMAS FICTION AWARD is named after the novelist Maria Thomas [Roberta Worrick (Ethiopia 1971-73)] who was the author of a well-reviewed novel, Antonia Saw the Oryx First, and two collections of short stories, Come to Africa and Save Your Marriage: And Other Stories and African Visas: A Novella and Stories, all set in Africa. Roberta lost her life in August, 1989, while working in Ethiopia for a relief agency. She went down in the plane crash that also killed her husband, Thomas Worrick (Ethiopia 1971-73), and Congressman Mickey Leland of Texas. • THE WINNER FOR the Peace Corps Writers 2013 Best Book of Fiction published in 2012 is The Beach at Galle Road: Stories from Sri Lanka by Joanna Luloff (Sri Lanka 1996-98) published by Algonquin Books. Joanna Luloff grew up in Massachusetts, received her MFA from Emerson College and her PhD from University of Missouri. From 1996 to . . .

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Review of Thomas Weck's (Ethiopia 1965-67)The Lima Bear Stories: Bully Bean

Bully Bean (Lima Bear Stories) by Thomas Weck (Ethiopia 1965-67) and Peter Weck Illustrated by Len DiSalvo Lima Bear Press 30 pages Hardcover $15.95 2013 Reviewed by Tony D’Souza (Ivory Coast 2000-02, Madagascar 2002-03) By this point, I think it’s safe to say that my kids will grow up with Thomas and Peter Weck’s Lima Bears; the series first appeared two years ago, and we’ve been following them ever since. In the short span of childhood, that’s been half my kids’ lives! The Wecks’ have released the fifth title in their series, Bully Bean, and I’ve been finding that there’s an odd congruence between where my kids are developmentally and the subject matters the Wecks’ are tackling. The bean bears of Limalot were facing their unfounded fears in The Cave Monster right around the time my kids discovered that the dark spaces under the bed and in the closet were . . .

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