Archive - October 12, 2014

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How I Taught Myself to Write Fiction by Marnie Mueller (Ecuador 1963-65)
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Review: At Home on the Kazkh Steppe by Janet Givens (Kazakhstan 2004-06)

How I Taught Myself to Write Fiction by Marnie Mueller (Ecuador 1963-65)

On October 6th, Marnie Mueller (Ecuador 1963–65) was featured on Lorrie Bodger’s site TheBookUnderHerBed.com discussing her first steps to becoming an award winning author. Among Marnie’ awards is the 1995 Peace Corps Writers Maria Thomas Fiction Award for her Peace Corps novel, Green Fires. • Guest post: A writer learns to write by Lorrie Bodger Marnie Mueller is the award-winning author of three novels: Green Fires, The Climate of the Country, and My Mother’s Island. She was a Peace Corps volunteer in Ecuador in the early 1960s, a community organizer in El Barrio in NYC, and then a member of Mayor Lindsay’s administration, responsible for programming cultural events in all five boroughs. She left city government to become Development Director and later Program Director of WBAI-FM radio; after WBAI she ran her own business producing citywide events, concerts, benefits, and weddings. Today she’s a full-time writer (and MacDowell Colony Fellow), . . .

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Review: At Home on the Kazkh Steppe by Janet Givens (Kazakhstan 2004-06)

At Home on the Kazakh Steppe: A Peace Corps Memoir by Janet Givens (Kazakhstan 2004–06) Ant Press, August 2014; Birch Tree Book, 2015 208 pages $14.99 (paperback), $4.99 (Kindle) Reviewed by Leita Kaldi Davis (Senegal 1993–96) • At 55, Janet Givens and her husband, Woody, join the Peace Corps and go to Kazakhstan. Woody had been a Professor of Speech Pathology at Temple University, and Janet was a Certified Gestalt Psychotherapist. Leaving their comfortable life, their children, their grandchildren and their beloved dog was heartbreaking, but they met the challenge wholeheartedly. Their first months with their host family brought the predictable culture shock, with emotional tensions that nearly shattered their marriage. While Woody expected respect in his university teaching position, as an expert in his field, Janet wanted the grass roots Peace Corps experience, without cell phones or lap tops, learning how to teach young people English in a baffling . . .

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