Author - John Coyne

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Memory vs. Truth: Review of OLIVER’S TRAVELS Clifford Garstang (Korea)
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WorldView Magazine wins awards!
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PLAGUE BIRDS by Jason Sanford (Thailand)
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A Thailand Memoir by James Jouppi
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Peace Corps Host Country Staff: The Life of a Nepali Village Boy
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RPCV Neil Boyer Writes About the Secretary of State (Ethiopia)
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Talking With Eric Madeen (Gabon)
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Laurence Leamer writes: Capote’s Women: A True Story of Love, Betrayal, and a Swan Song for an Era
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Peace Corps’ 60th year marks US /Philippines’ partnership, amity
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Peace Corps film: “A Walk on the Moon”

Memory vs. Truth: Review of OLIVER’S TRAVELS Clifford Garstang (Korea)

  Oliver’s Travels by Clifford Garstang (Korea 1976-77) Regal House Publishing May 2021 $9.49 (Kindle); $18.95 (Paperback)   Reviewed by Juliana Converse • All novels are mystery novels, a seasoned author tells hopeful writer, Ollie. At the core of everything we read about a character is their greatest desire. The mystery, as in real life, is what will the character do, and to what lengths will they go to attain this desire? Ollie’s desire is multifold: his most urgent need is to find his Uncle Scotty, and ask him why Ollie is haunted by childhood memories related to him. Underneath this urge runs the very familiar, existential dread of the recently graduated. But in Ollie’s case, this includes the question of his sexuality. In Oliver’s Travels, Clifford Garstang interrogates the folly of memory and meaning through a deeply flawed, possibly traumatized, occasionally problematic main character, asking, how do we know . . .

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WorldView Magazine wins awards!

  WorldView magazine, published by National Peace Corps Association, earned both an EDDIE and OZZIE in the 2021 FOLIO Magazine awards. These awards recognize magazine editorial and design excellence. WorldView earned EDDIE top honors for a series of articles in the Summer 2020 edition that tell the stories of Peace Corps Volunteers who were evacuated from around the world in 2020. These stories capture the Volunteers’ experiences and the communities in which they were serving, and the unfinished business they left behind. The magazine earned OZZIE top honors for the cover of the Fall 2020 edition, featuring an illustration by award-winning artist David Plunkert. With a dove of peace inside a cage-like COVID-19 molecule, the cover asks: “What’s the role of Peace Corps now?” Plunkert’s work has appeared in the pages and on the covers of The New Yorker, Rolling Stone, Time, and elsewhere. The awards were presented on October . . .

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PLAGUE BIRDS by Jason Sanford (Thailand)

  Glowing red lines split their faces. Shock-red hair and clothes warn people to flee their approach. They are plague birds, the powerful merging of humans and artificial intelligences who serve as judges and executioners after the collapse of civilization. And the plague birds’ judgement is swift and deadly, as Crista discovered as a child when she watched one kill her mother. In a world of gene-modded humans constantly watched over by benevolent AIs, everyone hates and fears the plague birds. But to save her father and home village, Crista becomes the very creature she fears the most. And her first task as a plague bird is hunting down an ancient group of murderers wielding magic-like powers. As Crista and her AI symbiote travel farther from home than she ever imagined, they are plunged into a strange world where she judges wrongdoers, befriends other outcasts, and uncovers an extremely personal . . .

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A Thailand Memoir by James Jouppi

  After graduating with Cornell’s civil engineering class of 1971 and a five-week stint as a taxi driver in New York City, Jim Jouppi (Thailand 1971-73) shipped out for a Peace Corps adventure in Thailand. After completing his two-year tour, he was ready to go back home when, after meeting a flirtatious Thai jownatee, he decided to take a home leave and return for one more year. Upon his return to Thailand, he found himself immersed in a very personal dilemma while trying to escape the confluence of Thai government, Peace Corps, and counterinsurgency politics in the Communist sensitive province where he was stationed. Jouppi was later employed in America as an engineer-in-training, carpenter apprentice, refugee worker, and postal worker, spent three years in the Army as a medic, and earned a master’s degree in tropical public health civil engineering in England. His first sustained attempt at memoir writing was . . .

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Peace Corps Host Country Staff: The Life of a Nepali Village Boy

  He is talented: able to secure work, develop schools, and convince others to aid these selfless efforts, especially in education. And he is responsible: responsible to the farmers in the co-ops he led, responsible to the students he taught, responsible to the volunteers he prepped and supported, and responsible to his family above all. His work touched the lives of thousands. — Will Newman, former Director, Peace Corps/Nepal.   In this enthralling memoir, Ambika Joshee explains his life experiences through a reflection of his own memories and candid storytelling. Joshee provides a unique perspective into each of his life stages, growing up in a remote village in Nepal and the struggles of his childhood days studying under dim kerosene lamps, looking back at the lessons learned from his mother through the lens of a retired person, understanding the cross-cultural difficulties faced by American Peace Corps volunteers from the perspective . . .

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RPCV Neil Boyer Writes About the Secretary of State (Ethiopia)

I once flew to  New York on a plane across the aisle from Secretary of State Colin Powell, and we chatted a bit about my job at State, mostly in relation to the World Health Organization. When the plane arrived at LaGuardia airport, I was a bit stunned to see that the Secretary was being greeted by our ambassador to the United Nations, Jeane Kilpatrick. They greeted each other seemingly warmly. I don’t know, but this may have been the occasion of his controversial speech justifying the invasion of Iraq.  He didn’t tell me that was the purpose of his trip.

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Talking With Eric Madeen (Gabon)

  Eric Madeen (Gabon 1981-83) is an associate professor of modern literature at Tokyo City University and an adjunct professor at Keio University. He has been published widely – in Time, Asia Week, The East, The Daily Yomiuri, Tokyo Journal, Kyoto Journal, Metropolis, Mississippi Review, ANA’s inflight magazine Wingspan, Japanophile, The Pretentious Idea, several academic journals and so on. His most recent novel Massage World is a  high-octane thriller. Note: John Coyne    Eric where are you from in the States? I’m from Elgin, Illinois, which is a suburb of Chicago. I earned my BA in Journalism from the University of Arizona and MFA in Creative Writing and Literature from San Diego State University. Why did you join the Peace Corps? I joined the Peace Corps for several reasons, foremost I wanted to see the world, get down and dirty in the outback of the “third world,” specifically Africa since . . .

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Laurence Leamer writes: Capote’s Women: A True Story of Love, Betrayal, and a Swan Song for an Era

  New York Times bestselling author Laurence Leamer (Nepal 1965-67) reveals the complex web of relationships and scandalous true stories behind Truman Capote’s never-published final novel, Answered Prayers–the dark secrets, tragic glamour, and Capote’s ultimate betrayal of the group of female friends he called his “swans.”   “There are certain women,” Truman Capote wrote, “who, though perhaps not born rich, are born to be rich.” Barbara “Babe” Paley, Gloria Guinness, Marella Agnelli, Slim Hayward, Pamela Churchill, C. Z. Guest, Lee Radziwill (Jackie Kennedy’s sister)—they were the toast of midcentury New York, each beautiful and distinguished in her own way. Capote befriended them, received their deepest confidences, and ingratiated himself into their lives. Then, in one fell swoop, he betrayed them in the most surprising and startling way possible. Bestselling biographer Laurence Leamer delves into the years following the acclaimed publication of Breakfast at Tiffany’s in 1958 and In Cold Blood in 1966, when Capote . . .

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Peace Corps’ 60th year marks US /Philippines’ partnership, amity

  by Philippines’ BUSINESS MIRROR OCTOBER 13, 2021   The first Peace Corps volunteers comprised of teachers arrived on October 12, 1961. THE United States Peace Corps, the US Embassy in the Philippines, the Philippine government and other partners held a virtual event to commemorate the American Peace Corps volunteers—more than 9,300 of them—who had served alongside Filipino host-communities across the country since October 1961. Hundreds of former volunteers, host organizations, Peace Corps staff, as well as youth and other beneficiaries gathered online on October 6, as they recognized contributions of American volunteers and their local partners working in education, fisheries, coastal resource management, youth development, and other sectors through the decades. Participants also reflected on the unique ability of Peace Corps volunteers to meaningfully impact and integrate into their host communities as they learned local Filipino languages and lived with Filipino host families. “Peace Corps volunteers have significantly advanced our . . .

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Peace Corps film: “A Walk on the Moon”

  Cohen Film Collection is working on a restoration of “A Walk on the Moon,” by the late Raphael D. Silver. The 1987 drama, about a Peace Corps volunteer who travels to a Colombian village, stars Kevin Anderson and Terry Kinney. The restoration was part of an agreement with filmmaker Joan Micklin Silver, Raphael D. Silver’s wife, who died last year. The story Everett Jones (Kevin Anderson) is a Peace Corps volunteer, bubbling o’er with idealism. To his surging delight, he learns he has been assigned to a remote, backward Colombian village. When Anderson arrives, he is confused by the cynical attitude of his predecessor (Terry Kinney). Even more confusing–though it won’t be for long–is that the villagers greet the ebullient Anderson’s arrival with silent, sullen indifference.

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