Literary Type

News of writers who have served in the Peace Corps.

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RPCV Writers 2020 — Happy New Year Vols!
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RPCV is fictional character in new African novel (Ghana)
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New Novel by Robert Cochrane (Morocco)
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A Writer Writes — about BOWING TO ELEPHANTS by Bonnie Lee Black (Gabon)
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“Justice for Pidgie D’Allessio” by Mary-Ann Tirone Smith (Cameroon)
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BLUE COUNTRY by Mark Wentling (Honduras)
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ASIA WITHOUT BORDERS by Steve Kaffen (Russia)
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Migrant Caravans and Social Justice by Mark Walker (Guatemala)
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Roland Merullo Plans One-Day Writing/Meditation Retreat (Micronesia)
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Martin Ganzglass (Somalia) publishes THE PRICE OF FREEDOM — #6 of a series

RPCV Writers 2020 — Happy New Year Vols!

A Work in Progress: RPCV Authors Thirty-one years ago, Marian Haley Beil and I (both Ethiopia 1962-64) began to identify Peace Corps Writers. It was our Third Goal Project to spread the story of the Peace Corps in developing countries by promoting the writings of RPCVs here at home.  We did this as two former volunteers, not connected to the Peace Corps agency or the NPCA. We began in April 1989 with a newsletter Peace Corps Writers & Readers and now on a website: www.peacecorpsworldwide.org We announce new books, have them reviewed, interview authors, and publish writings by RPCVs. We also started with Create Space/Amazon a line of Peace Corps Writers Books. Marian Beil is the creative publishing genius behind these projects. She receives help from her gifted son, Noah, who is also a tech genius. (It runs in the family. Husband and father Don Beil ((Somalia 1964-66)) is the . . .

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RPCV is fictional character in new African novel (Ghana)

    A few non-RPCVs writers have used the Peace Corps and PCVs in plots for their books over the years, most famously Tama Janowitz’s novel, A Cannibal in Manhattan published in 1987 by Crown. In the early days of the agency, there was also a series of YA books about Peace Corps Volunteer nurses, mostly set in Africa. Also, Tom Hanks in his 1985 movie Volunteers is a rich playboy who avoids gambling debts by jumping on a plane full of PCVs heading for Thailand. You might have seen that very funny movie. Now, a well-known Ghanaian-American mystery writer, Kwei Quartey, has written The Missing American, about a 68-year-old RPCV who returns to Ghana to track down the internet fraudster who scammed him out of a lot of money. Kwei Quartey was born in Ghana and raised by a black American mother and a Ghanaian father. A retired physician, he . . .

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New Novel by Robert Cochrane (Morocco)

  About Sayonara Sacrifice by Robert Cochran (Morocco 1981-83)   In 1927 Pitcher Hiromitsu “Hiro” Tada, a Japanese foreign student, and his German-American catcher Horst “Heck” Riedl form an unbreakable friendship when their Oregon college team gives Babe Ruth, Lou Gehrig, and their touring AL All-Stars all they can handle. In 1931 they team up again, this time in Japan. To Heck, 1930s Japan seemed a splendid place to be a blond baseball star with coins to jingle. The hooch was good, the women intriguing, and the Savoy Room at the Tor had plenty of both. He only had to follow one simple rule: steer clear of politics. What could possibly go wrong? Nativism could run amok. Fascists could take control of your life. War could tear you away from all the people you love. You could become a propaganda prize. Or an OSS prize. You and all your family . . .

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A Writer Writes — about BOWING TO ELEPHANTS by Bonnie Lee Black (Gabon)

    Bowing To Elephants Bonnie Lee Black (Gabon 1996-98) • The difference between an autobiography and a memoir, I used to tell my students, has everything to do with a couple of prepositions: of and from. An autobiography is the story of a life — usually the life of a rich and famous person — written by that person (or his or her ghost writer). Whereas a memoir is a story (or stories) from the life of a more-or-less ordinary person. A famous person can begin her autobiography at the very beginning (I was born in the dead of winter in a one-room cabin with no heat or running water in the hills of Appalachia, let’s say), and the reader will stick with it because all the while in the back of that reader’s mind there’ll be the nagging question: How in the world did this person ever get to be rich and famous?! The memoirist, on . . .

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“Justice for Pidgie D’Allessio” by Mary-Ann Tirone Smith (Cameroon)

  Justice for Pidgie D’Allessio by Mary-Ann Tirone Smith (Cameroon 1965–67)   I thought I’d finished writing, Girls of Tender Age, ten years ago. Then an email appeared in my inbox with a subject line so unexpected, so shocking, really, that it took me a few minutes to dare touch my fingers to the keyboard. First I went and poured a second cup of coffee, took a couple of gulps, sat down at my desk again and opened the message. The story was not over. A new ending was out there, a miserable one. I bought a new notebook and a box of Pilot G-2s, #10, Bold; I write all my first drafts in longhand. The memoir centered on the murder of Irene Fiederowicz in Hartford, Connecticut. Irene was my friend, my neighbor, and my classmate. The last time I saw her was the day we went on our field trip . . .

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BLUE COUNTRY by Mark Wentling (Honduras)

Blue Country by Mark Wentling (Honduras 1967–69, Togo 1970–73; PC Staff: Togo, Gabon, Niger 1973–77) Page Publishing 204 pages August 2019 $16.95 (paperback)   Unexpected twists and turns keep the reader guessing about what will happen next. Throughout this entertaining novel is weaved a one-way dialogue between a dying prisoner who tells repeatedly his sad story to a hungry jailhouse rat, which only lives to eat. The story moves from the death and destruction of one town to the amazing rebuilding of a new town by survivors who lived to tell the tale. The human foibles of many of the book’s characters are displayed. Miracles make possible survival, love, and marriage, but evil lurks beneath the surface, and unforeseeable events determine the future of a people and their country. Heroes live and die by the hand of hidden forces beyond their control. The eyes of an innocent young man, offspring . . .

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ASIA WITHOUT BORDERS by Steve Kaffen (Russia)

    Asia Without Borders Crossing the South Asian Expanse by Steve Kaffen (Russia 1994-96) 2018 SK Journeys 327 pages $14.00 (paperback)   “Someday there will be an Asia without borders, one, big happy family,” was the Thai immigration official’s reply to author Steve Kaffen’s comment that this was the most relaxed international border Steve had ever crossed. The Thai official and his Malaysian counterpart had established an open border used by bicycles, vehicles, and pedestrians across the east coast’s Sungai Golok Bridge. In a further goodwill gesture, they passed Thai coconuts and Malaysian bananas to each other throughout the day. Join Steve Kaffen (Russia  1994-96) on an autobiographical journey across South Asia. Explore the region’s great historical sights, marvel at its landscapes, meet its residents in often humorous encounters, and have a succession of adventures along the way. Visit Thailand’s Mekong region and the great temples of Bagan in . . .

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Migrant Caravans and Social Justice by Mark Walker (Guatemala)

    Justice & Responsibility The Plight of the Immigrants from Central America By Mark D. Walker (Guatemala 1971-73)   “Migrant Caravans,” made up of large groups of children and adults from the Northern Triangle of Central America, heading to our border to seek safety and a better life is problematic, both for those coming and for those waiting for their arrival in the U.S. The influx of undocumented immigrants has reached a ten-year high, with 66,450 entering recently, according to the Customs and Border Patrol.   The existing frenzied political debate and the false narratives it often generates make it difficult, if not impossible, to turn this crisis into an opportunity to better appreciate why so many continue to seek refuge here and to understand our own role, and that of our government, in sorting out the situation, responding in a humanitarian way to those coming and creating some viable solutions to . . .

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Roland Merullo Plans One-Day Writing/Meditation Retreat (Micronesia)

    Roland Merullo (Micronesia 1979-80) best-known novels are Breakfast with Buddha, In Revere, In Those Days, A Little Love Story, Revere Beach Boulevard and the memoir Revere Beach Elegy. His first novel Leaving Losapas came out in 1992 and A Russian Requiem was published in 1993. His latest book is entitled The Delight of Being Ordinary: A Road Trip with the Pope and the Dalai Lama. Below is his September monthly newsletter in which he outlines a one-day writing/meditation retreat planned for this coming January. It is something that might interest you. • A note from Roland . . . Dear Readers and Friends, This note is being written on an absolutely perfect late summer afternoon in Western Massachusetts, with a warm sun angling in through the windows of my upstairs office and the bees, wasps, and dragonflies zipping around trying to grab the last of whatever it is they grab in this part of the world in September. Having . . .

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Martin Ganzglass (Somalia) publishes THE PRICE OF FREEDOM — #6 of a series

    About The Price of Freedom  Number 6 in the series of novels about the American Revolution by Martin R. Ganzglass (Somalia 1966–68)   The Price of Freedom is my sixth and final novel in a series on the American Revolution. The first book, Cannons for the Cause, begins in the brutal winter of 1775 when the principal character, fifteen-year-old Will Stoner and his teamster father, are engaged to haul heavy cannons from Lake George, New York to Cambridge, Massachusetts, as part of Colonel Henry Knox’s “Noble Train of Artillery.” This last novel begins after the crucial victory at Yorktown in October 1781, and ends in the summer of 1784 in liberated New York City when Patriots and former Loyalists begin to overcome their wartime differences. The underlying theme throughout the series is the important role ordinary people, including the “invisible minorities” — African Americans, women and Native Americans — played . . .

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