Literary Type

News of writers who have served in the Peace Corps.

1
“Moritz Thomsen: His Letters and His Legacy“ (Ecuador)
2
Mildred Taylor (Ethiopia) publishes ALL THE DAYS PAST, ALL THE DAYS TO COME
3
Peace Corps To End China Program–Heard on All Things Considered
4
RPCV Writers 2020 — Happy New Year Vols!
5
RPCV is fictional character in new African novel (Ghana)
6
New Novel by Robert Cochrane (Morocco)
7
A Writer Writes — about BOWING TO ELEPHANTS by Bonnie Lee Black (Gabon)
8
“Justice for Pidgie D’Allessio” by Mary-Ann Tirone Smith (Cameroon)
9
BLUE COUNTRY by Mark Wentling (Honduras)
10
ASIA WITHOUT BORDERS by Steve Kaffen (Russia)

“Moritz Thomsen: His Letters and His Legacy“ (Ecuador)

Moritz Thomsen: His Letters and His Legacy by Mark D. Walker (Guatemala 1971-73) First published: January 2020 edition of Scarlet Leaf Review Moritz Thomsen was an extraordinary writer and influential expatriate who spent thirty years in Ecuador studying the culture and identifying with the people with whom he lived. Although Thomsen only wrote five books, which have been compared to the works of Thoreau and Conrad, he was an avid letter writer. His missives numbered in the multiple thousands, though according to one letter, he was only able to respond to five letters a day on his typewriter, often in the hot, humid jungle of Ecuador. And yet, despite his propensity for separating himself from the outside world—or perhaps because of his isolation—he corresponded with numerous authors, publishers, and professionals. Upon returning from one trip abroad he said he found close to 400 letters to answer. According to author Tom . . .

Read More

Mildred Taylor (Ethiopia) publishes ALL THE DAYS PAST, ALL THE DAYS TO COME

    The saga of the Logan family — made famous in the Newbery Medal-winning Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry — concludes in a long-awaited and deeply fulfilling story In her tenth book, Mildred Taylor (Ethiopia 1965-67) completes her sweeping saga about the Logan family of Mississippi, which is also the story of the civil rights movement in America of the 20th century. Cassie Logan, first met in Song of the Trees and Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry, is a young woman now, searching for her place in the world, a journey that takes her from Toledo to California, to law school in Boston, and, ultimately, in the 60s, home to Mississippi to participate in voter registration. She is witness to the now-historic events of the century: the Great Migration north, the rise of the civil rights movement, preceded and precipitated by the racist society of America, and the often violent confrontations that . . .

Read More

Peace Corps To End China Program–Heard on All Things Considered

Thans for the ‘heads up’ from Chris Honode’ (Colombia 1967-69)     Peace Corps To End China Program January 24, 2020, 4:19 PM ET Heard on All Things Considered . . . RPCV ROB SCHMITZ The Peace Corps has decided to ax its China program starting this summer. Critics of the decision call the program one of the diplomatic success stories in the history of China-U.S. relations. ARI SHAPIRO, HOST: Starting this summer, there will no longer be Peace Corps volunteers working in China. Years ago, NPR’s own Rob Schmitz was a Peace Corps volunteer based in southwest China. He joins us now to explain why the Peace Corps decided to end its China program and what the impact of that might be. And, Rob, for this conversation, I’m going to ask you to put on a slightly different hat than your typical NPR correspondent. I want you to speak to your . . .

Read More

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 . . .

Read More

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 . . .

Read More

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 . . .

Read More

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 . . .

Read More

“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 . . .

Read More

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 . . .

Read More

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 . . .

Read More

Copyright © 2019. Peace Corps Worldwide.