Literary Type

News of writers who have served in the Peace Corps.

1
Michael Meyer (China) “The Quiet Revolt That Saved China,” Op-Ed, Wall Street Journal
2
“THE MAGIC STONE and the Woman who Wrote It!” (Kenya)
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Current New Yorker features Peter Hessler’s (China) new book
4
RCPV Wins Six-Word Memoir Writing Contest (El Salvador)
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A Writer Writes — “Rhythm of the Grass: Letters from Moritz Thomsen” by Mark Walker (Guatemala)
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Kristen Roupenian (Kenya) at Mid-Manhattan Library
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Writers! Check out the 2019 AWP CONFERENCE & BOOKFAIR in Portland
8
Earl Carlton Huband (Oman) wins Longleaf Press 2018 Poetry Chapbook Contest
9
The Shaman of Turtle Valley by Clifford Garstang (Korea)
10
RPCV Kristen Roupenian (Kenya) book tour

Michael Meyer (China) “The Quiet Revolt That Saved China,” Op-Ed, Wall Street Journal

    The Quiet Revolt That Saved China Forty years ago, farmers in Xiaogang village split their commune into family plots. A record harvest followed. by Michael Meyer (China 1995-97) April 16, 2019 7:35 p.m. ET Wall Street Journal • The People’s Republic of China turns 70 in October and will celebrate with flag-waving and fireworks. But 2019 marks several other major Chinese anniversaries whose public remembrance the Communist Party will suppress—and another milestone whose observance has been surprisingly muted. Twenty years ago, it was Falun Gong adherents being arrested. In July 1999 the Communist Party branded the spiritual meditation group an “evil cult.” On April 25, 1999, 10,000 practitioners, many of them elderly, had held a silent demonstration outside Beijing’s Zhongnanhai leadership compound. It was the capital’s largest protest since those held at Tiananmen Square ended—30 years ago this June—with a bloody military crackdown. Sixty years ago on March . . .

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“THE MAGIC STONE and the Woman who Wrote It!” (Kenya)

While Arthur Dobrin was a student at City College in New York, he heard Harris Wofford speak at the college, and afterwards he went to Lyn and said, “Let’s join the Peace Corps.” In August of 1964, shortly before they were married, Lyn and Arthur Dobrin, applied to the Peace Corps. They were first offered Volunteer placement inThailand. “We didn’t want to do it because the assignment involved moving all over the country. We wanted to stay in one place and Arthur was more interested in Africa so when we were offered a project in cooperative development in Kenya, we said yes.” In addition to her assigned role of working with farmers cooperatives, Lyn had two additional goals. She wanted to write a cookbook and collect folk tales. She had decided before leaving for Kenya that she wanted to “write something that Kenyan children could relate to.” The cookbook never . . .

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Current New Yorker features Peter Hessler’s (China) new book

    “The Refugee and the Thief,” a chapter in Peter Hessler’s (China 1996-98) new book is featured in the April 1, 2019 issue of The New Yorker. The book is entitled The Buried: An Archaeology of the Egyptian Revolution.  It will be published in May. Manu fled Egypt a little bit at a time. First, he flew to Cyprus, because he knew a travel agent who helped him get a visa. Manu spent a few days in Larnaca, and he got a tattoo in Nicosia, and then he returned to Cairo. The next stop was Saudi Arabia. Visas were easy to get for Egyptians performing the ‘umrah’ pilgrimage, and Manu had a relative in the country. It may have been the first time in history that a gay man was going to Mecca as part of a plan to escape a Muslim country, but Manu wanted his passport stamped. . . .

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RCPV Wins Six-Word Memoir Writing Contest (El Salvador)

    Legend has it that Ernest Hemingway was once challenged to write a story in only six words. His response? “For sale: baby shoes, never worn.” In November 2006, Larry Smith, founder of SMITH Magazine, gave the six-word novel a personal twist by asking his community to describe their lives in exactly six words. Anticipating the microblogging explosion, SMITH originally launched Six-Word Memoirs in November 2006 as a simple online challenge asking: Can you tell your life story in six words? We have published more than 1 million life stories on sixwordsmemoirs.com — and counting! Most recently Smith Magazine asked about “love” Love Six words on love & heartbreak It was the best of love, it was the worst of love, and this month you shared it all. You wrote about loves that lasted (“Smoothing out wrinkles into old age.” — CanadaGoose) and ones crumbled (“Assumed lover loved me. My bad.” . . .

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A Writer Writes — “Rhythm of the Grass: Letters from Moritz Thomsen” by Mark Walker (Guatemala)

    Rhythm of the Grass: Letters from Moritz Thomsen by Mark D. Walker (Guatemala 1971-73)   Moritz  Thomsen (Ecuador 1965–67) was an extraordinary writer and influential expatriate who spent thirty years in Ecuador studying the culture and identifying with whom he lived. His first book, Living Poor, is ranked as one of the premier Peace Corps experience books, with editions in the U.S., UK, Germany and France. It has sold over a hundred thousand copies in the U.S. alone. All four of his remarkable books have been compared to the works of Paul Thoreau and Joseph Conrad. Although Thomsen only wrote four books, he was an avid letter writer. His missives numbered in the 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. According to author Tom Miller, Thomsen was a “wicked” . . .

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Kristen Roupenian (Kenya) at Mid-Manhattan Library

    I went to the NYC Mid-Manhattan Library on Monday, February 25, 2019 and heard Kristen Roupenian (Kenya 2003-05) read from her new collection of short stories You Know You Want This, and be interviewed by Deborah Treisman, The New Yorker’s fiction editor. About eighty-five people crowded into the library room for the reading and discussion. The majority were women in their twenties. Kristen was entertaining and informative and appreciated by all as she told of her journey to ‘overnight’ success with the publication of “Cat Person” that appeared in the December 2017  issue of The New Yorker. A short story that quickly became an internet sensation. Ms. Treisman said that the story has the second highest ‘hits’ of New Yorker articles over the last five years on the magazine’s internet site. The short story centers on a young woman’s experience dating in a sleepy college town, but with decidedly skin-crawling twists. . . .

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Writers! Check out the 2019 AWP CONFERENCE & BOOKFAIR in Portland

    If you are interested in writing about your Peace Corps experience (or anything else!) try to attend the 2019 Association of Writers & Writing Programs Conference on March 27-30, 2019 in Portland, Oregan. There will be more than 550 literary events, 2,200 exhibitors and the opportunity to meet writers, learn about writing programs across the country at colleges and universities (and on line), and find out where to submit your stories and novels and get them published. Also, this year, for the first time, the conference will be holding a special exploratory meeting about how AWP can be more helpful in supporting both writers and writing that is “international”. This meeting will be held on Saturday March 30th from 8am to 9am at the conference center, and will be co-hosted by Chris Merrill of the University of Iowa’s International Writing Program, by Jill Goldberg of the Canadian Creative Writers and Writing . . .

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Earl Carlton Huband (Oman) wins Longleaf Press 2018 Poetry Chapbook Contest

  Earl Carlton Huband (Oman 1975-78) poetry chapbook The Innocence of Education based on his experiences in the Sultanate of Oman is the winner of the Longleaf Press 2018 Poetry Award sponsored by Methodist University in Fayetteville, NC. The Innocence of Education features twenty-seven syllabic and autobiographical poems based on the author’s experience as a PCV. Earl was a teacher in a remote fishing village located in a then-restricted military zone near the mouth of the Persian Gulf. Earl, who is from Wilmington, North Carolina, is a graduate of UNC-Chapel Hill and a resident of Durham. His poems have appeared in America, The Lyric, The Main Street Rag, The Road Not Taken, and Visions International; in anthologies such as Earth and Soul, Heron Clan, Kakalak, and Pinesong; and in the textbook Unlocking the Poem. • TODAY – Thursday 2/14, 7 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. (informal get-together next door at The Root Cellar, 6 p.m.) Flyleaf Second Thursday Poetry Series & Open . . .

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The Shaman of Turtle Valley by Clifford Garstang (Korea)

  The Shaman of Turtle Valley by Clifford Garstang (Korea 1976-77) Braddock Avenue Books Publisher May 2019 $16.95 available for pre-order now (at a discount)   Synopsis: The Alexanders have farmed the land in Turtle Valley for generations, and their family and its history is tied to this mountainous region of Virginia in ways few others can claim. When Gulf War veteran Aiken Alexander brings home a young and pregnant South Korean bride, he hopes at long last to claim his own place in that complicated history—coming out from behind the shadow of his tragically killed older brother and taking up a new place in his father’s affections. However, things do not go according to plan. While he loves his young son, his wife, Soon-hee, can’t—or won’t—adjust to life in America. Her behavior growing stranger and stranger to Aiken’s eyes every day until the marriage reaches a breaking point. When Soon-hee disappears . . .

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RPCV Kristen Roupenian (Kenya) book tour

  If you want to see and hear Kristen Roupenian (Kenya 2003-05), author of You Know You Want This: “Cat Person” and Other Stories, here are the remaining spots on her cross country Book Tour.   January 24th 7:30 pm Booksmith at the Bindery 1727 Haight St San Francisco January 25th 4:30 pm University Bookstore University Temple United Methodist Church The Sanctuary 1415 NE 43rd Street Seattle, WA February 25th 6:30 pm New York Public Library Mid-Manhattan Library 476 5th Ave New York, NY February 28th 7:00 pm Harvard Bookstore 1256 Mass Ave Cambridge, MA • You Know You Want This: “Cat Person” and Other Stories Kristen  Roupenian (Kenya 2003–05) Gallery/Scout Press January 2019 $24.99 (paperback), $12.99 (Kindle) You Know You Want This brilliantly explores the ways in which women are horrifying as much as it captures the horrors that are done to them.    

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