Peace Corps writers

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Great Peace Corps Writers!
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Nominations are due for our Peace Corps Books Awards
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Hot Peace Corps book out
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RPCV Writer from Belize
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New RPCV Book
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David A. Taylor Writes "Soul of a People"
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RPCV Tony D'Souza Fights to Save the Post's Book World
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RPCV Road Trip in China

Great Peace Corps Writers!

I was struck the other day when I got an email from an RPCV who wanted to know if I was the “most famous” of all the Peace Corps writer. Hello? “Hardly,” I wrote back. I’m not even on that list of writers. So, just in case people don’t know the many, many fine, award-winning writers who served in the Peace Corps, here is a list of the talented and best known of the corps of writer — and one of their books — who once served as Volunteers. And last but not least — Besides RPCVs, a number of members of the staff of the Peace Corps have written major novels and works of non-fiction. Among them: The writers from the Peace Corps also have won almost every major prize of literature, including the National Book Award (Norm Rush & Bob Shacochis); PEN/Faulkner Award (Richard Wiley); American Book Award . . .

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Nominations are due for our Peace Corps Books Awards

Nominations are due for our Peace Corps Books of last year. Nominations are now being accepted by Peace Corps Writers for its awards for best books published during 2008 and written by PCVs, RPCVs, and Peace Corps staff. Do you have a favorite to nominate? Or did you write a book that you would like to have considered? Check out the categories: Please recommend your candidates for the following categories: Paul Cowan Non-Fiction Award Maria Thomas Fiction Award Award for Best Poetry Book Award for Best Travel Writing Award for Best Children’s Book And for the best short piece that best describes the Peace Corps experience, the Moritz Thomsen Peace Corps Experience Award Send in your nominations to: peacecorpsworldwide [at] gmail [dot] org

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Hot Peace Corps book out

The hot Peace Corps book for Spring ’09 is by Eve Brown-Waite. She sold it for six figures last year and now comes the moment of truth. It’s being published in April. This review comes from the Feb 27, 2009, Library Journal. We have a much kinder review of Eve’s story of her Peace Corps days and life overseas in Peace Corps Writers. Check it out. Brown-Waite, Eve. First Comes Love, Then Comes Malaria: How a Peace Corps Poster Boy Won My Heart and a Third World Adventure Changed My Life. Broadway. Apr. 2009. Verdict: This is ultimately rather thin stuff, with the author’s churlish moments unfortunately more memorable than the times she is genuinely touched by her surroundings. Optional at best. Background: Brown-Waite’s story begins as she joins the Peace Corps, falls in love with her recruiter, and goes to live in Ecuador. She didn’t complete the full tour . . .

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RPCV Writer from Belize

I’ve come across a novel (his first) by RPCV Barry Kitterman who was in Belize in the seventies that came out in May 2008 from Southern Methodist University Press entitled The Baker’s Boy. The novel is set in Central America and in middle Tennessee, and involves two intertwined stories. In the first, Tanner Johnson, nearing midlife, has left his pregnant wife and taken a job as a baker, working nights, trying to avoid a shadowy presence that haunts him from the past. In the second, Tanner relives his painful experiences as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Belize, where he taught at a boys’ reform school. Of the book, novelists Rick DeMarinis writes, “A strong and haunting debut novel by a fine writer.” Davide Bradley, who wrote The Chaneysville Incident, says the book reminds him of “expatriate novels like Graham Greene’s The Quiet American.” I’ve “read into it,” as book editors like to . . .

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New RPCV Book

About 20 years ago Efrem Sigel (Ivory Coast 1964–66) wrote me. He has been publishing short stories over the years, three of which were set in West Africa. He also raised a family, went to work, and kept thinking of writing a book. Well, he did and he his back with The Disappearance [Permanent Press 2/09] that right off the press received three excellent reviews in industry publications: a starred review and an interview in Publishers Weekly, Booklist (a key publication for libraries), and LibraryThing.com, a website for serious bookies. And it got an Indie Next Notable Book award from independent booksellers who belong to the American Booksellers Association. In the February 9, 2009, People Magazine review, Sue Corbett wrote: One idyllic summer day Joshua and Nathalie Sandler return from an errand in their Massachusetts hamlet to find their home empty. Their son Daniel, almost 14, has vanished. As anxious hours become hellish days and weeks, . . .

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David A. Taylor Writes "Soul of a People"

David A. Taylor (Mauritania 1983–85) has a great new book Soul Of A People: The WPA Writers’ Project Uncovers Depression America published by Wiley and out this month. In light of the recent comparisons between our current recession and the Great Depression, this is a timely book for all writers. For those who don’t know, the WPA Writers’ Project set out to employ thousands of out-of-work journalists, novelists, poets, and ordinary citizens to document history. These writers produced some of the best stories of American life ever published. Among those writers were John Cheever, Studs Terkel, Richard Wright, Ralph Ellison, and Zora Neale Hurston. This year there will be a Smithsonian/Showtime television special on Soul of a People, and the American Library Association just announced that 30 libraries will recieve grants from the NEA for the Humanities to present outreach programs in connections with the book and documentary. David lives . . .

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RPCV Tony D'Souza Fights to Save the Post's Book World

One hundred authors, ranging from novelist Tony D’Souza (Cote d’Ivoire 2000-02; Madagascar 2002-03) to Salon.com editor Joy Press, signed the National Book Critics Circle petition to save the Washington Post Book World’s stand-alone section. Nevertheless, as GalleyCat reported, the section closed this week. The Book World section will still exist online. While some see the closure as an opportunity for online reviewers, the NBCC’s post embodies the fear and anxiety that some feel about the state of the traditional book review. Author Amanda Vaill told mediabistro.com GalleyCat: For too long, newspapers all across the country have made these sections advertising ghettos for publishers and booksellers, and have insisted that the revenues thus generated should be the section’s only means of support. I wouldn’t be the first to wonder why newspapers don’t demand that sports teams and venues support sports sections.

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RPCV Road Trip in China

There is an absolutely wonderful essay in the current New Yorker (January 12, 2009) by Peter Hessler (China 1996-98) about a car trip he and another RPCV, Mike Goettig (China 1996-98), took to the Tibetan Plateau in 2002. This road trip took place a few years after they were Volunteers, and at the time Peter was working as a freelance writer in China, Goettig owned a bar in the southwest of the country and the two of them would get together for little adventures. The piece is entitled “Strange Stones,” which is, Peter writes, “a Chinese term for any rock whose shape looks like something else,” and focuses on one incident on their trip north. The essay, however, is really about being a Peace Corps Volunteer, and about some of the strange, wonderful, and dear people we meet because of that experience. For Peter, it was meeting up and becoming . . .

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