Peace Corps writers

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Dumb Things I Did in the Peace Corps
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RPCV Conlon's First Novel Nominated For Literary Award
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RPCV Charles Larson Gives His African Literature Collection to U of Texas
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REVIEW: Roaming Kyrgyzstan
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Peace Corps: The Fountain of Youth
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The Peace Corps Book Locker
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Ann Neelon reviews Attack of the Claw
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Hessler Speaking in Santa Fe
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Madoff's Friends in Palm Beach
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Vote For God!

Dumb Things I Did in the Peace Corps

This is a piece by Dick Lipez  who after his Peace Corps tour (Ethiopia 1962-64) worked in the famed Charlie Peters Evaluation Division of the Peace Corps. He then went on to become a successful novelist and editorial writer at the Berkshire Eagle and author of gay detective novels. • • • Attention Peace Corps authors: Here’s a good idea for an anthology.  I don’t have the time to edit it — I have two other books I keep telling people I’m writing—but I’m a prime candidate to contribute to the collection.  It would be called Dumb Things I Did in the Peace Corps. We all have lists.  I get chills when I run down mine.  Some of these blunders are amusing, but others are so excruciatingly dumb that no one else should ever be allowed to know about them.  Unless, of course, other volunteers were there at the time, and maybe even participated in the . . .

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RPCV Conlon's First Novel Nominated For Literary Award

Christopher Conlon (Botswana 1988-90) novel Midnight on Mourn Street published by Earthling Publications in May 2008 has been nominated for The Bram Stoker Award from the Horror Writers Association of America. It was nominated in the  category of Superior Achievement in a First Novel. The award will be presented in June, in Burbank, California. Paul Shovlin (Moldova 1996-98) in his PeaceCorpsWriters review compared Conlon to Poe, saying, “[its], an apt comparison, especially in terms of atmosphere, which Conlon is adept at establishing. The feeling of gloom and dark brooding that pervades the novel is one of its strongest points.”

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RPCV Charles Larson Gives His African Literature Collection to U of Texas

The Harry Ransom Center, a humanities research library and museum at The University of Texas at Austin, has acquired Charles Larson’s (Nigeria 1962-64) collection of African, African-American and Native-American literature.  Larson, a professor at American University, is well known as an authority on African and Third World writers.      This collection includes signed and inscribed books, rare publications and unique manuscripts and letters. There are more than 1,100 books by African writers, 250 books by African-American and Caribbean writers, and 60 books by Native-American writers.      “I began reading African writers in 1962 when I was a Peace Corps volunteer,” said Larson.  “It was immediately apparent to me that a rich and exciting literature was emerging across the continent.  My interests expanded when I returned to the United States and discovered similarly important (though sadly overlooked) writing by African-American and American Indian writers.  I feel as if I’ve been in a privileged position to . . .

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REVIEW: Roaming Kyrgyzstan

For anyone who has traveled or hopes to travel to this lesser known corner of Central Asia’s ancient Silk Road, Roaming Kyrgzstan‘s cover photo captures some of the magic that lies within this mountain nation’s truly majestic and rugged landscapes. Roaming Kyrgyzstan: Beyond the Tourist Track by Jessica Jacobson (Senegal 1997)IUniverse,Inc.,November 2008216 pages$17.95Reviewed by Catherine Varchaver (PC Staff, Kyrgyzstan 1995-97)For anyone who has traveled or hopes to travel to this lesser known corner of Central Asia’s ancient Silk Road, Roaming Kyrgzstan‘s cover photo captures some of the magic that lies within this mountain nation’s truly majestic and rugged landscapes.Turning past the seductive cover, the reader encounters something not unlike Kyrgyzstan’s cities and towns-a richness of content and culture hidden beneath a distractingly unsophisticated and even off-putting presentation. Kyrgyzstan’s natural topography ranges from exotic to breath-taking, but the Soviet influence on local architecture erased a good bit of the visible, traditional charm . . .

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Peace Corps: The Fountain of Youth

An RPCV writer who has published many, many successful books is writing one now on people who never seem to get sick. He is looking to interview them and he asked me if there is anyone in the community who while overseas discovered ways or herbs or methods that have kept them healthy. If you know of anyone let me know. Thanks.

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The Peace Corps Book Locker

In the early years of the Peace Corps, the agency provided each household of Volunteers with a book locker. The books were meant to provide leisure reading for the PCVs, and then to be left behind in schools, villages, and towns where the Volunteers served. There is some mystery as to who had the idea for the book lockers; one rumor has it that it came from first Peace Corps Director Sargent Shriver’s wife, Eunice. Surely those books were a wonderful resource to any of the PCVs who thought of writing about the incomparable life they were living. Since 1961 PCVs and Peace Corps Staff have been writing the story of their lives in the developing world, as well as writing about the world beyond the Peace Corps. Among the more than 1000 writers  who have served in the Peace Corps have written and published their books. Many of the books . . .

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Ann Neelon reviews Attack of the Claw

BOOK REVIEW Larry Lihosit discovered the Peace Corps Writers site a couple years back and has been sending his book our way for reviews and comments. Larry is ‘outside’ the main current of literature and commercial publishing and has successful published his own books of poetry and travel. He is proof that you do not need an agent, a big name, or connections to find your way into print. It is for that reason that we have him writing a column on this site. Here is a review of one of his books of poetry to prove that like all good writers, he can take criticism as well as give it. Attack of the Claw and Other Poems about Teaching by Lawrence F. Lihosit ( Honduras 1975–77) A Book Company 2008 (Purchase book from publisher) Reviewed by Ann Neelon (Senegal 1978-79) For several years running, my sons have participated in the . . .

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Hessler Speaking in Santa Fe

Peter Hessler (China 1996-98) author of River Town: Two Years on the Yangtze, and a writer for The New Yorker, will be talking about “Writing in China” on Friday, March 20, at an anthropology conference in Santa Fe.  He will be speaking at the Santa Fe Community Convention Center. Peter is scheduled for a session that begins at noon on Friday in the Sweeney Room of the Center. The session is open to the public. When you get to the Convention Center ask directions at the Registration Desk in the Lobby.  And try and hang around and say hello to Peter, tell him you’re also an RPCV.

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Madoff's Friends in Palm Beach

BOOK REVIEW If  you have read anything about Bernie Madoff, the $65 billion swindler, who took most of the fortunes of his good friends in Palm Beach (and elsewhere) in the giant Ponzi scheme he operated since the early ’90s, you’ll appreciate this book on his Palm Beach crowd. Written by RPCV Larry Leamer the book was published just weeks before Bernie the Bandit went down. Madness Under the Royal Palms: Love and Death Behind the Gates of Palm Beach by Laurence Leamer (Nepal 1965-67) Hyperion 2009 Reviewed by Richard Lipez (Ethiopia 1962-64) Laurence Leamer has written gossipy books about the Kennedys and Arnold Schwarzenegger that have brought some actual thought to celebrity-mongering.  Now he has come up with an exercise in commercial star-fuckery, dull-withered-rich-people division, that some of his readers may find considerably less alluring than his takes on Jackie and Ethel.  Others might cruise through this stuff with . . .

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Vote For God!

BOOK REVIEW Roland Merullo who served in Micronesia back in the day has written a political book that is “right on” when it comes to what is happening in Washington today. And Matt Losak, who served as a PCV in Lesotho, and later worked  as an advance man for President Clinton,  reviews the book for our site. You might say it is a match made in heaven, or… American Savior by Roland Merullo (Micronesia 1979-80) Algonquin Books of Chapel Hill, 2008 Reviewed by Matt Losak (Lesotho 1985-88) So, you’re thinking we may have just elected the ideal candidate for President of the United States:  he’s black and white and well-read all over, he’s good looking, he’s from everywhere U.S.A. and possesses a political mind that synthesizes the nation’s best visionary thought into today’s kitchen-table problem solving. But in Roland Merullo’s, American Savior, there comes along a third-party candidate, or, should I say, then comes along . . .

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