Peace Corps writers

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Development is Down This Road
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REVIEW: Avoid Mosquitoes and Other Impossibilities
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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

Development is Down This Road

Since 1992 Peace Corps Writers has annually recognized the outstanding writing of Peace Corps Volunteers both returned and still in service. One of the awards is the Peace Corps Experience Award given to the writer of a short piece that best captures the experience of being a Peace Corps Volunteer. We will be sharing the past Peace Corps Experience Award winners with our Peace Corps Worldwide readers over the next few weeks and begin with the very first from 1992 by Abigail Calkins Aguirre. • • • Development Is Down This Road by Abigail Calkins Aguirre (Cameroon 1987–90) FEW RECOGNIZE ME without my trademark Suzuki. Now I have this red Yamaha DT they gave me to replace it. I’m still white, though, or so they keep insisting as I pass by the shouting voices trying to get me to stop to do a favor, chat, or taste the latest in . . .

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REVIEW: Avoid Mosquitoes and Other Impossibilities

Avoid Mosquitoes and Other Impossibilities by Nancy Sellin iUniverse 2009 Reviewed by Leita Kaldi Davis (Senegal 1993-96) Nancy Sellin’s Avoid Mosquitoes and Other Impossibilities is a memoir of her Peace Corps service in Liberia in the 1960s and her life in general, with vivid insights into what it meant to be a young woman of that era.  Being of “a certain age” myself I was painfully reminded of the pressures put upon young women by a male-dominated white society, the experimental phase of contraceptives when we all got fat and grouchy, the naïvete of sexual encounters that were either wanton or wanting, and the secret longing for adventure and liberation. Nancy’s husband, Dale, convinces her to leave Alaska with him to join Peace Corps shortly after their marriage. They both have teaching assignments and while Dale is fulfilled in his structured high school, Nancy struggles with sporadic elementary classes where . . .

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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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