Peace Corps writers

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New York RPCVs lead the way
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LIVING BETWEEN IRAQ AND A HARD PLACE by Marty Feess (Jordan)
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2020 Peace Corps Writers’ Marian Haley Beil Award for Best Book Review to Marnie Mueller (Ecuador) for YOU KNOW YOU WANT THIS by Kristen Roupenian
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REASONABLE DOUBT by Phillip Margolin (Liberia)
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George Packer (Togo) . . . “This Is How Biden Loses”
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ERADICATING SMALLPOX: another time, place, virus — Award Winning Book
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2020 Peace Corps Writers Award for Best Travel Book — EUROPE BY BUS by Steve Kaffen (Russia)
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2020 Peace Corps Writers’ Rowland Sherman Award for Best Book of Photography — ALTAMONT 1969 by Bill Owens (Jamaica)
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2020 Peace Corps Writers’ Maria Thomas Award for the Best Book of Fiction — WITH KENNEDY IN THE LAND OF THE DEAD by Will Siegel (Ethiopia)
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2020 Peace Corps Writers Moritz Thomsen Award for Best Book about the Peace Corps Experience — ERADICATING SMALLPOX IN ETHIOPIA edited by James W. Skelton, Jr. et al

New York RPCVs lead the way

Podcast: Peace Corps Stories: The Unofficial Podcast (Apple Podcasts | Google Play) presents an unfiltered, uncensored look at the toughest job you’ll ever love. Each episode features true stories about the Peace Corps, told by returned volunteers reflecting on the thrilling highs, the debilitating lows, the near-death experiences and the crazy adventures from their service in the Peace Corps. https://peacecorpsnyc.org/peace-corps-stories-the-unofficial-podcast/ For those of you who loved Season 1 of Peace Corps Stories: The Unofficial Podcast, we are happy to bring you a new collection of RPCV stories for 2020 and beyond. We’ve published several episodes this year (all from our live shows) and have plans to bring you many more. Subscribe wherever you get your podcasts, or click the link below to listen on our website. If you have a story to tell, let us know at podcast@peacecorpsnyc.org. Story Slams: You ready for this?! Our RPCV Story Slam is a time each year to come . . .

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LIVING BETWEEN IRAQ AND A HARD PLACE by Marty Feess (Jordan)

  IRAQ IS A WAR TORN COUNTRY, and the US is mainly responsible for such a state in the Arab country – but Martin Feess had a different experience in Jordan, and the experience is immortalized in Living Between Iraq and a Hard Place: Peace Corps Volunteers in Jordan, 2005-2007. Marty Feess terms his Jordanian experience a real-life twenty-first-century adventure. In the two years, Marty and his wife Karen Louise (Coote) Feess (Jordan 2005-07) have basked and submerged in the Arab-Muslim culture, embracing the attributes of Jordanian culture and gaining enough experience of a lifetime that’s inscribed in the memoir. Marty Feess narrates how he and his significant other imbibed backwater Jordanian life and forged friendships that grew near and dear while witnessing the turmoil and tumult in which the Middle East is embroiled. Marty Feess writes how his thought process evolved in lieu with all the various issues plaguing . . .

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2020 Peace Corps Writers’ Marian Haley Beil Award for Best Book Review to Marnie Mueller (Ecuador) for YOU KNOW YOU WANT THIS by Kristen Roupenian

  The new Peace Corps Writers’ Best Book Review Award is named in honor of Marian Haley Beil (Ethiopia 1962-64), co-founder and publisher since 1989 of the Peace Corps Writers newsletter, website, and book imprint. Following her tour of service, Marian worked for 4 years in the Office of Reports and Special Studies at Peace Corps Headquarters. She founded the Ethiopia & Eritrea RPCV group in 1991, and later co-founded Rochester RPCVs.   Our first Peace Corps Writers’ Best Book Review Award goes to Marnie Mueller (Ecuador 1963-65) who has authored three novels: Green Fires, The Climate of the Country, and My Mother’s Island, published by Curbstone Press, and currently in-print with Northwestern University Press. She is a winner of the Maria Thomas Prize for Fiction, an American Book Award, The New York Times  New and Noteworthy in Paperback, and Barnes and Noble Discover Great New Writers, among many awards.  She is on the steering . . .

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REASONABLE DOUBT by Phillip Margolin (Liberia)

  A Reasonable Doubt (2020) is the third book in the series of legal thrillers featuring defense lawyer Robin Lockwood by The New York Times bestselling American author Phillip Margolin (Liberia 1965-67). I enjoyed this book and recommend it for your reading list. Click on the links to learn more about the author and his many books. About Philip Margolin I grew up in New York City and Levittown, New York. In 1965, I graduated from The American University in Washington, D.C. with a Bachelor’s Degree in Government. From 1965 to 1967, I was a Peace Corps volunteer in Liberia, West Africa. In 1970, I graduated from New York University School of Law. I went at night during my last two years in law school, and worked my way through by teaching junior high school in the South Bronx in New York City. My first job after law school was a clerkship with Herbert M. . . .

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George Packer (Togo) . . . “This Is How Biden Loses”

George Packer (Togo 1982-83) Staff writer for The Atlantic   Here is a prediction about the November election: If Donald Trump wins, in a trustworthy vote, what’s happening this week in Kenosha, Wisconsin, will be one reason. Maybe the reason. And yet Joe Biden has it in his power to spare the country a second Trump term. Events are unfolding with the inevitable logic of a nightmare. A white police officer shoots a Black man as he’s leaning into a car with his three sons inside — shoots him point-blank in the back, seven times, “as if he didn’t matter,” the victim’s father later says. If George Floyd was crushed to death by depraved indifference, Jacob Blake is the object of an attempted execution. Somehow, he survives — but his body is shattered, paralyzed from the waist down, maybe for life. Kenosha explodes in rage, the same rage that’s been igniting around the . . .

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ERADICATING SMALLPOX: another time, place, virus — Award Winning Book

Houston lawyer James Skelton recalls his stint with the Peace Corps  By Andrew Dansby  Houston Chronicle  August 23, 2020 James Skelton finished his book about a deadly virus long before a global pandemic put epidemiology in the news. His intention, rather, was to tell the story of a group of Peace Corps volunteers dealing with all manner of health and logistical challenges. The book’s title covers it well: “Eradicating Smallpox in Ethiopia: Peace Corps Volunteers’ Accounts of Their Adventures, Challenges and Achievements.” This month, the book won the Moritz Thomsen Peace Corps Experience Award, an annual honor for Peace Corps volunteers or staffers who best depict life in the Peace Corps. “Eradicating Smallpox in Ethiopia” proved a complicated task for Skelton and his co-authors and co-editors. It comprises 18 essays written about efforts between the World Health Organization and the Peace Corps to rid the African nation of the disease . . .

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2020 Peace Corps Writers Award for Best Travel Book — EUROPE BY BUS by Steve Kaffen (Russia)

  Europe By Bus: 50 Bus Trips and City Visits Steve Kaffen (Russia 1994-96) 371 pages SK Journeys Publisher May 2019 $16.00 (paperback)   Reviewed by Craig Storti (Morocco (1970-72) Europe by bus? Really? Does anyone travel by bus who doesn’t have to? Aren’t buses for commuters? OK, tour buses, for sure. But Steve Kaffen is not talking about tour buses; he’s talking about buses as in the way go to from one city to another—all across Europe, for heaven’s sake! Who would do that when you can take a nice, comfortable train? I was skeptical. Can you tell? But then I’m an American, and intercity bus travel is not nearly as common in the US; we have cars for that sort of thing. But one of the revelations in Kaffen’s book is how well-developed intercity bus travel is in Europe, within the same country and from one country to . . .

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2020 Peace Corps Writers’ Rowland Sherman Award for Best Book of Photography — ALTAMONT 1969 by Bill Owens (Jamaica)

  Rowland Scherman was the first photographer for the Peace Corps in 1961, documenting the work of Volunteers all over the world. His photos helped define the image of the agency we know today. He became a freelance photographer in 1963. His photographs have appeared in Life, Look, National Geographic, Time, Paris Match, and Playboy among many others.     Altamont 1969 Bill  Owens (Jamaica 1964–66), photographer Damiani Publisher May 2019 $26.99 (Hardcover)     On April 15th of 2019, The New York Times published he following article about Bill and photographing at Altamont: “50 Years After Altamont: The End of the 1960s.”   50 Years After Altamont: The End of the 1960s A reluctant rock concert attendee, Bill Owens nevertheless photographed the disastrous 1969 music festival Altamont and the close of an era. A half-century ago, 1969 capped a radical, idealistic decade that saw the rise of the hippie generation and the . . .

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2020 Peace Corps Writers’ Maria Thomas Award for the Best Book of Fiction — WITH KENNEDY IN THE LAND OF THE DEAD by Will Siegel (Ethiopia)

  THE MARIA THOMAS FICTION AWARD, first presented in 1990, is named after the novelist Roberta Worrick (Ethiopia 1971–73) whose pen name was Maria Thomas. Roberta lost her life in August 1989, while working in Ethiopia for a relief agency. She went down in the plane crash that also killed her husband, Thomas Worrick (Ethiopia 1971–73), and Congressman Mickey Leland of Texas. Mrs. Worrick’s novel, Antonia Saw the Oryx First, published by SoHo Press  . . . in 1987, drew critical praise for its depiction of the tensions between colonial whites and Africans on a continent buffeted by changes. After the success of the novel, Soho Press issued Come to Africa and Save Your Marriage, Mrs. Worrick’s collection of short stories in which she told of the difficulties of various people — Peace Corps Volunteers, foreign academics, Indians, American blacks and white hunters left behind by colonial empires — in finding . . .

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2020 Peace Corps Writers Moritz Thomsen Award for Best Book about the Peace Corps Experience — ERADICATING SMALLPOX IN ETHIOPIA edited by James W. Skelton, Jr. et al

  THE PEACE CORPS EXPERIENCE AWARD was initiated in 1992, and it has been presented annually to a Peace Corps Volunteer or staff member, past or present for the best depiction of life in the Peace Corps — be it daily life, project assignment, travel, host country nationals, other Volunteers, readjustment. Initially entries were short works including personal essays, storys, novellas, poems, letters, cartoons, and songs. In 1997, this award was renamed to honor Moritz Thomsen (Ecuador 1965–67) whose Living Poor has been widely cited as an outstanding telling of the essence of the Peace Corps experience. Since 2009, memoirs are also considered for The Moritz Thomsen Peace Corps Experience Award.   Eradicating Smallpox in Ethiopia: Peace Corps Volunteers’ Accounts of Their Adventures, Challenges and Achievements Editors: Gene L. Bartley (Ethiopia 1970–72, 1974–76), John Scott Porterfield (Ethiopia 1971–73), Alan Schnur (Ethiopia 1971–74), James W. Skelton, Jr. (Ethiopia 1970–72) Peace Corps Writers 486 . . .

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