First RPCV Writers Workshop Held in Royal Oak, Maryland

This last week, writers from the Peace Corps went to the Shore Retreats on Broad Creek, on the Eastern Shore of the Chesapeake Bay, Maryland to talk about their prose and poetry. Five published RPCV writers led them in a series of discussions, readings, and one-on-one reviews focused on what they are writing today.

The faculty included four award winning Peace Corps writers. They were Marnie Mueller (Ecuador 1963-65) author of three novels and recipient of an American Book Award, the Maria Thomas Award for Outstanding Fiction, Gustavus Myers Outstanding Book Award, New York Public Library Best Books for the TeenageNew York Times Book Review New and Noteworthy in Paperback, and a Barnes and Noble “Discover Great New Writers” choice. Jeanne D’Haem (Somalia 1968-70) an emeritus professor at William Paterson University who has published two prize-winning books and numerous journal articles. The Last Camel won the Paul Cowan prize for non-fiction. Desert Dawn, with Waris Dirie, has been translated into over twenty languages and was on the best seller list in Germany for over a year

Mark Brazaitis (Guatemala 1991-93) is the author of eight books, including The River of Lost Voices: Stories from Guatemala, winner of the 1998 Iowa Short Fiction Award,  He has also won the 2012 Richard Sullivan Prize and the 2013 Devil’s Kitchen Reading Award in Prose. His novel Julia & Rodrigo, won the 2012 Gival Press Novel Award. Mark also wrote the script for the award-winning Peace Corps film How Far Are You Willing to Go to Make a Difference? He is a professor of English at West Virginia University.

Paulette Perhach (Paraguay 2008-10) in 2015 created the Writer’s Welcome Kit, an online course for writers that includes a 55,000-word workbook. Hugo House licenses and sells the course. She had published in the New York TimesELLEVice, Marie Claire, Yoga Journal, NPR, and Cosmopolitan and blogs about writing, business, personal finance and joy at

Attending the four days of the workshop were six published writers and editors seeking guidance on their next book:  David Arnold (Ethiopia 1963-65); Jennifer Seaver (Iran 1966-68); Amanda Noble (Philippines 1976-77); Geri Marr Burdman (Bolivia 1962-64); Prudence Ingerman (Bolivia 1962-64 & Ecuador 1992-96); and Steve Kaffen (Russia 1994-96).

Here are a few snapshots from the week.

The site of our workshop

Enjoying the Sunset (with a drink)

Marnie discussing with Amanda her book


Mark Brazaitis reads one of his award winning stories.

The Class paying close attention.


Matt Losak serves up another great meal.

The “gang” out on the town in St. Michaels

ROW 1 Left to Right: Dave Arnold, Geri Marr Burdman, Amanda Noble, Marnie Mueller, Jennifer Seaver, Steve Kaffen

ROW 2 Left to Right: Prudence Ingerman, Jeanne D’Haem, Paulette Perhach

ROW 3 Left to Right: Mark Brazaitis, John Coyne, Matt Losak


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