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Bait & Switch with the Peace Corps
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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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When I was Imus in the Morning
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RPCV Writer from Belize
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New RPCV Book
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Light-Horse Harry Cooper
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Can the Peace Corps be far behind?
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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

Bait & Switch with the Peace Corps

For twenty plus years, Congress has been voting to double the size of the Peace Corps. They vote yes, then they don’t vote (on a separate bill) to fund the increase. Bait and switch. Whatever hope there is to increase the number of Peace Corps Volunteers serving overseas must come from the top, from the president. I hope (and expect) that  our new president will double its number. What is important is not that the Peace Corps is bigger, but that more Americans have the opportunity to serve others in other lands, and that host country nationals learn ‘up close and personal’ what Americans are really like. Peace Corps Volunteers are a different breed of Americans. They come into a village or community and live at the level of the people. They learn the language and they learn the host culture. They unpack their bags and they stay for two years. They become . . .

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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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When I was Imus in the Morning

Like many of us, I wake up in the morning to Imus. Lately he has been talking about Netjets and flying around America. He swears by Netjets. And if I had his money, I would swear by them, and let them fly me around America. And back in the mid-sixties in the highlands of Ethiopia I did a lot of flying on Ethiopia’s small fleet of single engine prop planes, piloted by young French guys on contracts with the airlines. It was difficult even in the best of weather to fly over the high plateaus of the Empire, with its sudden drafts of air, high altitudes, and only a few tarmac runways. But it was fun and also breathtaking to sail over the landscape, to see clusters of tukul compounds spotting high, dry ridges, like birthmarks on the African horizon. I was the APCD in Ethiopia back then and had as my responsibility . . .

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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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Light-Horse Harry Cooper

Harry Cooper is in many ways the forgotten man of professional golf. He never won the Masters, the PGA or the U.S. Open. But for three decades, beginning in the Twenties, he played some of the best, and fastest, rounds of golf on the PGA Tour, winning more than 30 tournaments, culminating in 1937, when he won nine times and was both the leading money winner ($14,000) and winner of the Vardon Trophy for the best scoring average. Born in England in 1904, he moved when he was a child with his father, a golf pro, to Texas where he grew up to win the Texas PGA Championship in 1922 and 1923. His first big win, however, was the inaugural Los Angeles Open in 1926. It was here that he was nicknamed “Light-Horse” by the famous journalist and short story writer, Damon Runyon. Damon wrote that he needed a racehorse . . .

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Can the Peace Corps be far behind?

The President has just named on of his campaign advisors to be the director of Obama’s Faith-Based Initiatives. My guess is that within days the Peace Corps will have a new Director as Obama is moving on to making the second and third level appointments for his administration. My guess is the Peace Corps Director will be 1) a woman, 2) a minority, 3) someone from Chicago, 4) someone from Obama’s campaign, 5) a former PCV, 6) someone who has paid all his/her taxes! Let’s see how close I come. P. S. No, I have no idea who it will be.

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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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