Peace Corps Writer Awards for 2016


The Paul Cowan Non-Fiction Award

First given in 1990 this Award was named to honor Paul Cowan, a Peace Corps Volunteer who served in Ecuador. Cowan wrote The Making of An Un-American about his experiences as a Volunteer in Latin America in the sixties. A longtime activist and political writer for The Village Voice, Cowan died of leukemia in 1988.

Winner of the 2016 Paul Cowan Non-Fiction Award 

The Great Surge: The Ascent of the Developing World
by Steven Radelet (Western Samoa 1981-83)


The Maria Thomas Fiction Award

This Award is named after the novelist Maria Thomas [Roberta Worrick (Ethiopia 1971–73)] who was the author of a well-reviewed novel and two collections of short stories all set in Africa. She lost her life in August, 1989, while working in Ethiopia for a relief agency. She went down in the plane crash that killed Congressman Mickey Leland of Texas.

Winner of the Maria Thomas Fiction Award for 2016

by Ellen Urbani (Guatemala 1991-92)


The Moritz Thomsen Peace Corps Experience Award

In 1992, the Peace Corps Experience Award was initiated. It is presented annually to a Peace Corps Volunteer or staff member, past or present for the best short description of life in the Peace Corps. It can be a personal essay, story, poem, letter, cartoon or song. The subject matter can be any aspect of the Peace Corps experience — daily life, assignment, travel, host country nationals, other Volunteers, readjustment.

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.

Winner of the Moritz Thomsen Peace Corps Experience award for 2016

Marrying Santiago
by Suzanne Adam (Colombia 1964-66)


The Award for Outstanding Poetry Book

In 1997, the first annual award for an outstanding poetry book by a Peace Corps writer was presented.

Winner for the Outstanding Poetry Book for 2016

Bartram’s Garden
by Eleanor Stanford (Cape Verde 1998-2000)


The Award for Best Travel Writing

The  best travel book award was first presented in 2001.

Winner for the Best Travel Book for 2016

Crocodile Love: Travel Tales from an Extended Honeymoon
by Joshua Berman (Nicaragua 1998-2000)


The Award for Best Short Story Collection

This award is given for the first time this year to recognize outstanding short stories written by RPCVs.

The winner of the Award for Best Short Story Collection for 2016

 King of the Gypsies: Stories
by Lenore Myka (Romania 1994-96)

The Editors Special Award

This award is given to a writer in our community who has published a significant book that does not fit into any of our other awards categories, but deserves recognition.

The winner of the Editors Special Award for 2016


Meeting the Mantis: Searching for a Man in the Desert and Finding the Kalahari Bushmen
 by John Ashford (Botswana 1990–92)


To purchase these award winning books from, click on the book cover or the bold book title, and Peace Corps Worldwide — an Amazon Associate — will receive a small remittance that will help support the site and these annual Peace Corps Writers awards.


Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>

Copyright © 2022. Peace Corps Worldwide.