Peace Corps Writers
Writing awards
To promote and encourage Peace Corps writers to tell their stories as a way of educating Americans about the developing nations of the world, we present awards each year at the annual National Peace Corps Association Conference. This past August the conference was held in St. Paul, Minnesota and our awards were presented to the following writers.

Maria Thomas Fiction Award
Richard Wiley served as a PCV in Korea from 1967–69. A professor of creative writing at the University of Nevada at Las Vegas, he has lived and worked in Japan, Korea, Nigeria, and has set a novel in each of those locales. His latest, Ahmed’s Revenge, which is set in Africa, is the winner of this year’s Maria Thomas Fiction Award.

Paul Cowan Non-fiction Award
Reviewing An Inn Near Kyoto, winner of the 1999 Paul Cowan Non-fiction Award, our reviewer writes: “The best travel writing whets the appetite of the traveler, and this collection pulls you across oceans, from cities to rural lands, effectively creating the texture of place, the mysteries new places present to the foreigner, the experience of facing down your own values. These writers know how to observe.”
     Kathleen Coskran, coeditor of this winning collection of writings by American women abroad, is an accomplished writer herself. I included one of her essays in my collection of Peace Corps travel writings, Going Up-Country.
     An Inn Near Kyoto is the second collection of travel writing by women that she has co-edited with C.W. Truesdale for New Rivers Press.

Moritz Thomsen Peace Corps Experience Award
Every year, we also present an award to the best one-page description of life in the Peace Corps. This award honors Ecuador Volunteer Moritz Thomsen, whose Peace Corps book, Living Poor, is widely cited as the best account of Peace Corps life. This year the winning essay is “White” by Lynn Marshall, who is an agricultural extension agent today in Mali. It appears in this issue.

Speaking of the NPCA Conference . . .
The conference was wonderful and our workshops were very well attended with an average 75 at each session. Special thanks to the Peace Corps writers who attended, were members of the workshop panels and read from their works. They include: Mark Brazaitis, Craig Carrozzi, Kathleen Coskran, Geraldine Kennedy, Kathleen Moore, Marnie Mueller, Michael Quinn Patton, Kitty Thuermer, Richard Wiley.
     One of the workshops was “How to Write a Novel in 100 Days or Less” which I presented. For those who missed it, we shall be publishing the text of it here at our site. The first installment is in this issue of PeaceCorpsWriters.

New in September
In this September issue are book reviews, news about Peace Corps writers, new books by RPCVs, our travel column, and information about opportunities for writers.
     O f special note is the Writer Writes feature, which this issue has an essay entitled, “How We Talk about the Servants: Isak Dinesen and Her Farah, Me and My Habra,” by Mary Beth Simmons. Our Talking With interview is with Dr. Fritz Fischer, professor of History at the University of Northern Colorado and author of Making Them Like Us, a new academic study of the Peace Corps during the Sixties.
     Also in this issue is the first installment of “How to Write A Novel in 100 or Less.” This day-by-day account of getting your novel written was presented at the NPCA Conference and is being presented in for those of you who were unable to attend the workshop.

New at our site
Just added to our Links of Interest page (which you can also get to through our Resources page), is a listing of web sites of Peace Corps writers. Do visit. (Writers: If you have a web site and would like us to put in a link to it, send the URL to

Gifts for the website
Our new website will be less expensive to produce than our newsletter. However, it still costs money to be on-line. If you wish to give a gift to support the website, please contact Marian Haley Beil at
     We thank all of you who write for the newsletter and hope that more and more RPCVs will find ways to support our efforts.

And now . . .
more details about the contents of the September, 1999 issue of PeaceCorpsWriters go to In this issue.

John Coyne, editor

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