Peace Corps Writers
Want to order one of the books mentioned in Literary Type? Just click on the cover.
Literary Type and Politics & Prose, the famous independent Washington bookstore will host an evening of “Peace Corps Writings” at 7 p.m. on January 10, 2000.
     Reading from their own works will be Karen DeWitt (Ethiopia 1966–68), Mark Jacobs (Paraguay 1978–1980), Maureen Orth (Colombia 1964–66), Mike Tidwell (Zaire 1985–87). They will be introduced by John Coyne (Ethiopia 1962–64), editor of
     Politics & Prose is located at 5015 Connecticut Avenue NW. in DC.
David Schickele (Nigeria 1961–63) passed away recently. Schickele, a film director and musician, died of brain cancer on October 31st in San Francisco. In the Peace Corps, he taught English at the University of Nigeria. His first feature film, “Bushman,” was about an African who moves to San Francisco and must integrate his persona, tribal and racial identities into his new life. It won the Best First Feature prize at the Chicago International Film Festival. In 1964 he made the first Peace Corps documentary film about the Peace Corps, “Give Me a Riddle.”. His last film, “Tuscarora” was completed in 1992.
The novel Plainsong by Kent Haruf (Turkey 1965–67) was among the finalists for the 50th annual National Book Awards. Jeff Martin (Papua New Guinea 1989–90) interviews Haruf in this issue’s Talking With column. Plainsong
Kinky Friedman (Borneo 1967–69) is back with another mystery novel that stars himself. Spanking Watson received a less than warm review from The New York Times Books on Sunday, November 14th. The Times sums up its review with “we are treated to too many lesbian jokes, cute asides about cats, double-entendre dialogue that annoys rather than entertains and a plot so thin you could slip it under the door.” Kirkus Reviews, however, thinks that out of the dozen novels Kinky has written this is the first “in which the plot doesn’t interrupt the flow of laugh-out-loud jokes, because the whole plot is one big joke. Solid gold for fans, and the only Kinky adventure non-fans will ever need.”
Poet Susan Rich (Niger 1984–86) recently published in the spring issue of DoubleTake Magazine a poem called “Springbreak” which is subtitled “Peace Corps Niger.” She has a book of poems coming out in April from White Pine Press. It is entitled The Cartographer’s Tongue/Poems of the World. Recently back from South Africa, Rich is now teaching writing, global studies and international literature at a community college in Seattle.
Joyce Lombardi (Chad 1993–95), Channel Editor at the new website had a travel piece in on November 12th. Entitled “Dancing Under the Mango Tree,” the article is her account of meeting up with a “bad boy” at a dance in Bessada, Chad.
Mark Brazaitis (Guatemala 1991–93), author of the award winning River of Lost Voices: Stories from Guatemala, has just won a $20,000 writing grant from the National Endowment for the Arts. The award was one of thirty-five given this year by the NEA. (Buy this book)
The Fall 1999 Seneca Review has a long poem “Fray Pareja’s Question: A Timuquan Midwife Responds” by Keith Cartwright (Senegal 1983–85). Cartwright, who teaches at Roanoke College has one book of poems to his credit, Saint-Louis: A Wool Strip-cloth for Sekou Dabo which is about his Senegal experiences and the death of his Senegalese counterpart.
     This Senegalese friend is also a major figure in Sue Lowerre’s (Senegal 1985–87) book about her Peace Corps experience, Under the Neem Tree, in which Cartwright also appears. Some of Cartwright’s poems from Saint-Louis will be appearing in the Carnegie-Mellon Press anthology American Poetry: The Next Generation due out in the spring of 2000.
     Previously, his poems have appeared in Shenandoah, Yemassee, Seneca Review, Blackwater Review, Kentucky Poetry Review, Zone 3, Catalyst, The Reaper, Louisiana Literature, The Distillery, and New Laurel Review. Cartwright’s dissertation in comparative literature from Indiana University is under contract with the University of Kentucky Press. It is entitled Reading African into American Literature: Senegambian Roots, Creole Routes, Garrulous Ghosts.
Two RPCV writers are among the finalists in the Inaugural 1999 Book Award from The New Yorker. On the short list for non-fiction is Bob Shacochis (Eastern Caribbean 1975–76), who in 1999 wrote Immaculate Invasion. Plainsong by Kent Haruf (Turkey 1965–67) made the fiction list.
     This is the first time in nearly seventy-five years of publishing that The New Yorker, a magazine that prizes literary excellence, will award prizes to books with that same quality. The awards have been nicknamed the “Remnicks,” as they were instituted under the watch of The New Yorker editor-in-chief (since 1998) David Remnick. The winners will be selected by readers of The New Yorker who received their ballots in the November 22nd “Cartoon” issue. The announcement of winners will be made on Valentine’s Day 2000, which coincides with the release of The New Yorker’s 75th anniversary issue.
     You can vote by phone, fax, or E-mail. The deadline is January 14, 2000. So please vote for our RPCV writers.
Passionfruit is a new travel magazine launched by RPCV Michele Glode Jin (Paraguay 1991–94) and her journalism graduate school friend at the University of California, Berkeley, Bonnie Eslinger. Both editors saw a need to have a travel magazine that caters to women. Jin believes that women have different travel experiences than men. During her tour in Paraguay, she noticed that men were unable to connect with the female realm of other cultures because of many areas the sexes were still segregated. Passionfruit started as a Web site trying to reach out to women travelers for stories and issues that might interest them. Doing an online reader survey helped them put together their first issue, which was launched in June. Recently they signed a deal with Borders Books to sell their magazine. Already they are selling Passionfruit to a number of independent bookstores in the Bay Area, Los Angeles, New York and Seattle. The editors are looking for travel pieces by RPCV women. And they pay real money for articles. Look them up at: Passionfruit
Jo Manning’s (Philippines 1961–62) soon to be published novel, The Reluctant Guardian, received good pre-publication reviews from Publisher’s Weekly and Library Journal.
The December 1999 issue of Talk Magazine features a piece on actor Robin Williams written by Paul Theroux (Malawi 1963–65).
     In that same issue of Talk, an article entitled “To Conversations That Changed the World” tells of — among other conversations — President Kennedy's famous 1959 telephone call to Coretta Scott King after her husband had been sentenced by a Georgia judge to work on a road gang because he had been found guilty of a minor traffic offense.
     That call was suggested by Harris Wofford (Peace Corps/Washington & Ethiopia Country Director 1962–67) a Kennedy advisor in 1959. News of Kennedy's call spread in the black community and on Election Day, African-American voters cast their ballots overwhelmingly for Kennedy. Without them Kennedy would have lost to Nixon.
Home | Back Issues | Resources | Archives | Site Index | Search | About us | To contact us

Bibliography of Peace Corps Writers | PC writers by country of service

E-mail the with comments
or to be added to the new-issue notice list.
Copyright © 2008, (formerly RPCV Writers & Readers)
All rights reserved.