Creative writing program for Peace Corps writers
The University of Nevada, Las Vegas (UNLV) and the Peace Corps have created a Masters International/MFA program for creative writers who want to serve in the Peace Corps, or who have been Peace Corps Volunteers. This is the first such program for Peace Corps writers and was spearheaded by Richard Wiley (Korea 196769), UNLV English professor and the director of the MFA program.
Our MFA program is committed to the idea that living in a foreign country for a period of time is invaluable to a writer, says Wiley. This venture with the Peace Corps gives our students another avenue for completing their overseas requirement while at the same time providing a worthy service.
RPCVs who have completed their Peace Corps tour and want to pursue an MFA in creative writing will be able to use that experience to fulfill the same requirement, if they meet the criteria to be accepted into the MFA program.
The Peace Corps track of the MFA program will be available to students beginning this fall. Generally, the MFA program is a three-year program, with students required to spend one semester living in a non-English-speaking country. Students choosing the Peace Corps track, however, would spend two years at UNLV and two years in the Peace Corps.
If you wish any additional material on this MFA program at UNLV, call Richard Wiley at 702.895.3471. Tell him Coyne sent you.
New summer writing workshop for RPCVs
Books may be nominated by their authors, or their readers. All nominations must be received by May 1, 2000. Send nominations to me at:
A fourth award, the Peace Corps Experience Award will be given for the best one-page description of life in the Peace Corps. It may be a personal essay, short story, poem, letter, song lyrics, or cartoon. The subject matter may be any aspect of the Peace Corps experience: daily life, assignment, travel, host country nationals, other Volunteers, readjustment after the Peace Corps. The requirements are that the submission(s) have a title and be presented on one side of an 8 1/2" x 11" sheet of paper.
New at PeaceCorpsWriters.org
About this issue
Africa Shaped Him
I remember a particular day in Mozambique, in a terrible little country town, getting a haircut from a Portuguese barber. He had come to the African bush from rural Portugal to be a barber. . . . This barber did not speak English, I did not speak Portuguese, yet when I addressed his African servant in Chinyanja, his own language, the Portuguese man said in Portuguese, Ask the bwana what his Africans are like. And that was how we held a conversation the barber spoke Portuguese to the African, who translated it into Chinyanja for me; and I replied in Chinyanja, which the African kept translating into Portuguese for the barber. The barber kept saying and the African kept translating things like, I cant stand the blacks theyre so stupid and bad-tempered. But theres no work for me in Portugal. It was grotesque, it was outrageous, it was the shabbiest, darkest kind of imperialism. I could not believe my good luck. In many parts of Africa in the early 1960s it was the nineteenth century, and I was filled with the urgency to write about it.
In this issue of our on-line newsletter, we look at the Peace Corps years of Paul Theroux and why he was separated from the agency months before he completed his tour.
What else is new?
John Coyne, editor