Peace Corps Writers
January 2001

The 40th

We thank these new members of the
Writers & Readers

for their support

Garry Thomas
Mike Tidwell

In This Issue has links to the new articles in this issue of

Resources has the Bibliography of Peace Corps Writers and other resources for both readers and writers.

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So Well Remembered

I’VE BEEN ASKED to “pull together” a selection of readings from the four decades of the Peace Corps for a possible show in Washington,D.C. during the September 2001 NPCA 40th Anniversary Conference. Please send me what you think is the best short piece of writing about the Peace Corps that you have written or have read. The length should be between 500 and 1,000 words and be a gem of description or a very short story that has a beginning, middle, and end. In this issue I am including examples of what I have in mind for the “perfect” piece. Send all your contributions to me at by April 1st. Many thanks.

40th Tour of Peace Corps Readings
On Monday January 15 the first in a series of Returned Peace Corps Volunteer readings took place at HousingWorks Used Books and Café in downtown New York City. This non-profit bookstore provides help for the homeless in New York and all the money raised from the sales of books is devoted to this cause. It was a fitting spot in which to launch our tour of readings by RPCVs in this anniversary year of the Peace Corps.
     Mary-Ann Tirone Smith (Cameroon 1965–67) read the first chapter of her next novel Kill Her, and Peter Hessler (China 1996–98) read from the opening of his Peace Corps book, River Town: Two Years on the Yangtze. Over 125 people attended the reading.
     The next spot on the “40 Years of Peace Corps Writers: The Tour” is in Santa Barbara, California on Tuesday night, February 6 at 7 p.m. Lawrence Grobel (Ghana 1968–71), author of five books including Conversations With Brando and Talking With Michener, and Geraldine Kennedy (Liberia 1962–64), editor of From the Center of the Earth: Stories Out of the Peace Corps. For a full listing of readers at this events, and other planned readings in the upcoming months, check out our the special page (The 40th—Celebrating a Peace Corps Anniversary through the Written Word) on our website.

Some things you’ll find in the January 2001 issue of Peace Corps Writers —

Talking with…
Peter Hessler (China 1996–98) is the writer featured in this issue. Peter, who lives in Beijing, where he is a free-lance writer, is home for a few months to do interviews and readings from his first book.

A Closer Look
Last issue’s heartfelt and wrought “letter home” has brought a response from other Ethiopian RPCVs who were also on the banks of the Baro River in Gambella, Ethiopia, when PCV William Olson lost his life. Steve Buff and his future wife, Evelyn Ashkenaze, recall the event and add details to the account, especially noting that the Peace Corps group was repeatedly warned not to go in the river because a crocodile lived in the vicinity, and how the crocodile was finally killed.

Internet Writing Jobs
Joyce Lombaridi (Chad 1993–95) is a veteran (already!) of the internet world and she outlines “Eleven Things to Know Before Applying for an Internet Job” for everyone interested in writing for the web. This article is an addition to our growing list of resources for RPCV writers.

Who Said
I’m giving up on you. You just aren’t doing your homework. The solution to the November “Who Said . . .?” column — it was the opening from Mary-Ann Tirone Smith’s (Cameroon 1965–67) novel, Lament For A Silver-Eyed Woman published in 1987. So, this will be the last quiz for now, or until, we end up with a t.v. game show and I’m the host.

Letter Home
Betty Coxson (Nigeria 1963-65) who served in Aba, Nigeria, sends us this month’s letter home, actually three letters that all relate to “alleged discourteous attitude” toward a PCV. Most RPCVs have, I’d guess, similar tales to tell about HCN post offices. It was only when we returned home that we began to realize how our postal service suffered from the same lack of customer service we thought we’d only find in the developing world.

And what else?
There are plenty of new reviews, a new listings of recent books, new resources. Read on.

John Coyne

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