Peace Corps Writers
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Literary Type
  Book Magazine, The Magazine for the Reading Life, will feature website and the work of Peace Corps writers in the March issue of the magazine, available in most bookstores. John Coyne (Ethiopia 1962–64), Paul Theroux (Malawi 1963–65), Kent Haruf (Turkey 1965–67) and Bob Shacochis (Eastern Caribbean 1975–76) were interviewed for the article. Book Magazine is also listing all the Peace Corps readings that are occurring across the U.S. in this 40th Anniversary of the Peace Corps. This is the first time that and its predecessor, the newsletter RPCV Writers & Readers, has received attention from a national magazine. Recently Coyne and the website for Peace Corps writers were profiled in two New York publications.
Vulgar Favors Maureen Orth (Columbia 1964–66) special correspondent for Vanity Fair Magazine, and author of Vulgar Favors, about Gianni Versace killer Andrew Cunanan, has an article in the February issue of the magazine on the life of activist, journalist, and photographer Ruth Gruber. Gruber brought 1,000 World War II refugees to America aboard a U.S. military transport ship. That journey, recounted in her book Haven, is now a CBS mini-series.
The Cartographer's Tongue The Cartographer’s Tongue, Poems of the World by Susan Rich (Niger 1984–86) has been selected by the Academy of American Poets for their national Poetry Book Club.
  Mishelle Shepard (Czech Republic 1994–96) recently moved to Phuket, Thailand where she is writing full time. Her articles and photos have appeared in print and online publications like The Madison Business Journal, Transitions Abroad, Prazskie Ogni, FollowThe Rabbit,, and The Global Markets Trader, Some of her articles and photos can be found at her website:
Louisa Every year NPR distributes a special, holiday program called “Chanukah Lights” where commentators Susan Stamberg and Murray Horwitz read a variety of stories, essays and reminiscences involving Chanukah. For many years, “Chanukah Lights” has been the single most widely-carried of all NPR holiday programs. This past December, Simone Zelitch (Hungary 1991–93) was asked to recall the holiday while she was a Volunteer in Hungary.
William Amos (Korea 1979–80) a columnist for the website has recently published his enovel The Seed of Joy based on his experiences as a Volunteer in Korea. The novel, published by Online Originals of London, is the story of a PCV in Korea during times of extreme political turbulence. Go to to access The Seed of Joy.
  Dan Buck (Peru 1967–69) has four new magazine pieces published, all on the region of his Peace Corps service. “Early Photography in Bolivia,” is a survey of 19th century photography in that Andean country, which appeared in a special Latin American issue of History of Photography, vol. 24. No. 2, Summer 2000. “Tales of Glitter or Dust,” the legend of the lost Jesuit gold treasure of Sacambaya, Bolivia, appeared in Americas, June 2000. “Sequels to a Patagonian Journal,” a look at Bruce Chatwin’s travels in Patagonia, was published in Americas, April 2000, and “Tupiza: Gateway to Bolivia,” an essay on a bucolic, little-visited city in southern Potosi, near the Argentine border, came out this January, 2001, also in Americas.
  A long essay by health Volunteer Saral Waldorf (Cameroon 1990–93, Malawi 1994–96, Turkmenistan 1998) entitled “My Time in the Peace Corps” was published in the conservative publication, The Public Interest, in their winter, 2001 issue. Waldorf looks back at the history of the agency over the last 40 years pointing out what is wrong with the Peace Corps and sums up, “I believe the Peace Corps must decide whether its function is to run educational and cultural diversity camps in other people’s countries or, like VSO and Doctors Without Borders, to act as a placement business for professionals who wish to serve overseas. It can’t do both.”
In the Mountains of Heaven President of the International Women’s Democracy Center, Barbara Ferris (Morocco 1980–82) was quoted in the New York Times on December 12, 2000 in “What They’re Reading.” She said Mike Tidwell’s (Zaire 1985–87) new book In the Mountains of Heaven: Tales of Adventure on Six Continents was the book she was reading, saying, “Mike is a Returned Peace Corps Volunteer whose gift of the pen can ignite the sounds, senses and sights of the places he experiences around the world which he so eloquently describes. His ability to ’take you there’ always reminds me of my own experiences as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Morocco.”
  The Library Journal in December 2000 carried a review of Festival of Conception by Craig J. Carrozzi (Colombia 1978–80) saying, “Carrozzi, a travel writer who has lived and worked in Brazil, has written a touristlike account of his experiences at this festival . . . . this entertaining book will be of interest to libraries with large travel collections.”
“Winter Fishtrap” (February 23–25), a workshop for writers which is held at Eagle Cap Chalets at Wallowa Lake, Oregon, is directed by Rich Wandschneider (Turkey 1969–71) and this year features Karen Karbo, author of Diamond Lane and other novels, James R. Spencer, a Nez Perce-Chippewa artisan, educator, and performing artist of American Indian culture, and Tim Sandlin, author of five novels, including Sex and Sunsets and Western Swing. For more information, contact Wandschneider at or visit their website —
  John Flynn (Moldova 1993–95) is one of a diverse group of writers to appear in Street Signs: A Worcester Anthology complied by David Nader and published by BatCity Press. The press can be reached at:
Fishing in the Sky Word has reached us that Don Lawder (Mali 1983–85, 1988–95) passed away in Bamako on December 9. Don, a well known poet before he joined the Peace Corps, is the author of Fishing in the Sky: The Education of Namory Keita, published in 1997. He was buried in Moribabougou, just outside Bamako on the way to Koulikoro. The funeral, according to our Friends of Mali newsletter, was a very moving tribute to him. In June, 1999, Don received the Chevalier de l'Ordre National du Mali, the highest civilian honor in this country. Although he was informed of the award at the time, he did not actually receive his medal. It was awarded to him at his funeral. Ala ka hin'a la. Ala ka dayoro sumaya.
“Kariuki's Notebook” is a new play by Rick Gray (Kenya 1988–90) is being presented in New York. Directed by Sonoko Kawahara, the play runs from February 22 to March 11 at La MaMa Experimental Theatre in their First Floor Theater. The play involves a high school in Kenya that has been shut down in order to make way for a tourist safari bar, but an American Peace Corps Volunteer working at the school refuses to leave. The turmoil that ensues turns colonial stereotypes on their heads and leads a New York soap opera actress on safari to rediscover her passion for theatre. Combining elements of farce and traditional African story-telling, “Kariuki's Notebook” features an African and American cast and a chorus from the Harlem School of the Arts. For more information about the production, La MaMa, and directions to the theater, go to:
     Rick’s “Impossible Safari” was produced last winter at an Off-Off Broadway playhouse in New York. While a Volunteer, Rick taught English at Salient Secondary School in Ol Kalou, Nyandarua District, in the heart of an area famously known among British settlers as the Happy Valley, and where some of the most notorious Mau Mau skirmishes are said to have taken place.
  Exhibitions, a Bainbridge Island (Washington) Arts Council publication has published four poems by Sheila Crofut (Czech Republic 1994–96) in its Winter/Spring 2001 issue.
World Food: Thailand On Friday, February 2, at the Boston restaurant Ambrosia on Huntington, Joe Cummings (Thailand 1977–78) author of Lonely Planet – World Food: Thailand will collaborate with Chef Anthony Ambrose on a Chef’s Tasting Menu which will be created from Cummings’s Asian experiences and Ambrose’s special fusion techniques. This evening is part of Boston Cooks, which is held from January 29 to February 3. The “dine-arounds” are meant to promote Boston’s finest chefs and the authors whose books have been selected for nightly chef-author pairings.

Charlie Smith (Micronesia 1968–70) newest collection of poems, Heroin: And Other Poems, received a long and favorable review in The New York Times Book Review on Sunday, January 28, 2001. This is Smith’s first collection since Before and After (1995) and reviewer David Kirby writes, “Smith’s best poems transcend the issue of addiction and address a larger class of tribulations and that are the DNA of literature precisely because they are so potent and frightening.”
     Also, just out by Smith, a book that is a photographic homage to New York, which he did with photographer Mark Crosby.
  Jerry Adams (Colombia 1963–65) will be delivering a paper at the February meeting of the National Association of Hispanic and Latino Scholars in Houston, a preliminary step to the publishing of his third book, Greasers and Gringos: Old World prejudice in the New World.
  David A. Taylor (Mauritania, 1983–85) writes about culture and the environment for magazines and documentaries. He has written about Amazonians’ relationships with Brazil-nut forests for International Wildlife, and about a global network of mountain communities for Américas and The Atlantic Unbound, as well as documentaries on Thailand, where he and his wife lived from 1990 to 1994. He is working on a book about the varied people and places of the Federal Writers’ Project, after having written an article on the subject for the March 2000 issue of Smithsonian Magazine. His short stories have appeared in The Baltimore Review, William & Mary Review, Fodderwing and elsewhere, and received a 2000 Literary Arts Film Award from the ezine Web Del Sol.
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