Peace Corps Writers
March 2001

The 40th

We thank these new members of the
Writers & Readers

for their support

Bob Gibson
Patricia Edmisten
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.

In the Archives you will find back issues of Peace Corps Writers +


To print the entire January 2001 issue, click on this icon link

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Two Firsts for Peace Corps Writers

Oprah Picks A Novel by RPCV
ICY SPARKS BY GWYN HYMAN RUBIO (Costa Rica 1971–73), a novel that was originally published in hardcover in 1998, and was named a New York Times Notable Book in 1998, has been named the March, 2001 selection for the Oprah Book Club. The novel tells the story of Icy Sparks, a young girl growing up in rural Kentucky in the 1950s. Sparks’s life is dominated by her uncontrollable and inexplicable twitches and cursing tics, which she later discovers is a condition with a name: Tourette’s Syndrome.
     In his March, 2000 review of the book for, Joe Kovacs (Sri Lanka 1997–98) sums up, “The rich details and characters carry us eagerly from one page to another, proving that the tale of a young woman with Tourette Syndrome can be simultaneously painstaking and entertaining.”
      Check out Gwyn’s website:

Book Magazine Features
Book Magazine latest issue (March/April 2001) carries a full-page feature on this website and Peace Corps writers. Featured writers are Paul Theroux (Malawi 1963–65), Bob Shacochis (Eastern Caribbean 1975–76), and Kent Haruf (Turkey 1965-67).
     The article focuses on the phenomenon of Peace Corps writers, the current 40th tour, and the fact that the Peace Corps has produced so many talented novelist, non-fiction writers, and poets. The magazine can be found at large bookstores. The article can also be found at the Book Magazine website — it is the last article on the page.
     Book Magazine is also listing in its calendar the 40 Years of Peace Corps Writers readings being staged by us across the country.

Writers Wanted to Read at 40th Reunion
Would you like to be a part of “40 Years of Peace Corps Writers: The Tour” and read at the 40th Reunion in Washington, D.C. this September 20–23? is organizing “Readings by RPCVs” during the weekend celebration. If you have a Peace Corps story, letter home, poems, or part of your Peace Corps novel that you’d like to share, contact us with the following information.

    Country/Years of Peace Corps service
    Title of Reading

Individual readings will be limited to twenty minutes. Email:

New at the site
An addition to our Resources is a compilation of the books by Peace Corps Volunteers about their Peace Corps experience. We hope that this listing will be both enjoyable for Returned Volunteers to peruse, but will also serve as a helpful resource for Peace Corps applicants that will enable them to learn more about “The toughest job you’ll ever love.”
     We are also beginning the slow process of archiving at this site the back issues of RPCV Wrriters & Readers, the newsletter that was the precursor of For reasons that now seem mysterious, but will explain themselves as you read further, we have started with the January, 1992 issue.

And in the March 2001 issue of Peace Corps Writers —

  • Our interview of the month is a return visit with award winning novelist Norm Rush (Botswana Country Co-Director 1978–83). Norm talks with Ron Singer (Nigeria 1964–67).
  • Linda Meyers Donelson (Cameroon 1965–66, Ghana 1966–67) has a Letter Home from Cameroon, not her “finest hour,” she says.
  • In Closer Look we report on the 1988 movie “Purgatory” that starred Tanya Roberts and featured drugs, Peace Corps women, and sex for sale in prison where the PCVs find themselves. Not your average training film.
  • The famous South American Handbook, first published in 1921, is recalled by Latin American authority, Daniel Buck (Peru 1965-67) in Travel Right.
  • Katherine Jamieson (Guyana 1996-98) writes lovingly about “Telling Time” in Guyana in our A Writer Writes column.
  • Besides that, there’s great gossip in Literary Talk and reviews of the latest books by Thurston Clarke (Tunisia 1968), George Packer (Togo 1982–83), Jeffrey Tayler (Morocco 1988–90; PC Staff/Poland, Uzbekistan 1992–93), and Simone Zelitch (Hungary 1991–93).

    Read on.

John Coyne

P.S. Once again thank you to all writers and readers who have helped the site with book reviews, prose and poetry, and who have dug deep and given us funds to support this effort to further Third Goal of the Peace Corps. Marian Haley Beil and I thank you again for your assistance. You keep us going.

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