Peace Corps Writers — May 2001

    The 40th anniversary of the Peace Corps will be celebrated in Washington, D.C. from Thursday, September 20th through Sunday, September 23rd. The National Peace Corps Association (NPCA), the Peace Corps, and Peace Corps Writers are planning a variety of activities, programs and volunteer readings at the conference.

    Panels for writers
    Peace Corps Writers has scheduled nine panels on writing to take place over the long weekend. The scheduled panels are:

      The Peace Corps Novel as Literature
      Writing Your Peace Corps Story (Fiction or Non-Fiction)
      Writing Children Books
      Write! Edit! Publish!
      Travel & Write
      Poetry From the Peace Corps Experience
      Publishing on the Web
      Environmental Writing
      Publishing Translations

    We are still looking for a few published writers to fill out our panels on Environmental Writing, Publishing Translation, Poetry From the Peace Corps Experience, Writing Children Books, and Travel & Write. If you feel you have something to contribute as a panelist, contact me at:

    RPCV readings
    On Friday and Saturday readings by RPCVs will be given. Peace Corps Volunteers can read letters home, journal entries, essays, poetry or prose. All Volunteers and Returned Volunteers are welcome to read for 10 minutes at our venue in the Hotel Washington, the Headquarters of the conference. To schedule your reading, contact Joe Kovacs (Sri Lanka 1997–98 ) at: Send Joe a one-line description of what you will read.

    Published writers
    We are in the process of making arrangements so that Peace Corps writers may have their books sold at the Politics & Prose Bookstore booth at the conference. Once the plans are finalized and a contact person is designated at P & P, we shall post that information here.
         Writers will also be able to schedule book signings at the bookstore booth.
         If you would like to read at the conference, please let Joe Kovacs know at and send him a one-line description of what you will read.

    Nominations for the RPCV 2000 Writers Awards on now being sought. The catagories are:

      Children’s books

         Nominated books must have been published in 2000. Please send your nomination(s) to John Coyne at:

    For more information about the conference including registration, hotels and a schedule, go to the NPCA’s 40th Anniversary web page.
         Marian Haley Beil and I hope to see you in D.C.

    We're now in the schmata business
    You can now buy a “Peace Corps Writers” t-shirt — short- or long-sleeved — or mug. We have set up an account with that handles the entire operation — printing, selling, shipping. Go to to see what is available. Hey — how about wearing our t-shirt to the 40th?

    In This Issue
    For this issue of Peace Corps Writers, we interviewed Joe Cummings (Thailand 1977–78) — another successful travel writer who has turned his Peace Corps experience into a full-time writing career.
         Daniel Buck (Peru 1965–67) is back with another Travel Right. Dan gives us background information on British writer Bruce Chatwin’s well-known and controversial book In Patagonia.
         Roger Landrum (Nigeria 1961–63) and Tom Hebert (Nigeria 1962–64) remember the creative contributions made by film director, editor and writer, musician, and songwriter David Schickele (Nigeria 1961–63) in two essays.
         A Writer Writes is actually by three writers — all poets — Bill Coolidge (Bolivia 1966–68), Kinney Thiele (Sierra Leone 1985–87), and Meagan Pfeltz (Dominica 2000–01),
         The legendary Deputy Director to Somalia in the early days of the Peace Corps sends us a Letter Home that he wrote in 1965 from Hargeisa.
          And we received two wonderful Letters to the Editor. One from Mary-Ann Tirone Smith (Cameroon 1965–67) and another from John Taylor (Turkey 1968–70) in Australia, recalling his tour in Turkey. Both letters are in response to pieces that they read on our website.
         And in addition, we have four new book reviews, Literary Talk, and some very useful new email addresses for writers.
         Readers — start your engines.

    John Coyne