Peace Corps Writers
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Literary Type
  A new one-hour documentary film “John Gardner: Uncommon American” is making the rounds of PBS stations. Look for this fine film produced by Tom Simon, Working Dog Productions, for the 21st Century Initiative. The film is narrated by Richard Dreyfuss and details the life of this quintessential American hero, a man who has transformed this nation through ideas and action that has improved the lives of millions of Americans and shaken up American politics. At 89, John Gardner may be the most important and influential public figure never to write his memoirs or have his biography told, until now.
 The Circumference of Arrival Sandra Meek’s (Botswana 1989–91) book-length collection of poetry, Nomadic Foundations, which is based primarily upon her Peace Corps experience, has been accepted for publication by Elixir Press and will be published in the summer of 2002.
     Also, a poem from Sandra’s chapbook The Circumference of Arrival, entitled “Evolution,” was featured on the website Poetry Daily ( on September 1, 2001, and it will remain in the archives for one year.
  Charlotte D’Aigle Berney (Uganda 1966–68) published “Peace Corpse” in the November, 2001 issue of Alfred Hitchcocks’ Mystery Magazine. Charlotte taught school in the Peace Corps and the story is based on a real incident that occurred during a student riot. Today Charlotte is an editor for Cowboys and Indians magazine. and Peace Corps writers in general were featured in an article entitled “Peace Corps Lit” in the Sunday, September 9, 2001 issue of Book World of the Washington Post. The article, written by Linton Weeks, highlighted the writers who have attended the NPCA September Conference in Washington, D.C.
     Among the writers mentioned were Mark Brazaitis (Guatemala 1991–93), Marnie Mueller (Ecuador 1963–65), Norman Rush, Botswana (CD 1978–83), Bob Shacochis (Eastern Caribbean 1975–76), Melanie Sumner (Senegal 1988–90), Paul Theroux (Malawi 1963–65), and Richard Wiley (Korea 1967–69).

Two of Cristina Kessler’s (Honduras 1973-75, Kenya 1975-76, Seychelles 1976-78) books have won awards recently. Jubela was given a Gold Seal Award by the Oppenheim Toy Portfolio 2001List, which chooses the best books, videos and educational toys for kids. This list will be launched on the Today Show in the fall.
   Another book, My Great-Grandmother’s Gourd has been named an Honor Book for the African Studies Association's 2001 Children's Africana Book Awards. This honor and the awards for winning titles in the Older Reader and Young Children categories are presented annually to the authors and illustrators of the most outstanding children's books on Africa.
“Color” photos by Bill Owens (Jamaica 64-66) were show earlier this year at the Paul Morris Gallery in New York. Bill also gave a short talk at the gallery about his work.
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