Peace Corps Writers
March 2002

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40th Anniversary Celebration redux

Writing workshops at NPCA Conference
In this issue, you will find a list of the 11 writing workshop panels that will present at the June 20 to 23 National Peace Corps Association Conference in Washington D.C. at the Omni Shoreham Hotel. If you haven’t heard about this celebration of the 41st (nee 40th) anniversary of the Peace Corps, and would like to attend, check out the NPCA website at

Writing awards will be presenting its annual awards for outstanding fiction, non-fiction, poetry and travel books written by Peace Corps writers during 2000 and 2001. Also, an outstanding piece of short writing that best captures the Peace Corps experience will be recognized.

Peace Corps Readings will provide an opportunity for RPCVs to read from their journals, poems, fiction or non-fiction about a Peace Corps (or other international) experience. Each reader will be limited to 10 minutes. If you would like to participate in the readings, please contact our Readings Coordinator, Joe Kovacs, at

Buying and selling books
Washington independent bookseller Politics & Prose will have a booth at the Conference Bazaar where they will sell books by Peace Corps writers. This will present readers with an opportunity to purchase many of the books that you learn about here. The Bazaar, which will be in the Regency Ballroom of the Omni Shoreham, will be open Friday, June 21 from 9a.m. to 7p.m. and Saturday, June 22 from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Writers of books distributed by wholesalers — Politics & Prose will sell your books at it’s booth. To have your book sold at this booth, please send to Marian Beil at by June 1.:

  • your name
  • your country and years of PC service
  • book title
  • publisher
  • book ISBN
  • book wholesaler
  • your mailing address,
  • your email address
  • your phone number

Writers of books NOT distributed by wholesalers — Because Politics & Prose does not handle most self-published books, print-on-demand books, chapbooks, small press books or out-of-print books (i.e., books that are not distributed by wholesalers), will have a booth at the Bazaar that will provide the opportunity to authors of such books to sell them at the conference as well. The selling of these books will be handled entirely by the individual authors (or their representative). Additionally, authors will be responsible for getting their books to the conference, storing them, etc.
     If you would like to sell (and sign) your books at the booth, you need to let us know what times you will be at the booth doing so. We will post when the selling/signings will take place, as well as announce the information at our workshops. Please send the following information to Marian Beil at by June 10:

  • your name
  • your country and years of PC service
  • book title
  • your mailing address,
  • your email address
  • your phone number
  • the time(s) you will be selling/signing your books at our booth.

Book signings
Those writers who will be selling their books at the booth will be available to sign them at the same time.
     For those authors whose books will be sold at the Politics & Prose booth, you are certainly invited to have book signings at our booth as well. To have the time posted that you will be available for a signing, send that information to Marian as well.

In this issue of Peace Corps Writers
Talking With

Years ago, when I was a student at Saint Louis University, one of the really smart undergraduates was a kid from Brooklyn, Peter McDonough, who, with his brother Tom, were the Irish literary geniuses on campus. Peter then became, if not the first, then one of the first graduates of that urban Jesuit university to join the Peace Corps. He went to Bangladesh (then East Pakistan) in mid-1961. Peter, who is now a professor of Political Science at Arizona State University, has co-authored a new book on the Jesuits and we interviewed him about Passionate Uncertainty that traces the transformation of the Society of Jesus.

Tales of Wisdom and Cunning
In this issue, we are also publishing the first (of many, we hope) folktales collected by Peace Corps writers over the last forty plus years. This tale comes from Melanie Wasserman (Niger 1994–96), who is now a doctoral student in health policy and administration at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, focusing on immigrant health. In the Peace Corps, Melanie worked as a nutritionist. It was in the village of Azerori where she first heard the tale of “The Calabash Princess.”

And more
In addition to the list of Recently Published Books by Peace Corps Writers, reviews of four new RPCV books, Literary Type, etc., this issue has an essay by Bill Coolidge who recalls his time in Bolivia. The essay is entitled “The Loneliness of a Peace Corps Volunteer,” and can be found in A Writer Writes.
     To read . . .

— John Coyne

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