from the Peace Corps
Peace Corps Writers has agreed to edit a collection of Peace Corps letters to be published as part of the celebration of the 50th anniversary of the Peace Corps. We are happy to say we will be advised in this project by Andrew Carroll, editor of the best selling books of “war letters,” featuring the extraordinary correspondence of American soldiers from many eras. Andrew Carroll is the Executive Director of the American Poetry & Literacy Project, a nonprofit organization he co-founded with the late Nobel laureate Joseph Brodsky, which distributes free books throughout the country to promote literacy.
Letters Home From Peace Corps will be one way for Peace Corps Writers to preserve the history of the Peace Corps. We believe that personal correspondence offers a valuable insight into the experience we all shared. Letters and emails to family and friends are treasured documents that we must save. Your letters home tell a story, and with this book, we hope to preserve your story as expressed in your own words for posterity, and we ask you to share them with us.
While we prefer to see previously unpublished material, letters and/or emails that have already appeared in local newspapers, self-published books, and/or family web sites are all acceptable.
Selecting your letters for submission
In selecting a letter (or email) to be considered for publication in the book, we ask that you choose it thus: Would a reader find the letter intriguing? . . . dDramatic? . . . hHumorous? Historic? Insightful? If you can answer yes to one of these questions, send it.
We will select the very best letters that tell the story through the eyes of PCVs and Staff of the Peace Corps since its beginnings in 1961.
Your letters can be about any aspect of the Peace Corps experience: Making the Decision to Join, Training, Peace Corps Service, Friends, HCNs, Family Visits, After the Peace Corps, Life as an RPCV, Returning to the Host Country.
Send us no more than three of your best letters or emails. Select the letter(s) that mean the most to you; that tell a story you want to tell.
Mailing us your correspondence
- Send a legible photocopy or typed transcript. If we have trouble reading your handwriting, your letter will not be considered for publication.
- Please do not send original letters. We cannot return anything sent to us.
- Send to:
Marian Haley Beil
4 Lodge Pole Road
Pittsford, New York 14534
Please include for either letters or emails:
- Information about yourself or the PCV/RPCV or staff member who wrote the letter (e.g., where and when he or she served, and any other important personal and/or background information),
- Your phone number.
- Your email address.
- Your mailing address.
Do not send a query asking if we are interested in your correspondence. If your letters (or emails) are Peace Corps-related and meet the criteria described above, you should assume that we are interested in reading them and considering them for publication in Letters Home From the Peace Corps.
We look forward to hearing from you.
Marian Haley Beil
Editors: Letters Home From the Peace Corps
RPCV writer workshop in New York City
Peace Corps Writers, in cooperation with the Peace Corps Fund, and the NY Writers Coalition, one of the largest community-based writing organizations in the country, organized an 8-week creative writing workshop for RPCVs.
Taking this course this fall were Amy Willis (Botswana 199395), Mary Marks (Iran 196466), Ruth O’Brien (Jordan (20012002), Karen Beatty (Thailand 196870). The course was directed by Sean Tanner from the NY Writers Coalition who has lived in worked for peace organizations in Guatemala, Ecuador and Mexico. Stephanie Lawrence from the Peace Corps Fund, a recent graduate of Dartmouth College who spent her junior year in South Africa and Namibia, worked as an intern for the course. In late October, I spoke to the class about the development of this website and steps an RPCV can take to publish their writings.
Holiday books by RPCV writers
It is never too early to buy a special book for the holidays. While all RPCV books are worth buying, there are two new beautiful coffee-table books that will make perfect gifts.
From the American Himalayan Foundation and the National Geographic Society comes Himalaya: Personal Stories of Grandeur, Challenge, and Hope with chapters by His Holiness the Dalai Lama, President Jimmy Carter, Sir Edmund Hillary and others, including Broughton Coburn (Nepal 197375), one of the three editors of this amazing book of photographs and text. Coburn has spent two of the past three decades in the Himalayas working in development and conservation for the United Nations and World Bank
The Watch, written by Gene Stone (Niger 197476) and published by Abrams, is another oversize coffee-table book that surveys in text and photographs the best vintage and contemporary men’s wristwatches. The book covers fifty brands from Patek Philippe and Rolex to Seiko and Swatch with more than 680 photographs, including remarkable details of dials and movements. Even if you can’t tell time, buy this book and marvel as the beauty of these man made works of art.