Recent books by Peace Corps writers — March 2007

Peace Corps Writers awards
Nominations are now being accepted by Peace Corps Writers for its awards for best books published during 2006 and written by PCVs, RPCVs, and Peace Corps staff. Do you have a favorite to nominate? Or did you write a book that you would like to have considered? Please recommend your candidates for the following categories:

  • Paul Cowan Non-Fiction Award
  • Maria Thomas Fiction Award
  • The Moritz Thomsen Peace Corps Experience Award (for best short description of the Peace Corps experience)
  • Award for Best Poetry Book
  • Award for Best Travel Writing
  • Award for Best Children’s Book

Send in your nominations to:

“Born to blog”
That’s what someone said about me — and it might be true.
     For those of you who can’t wait two months for the next issue of Peace Corps Writers, Marian Beil has set up a blog for me at:
On a nearly daily basis I comment on writers, current events, Peace Corps or anything else I think is interesting or worthwhile. You might want to check it out.

Then Sarge Said to Me!
Most of you know Kevin Quigley. He is the President and CEO (why do we need all these titles?) of the National Peace Corps Association. He was also a PCV in Thailand from 1976–79 and he sent us a short account of a meeting he had with Sarge a few years ago.

WHEN I FIRST MET Sargent Shriver in September 2003, I had just become President of the NPCA.
     Years before as a young Irish-American I heard a great deal about John Fitzgerald Kennedy. After he was elected, I learned about his establishing the Peace Corps, and that my mother was a college classmate of the President’s sister, Eunice Kennedy Shriver, wife of the Peace Corps founder.
     By chance, on the day I was to first meet with Sargent Shriver my parents were visiting. Over breakfast, my mother mentioned that she and Eunice had shared a gym locker at Manhattanville College in New York City. My mother rather sheepishly said that Eunice had left behind a pair of field hockey sneakers that my grandmother had wore for the next 20 years.
     My meeting with Mr. Shriver was at his office at the Special Olympics. The office was replete with mementos of a remarkably successful life in every regard: personally, politically, and spiritually. The walls were covered with pictures of him with family members, Presidents and Popes, movie stars and Peace Corps Volunteers.
     Given all I saw, I expected Sargent Shriver would want to talk about the past. Not quite sure of where to start, I began by saying that he and I had something in common: “My mother and your wife shared a gym locker.”
     After a quick laugh, Sargent Shriver said: “Looking at your resume, you seem to have a good background . . . Now, I want to know what are your plans?”
     Thinking I had just been thrown a softball, I launched into a discussion of preparations leading up to the Peace Corps 50th Anniversary celebration in 2011, about which he quickly seemed to lose interest.
     Instead, Mr. Shriver rephrased his question, “What are you going to do to make the world more peaceful and prosperous; and let’s not just think about 2011 but 2050.”
     During our conversation, I was struck by his ongoing vision, passion and deep concern for the future — which was everything I had heard it would be.
     I left the meeting feeling profoundly grateful that Peace Corps had Sargent Shriver as its founder, and as an ongoing inspiration to do all we possibly can to make the future brighter than today.

In This Issue
My interview this issue is with Mo Tejani (Thailand 1979–80) about his book, and his life before and after the Peace Corps. He is one of those PCVs who never came home — and for Mo home is a tough place to locate. He is from Africa and has lived in England, the U.S., Latin America, and now Asia and has tales to tell from all parts of the world.
     Kevin Lowther (Sierra Leone 1963–65), a friend from the first days of the Peace Corps, is a wonderful writer who has had a long career working on African issues at Africare. For Peace Corps Writers he looks at blood diamonds through the prism of his Peace Corps experience. And John Charles Miller (Dominican Republic 1962–64) in “You Can’t Pick Up Raindrops” recalls an experience in the DR that seems as though it was predestined. Both essays are “A Writer Writes” columns.
     There are — of course — new books, reviews and wonderful news of RPCV writers. Read on.

John Coyne