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The 2006 Lantern Book Essay Competiton, worth $1000, was won by Katherine Jamieson (Guyana 1996–98) for her essay “Too Much of One Thing Ain’t Good for Nothing: Lessons from a Non-Throw Away Society.” The aim of the essay competition is to allow new thinking to emerge on the key subjects of Lantern’s publishing program and to encourage new voices to step forward to shape the debate of the future. Lantern Books publishes books for all “wanting to live with greater spiritual depth and commitment to the preservation of the natural world.”
     In 2001 Katherine won the Moritz Thomsen Peace Corps Experience Award given by Peace Corps Writers for her entry “
Telling Time.” She is now studying at the famous Iowa graduate writing program where such writers as Richard Wiley (Korea 1967–69); Bob Shacochis (Eastern Caribbean 1975–76); Phil Damon (Ethiopia 1963–65) and other fine RPCV writers have studied.
     You can read Katherine’s award winning  essay on life in the Peace Corps at:

Steve Reed (Morocco 1992–94) is an editor for the New York Times Regional Media Group, a chain of small and mid-size newspapers in the South and California owned by the New York Times Company, and lives in New York City. In addition to writing, Steve explores his practice of Zen Buddhism through photography, focusing on transience and subjects such as shadows and graffiti. You can view his blog at

Read John Coyne’s interview with Sandra in this issue

Sandra Meek (1989-91), an Associate Professor of English at Berry College, has just completed editing an anthology of poems. The anthology is coming out this month from Nineback Press, a new literary press that Meek along with three other editors founded. The book is entitled Deep Travel: Contemporary American Poets Abroad.
     Thirty-four poets are represented here by three poems each; each poet also contributed a short prose piece to the book about the significance of travel and international experience in his/her life and work. Several RPCVs — Derick Burleson (Rwanda 1991–93), John Isles (Estonia 1992–94), Susan Rich (Niger 1984–86) and Margaret Szumowski (Zaire 1973–74, Ethiopia 1974–75) — are included in the anthology.

Usha Alexander’s (Vanuatu 1996–97) essay about her Peace Corps experience appears in Best Travel Writing 2007, released in February by Travelers’ Tales publishers. Her first novel, Only the Eyes Are Mine, published in India in 2005, was selected as a semi-finalist for the Independent Publisher’s Book Awards 2006 Multicultural Fiction (Adult) category. 
     Recently returned to the San Francisco Bay Area after two years spent traveling throughout India, Usha is now working on a second novel and more travel essays. Visit her on the web at

Patrick Chura (Lithuania 1992–94) guest-edited “American Perspectives on Cultural Transition,” a special issue of the quarterly journal Lituanus published in March 2007. The issue, which includes essays and poetry by Peace Corps/Lithuania returned Volunteers and staff, describes cultural change in the Republic of Lithuania as the country regained independence after the fall of the Soviet Union. The journal website is

Roger Hirschland (Sierra Leone 1965-67) and World Wise Schools web guru Riley Graebner (China 2002-03 & Romania 2005) have been putting together podcasts for WWS. They post a new podcast every week that features an RPCV reading his or her story or being interviewed, or an interview conducted by a class of U.S. students of a currently serving Volunteer.
The interview from 05.03.07 is with Kris Holloway (Mali 1989–91). It was conducted by Amy Clark (Nepal 2003-04) who directs the Correspondence Match and Speakers Match programs for WWS.
     Kris is the author of the wonderful Peace Corps memoir Monique and the Mango Rains. In the interview, Kris describes why she felt compelled to write the memoir and she talks about the obstacles she cleared in getting published.
     You can hear Kris, and other podcasts at:
     From the .03.29.07 the podcast is Kris reading her short story “The Death of Old Woman Kelema,” which can also be read online.
     [Podcasts, by the way, are audio broadcasts available on the Internet.]
[Peace Corps Writers also has an interview with Kris and a review of her book on our website]

John Coyne's (Ethiopia 1962–64) novel The Caddie Who Knew Ben Hogan published last May won the Westchester Library Association 2006 Washington Irving Book Award for a book written by a Westchester author. The criteria for selection include a combination of “literary quality, readability, and wide general appeal.”

Cliff Garstang (Korea 1976–78) recently won the Georgia State University Review fiction contest for his short story “Nanking Mansion.” The story will be published in the in the Summer 2007 issue.
     Other stories by Cliff have recently appeared in The Ledge, Confluence, Baltimore Review, and REAL, and online at R-KV-R-Y, Ray's Road Review, and Six Little Things (“The Learnéd Lama,” Issue #5)
The June issue of National Geographic Magazine has a long piece by Peter Hessler (China 1996–98) on the development in a factory town in southeastern China over a period of fifteen months. Peter tracked one factory that was attempting to make the tiny nylon-covered rings used to adjust bra straps. As Peter writes, “There’s an epic story behind every piece of clothing.” The article is on line at: but it will be easier to read it in print.
Alissa Everett (Senegal 1995–97) has a travel article and stunning photographs in the spring 2007 issue of a new publication, Traveler Overseas. Alissa opens her article with these lines, “A bead of sweat drips down my back; the heat is stifling. I have not felt these temperature since I was in the Peace Corps over 10 years ago, when the hot season had reached over 120 degrees Fahrenheit, and much, much higher in the sun.” You can read about and subscribe to this high-end publication at:
Mo Tejani’s (Thailand 1979–80) travel book A Chameleon’s Tale has been selected as one of nine finalists for the 2007 PEN/ Beyond Margins Book Award. This award confers five $1,000 prizes upon authors of color who have not received wide media coverage.
In the May 28th issue of The New Yorker Paul Theroux (Malawi 1963–65) has a Letter from Turkmenistan entitled “The Golden Man: Saparmurat Niyazov’s Reign of Insanity.”
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