Peace Corps Writers
Peace Corps Writers — January 2002 (page 2)
 
Peace Corps Writers awards
The Peace Corps Writers Awards for outstanding books published by RPCVs, PCVs, and Peace Corps staff during 2001 will be presented at the NPCA conference in Washington, D.C., 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 1-page evocation of the Peace Corps experience)
    Award for Best Poetry
    Award for Best Travel Writing
    Award for Best Children’s Writing

Please send in your nominations to: jpcoyne@cnr.edu.
     Awards for the winners of competition for the outstanding books from 2000 will also be presented at the conference.

New at our site
We have added a page of links to sites by PCVs and RPCVs about their Peace Corps countries and service. Please write our webmaster if you know of sites that should be added. Thanks.

In other news
Peace Corps Directorship
Gaddi H. Vasquez was confirmed on Friday, January 25, 2002, as the sixteenth director of the Peace Corps. His confirmation was one of 30 made by unanimous voice vote in a nearly empty Senate chamber. PeaceCorpsWriters.org wishes Mr. Vasquez success during his tour as director of the agency.

Legendary Peace Corps writer dies
We have just learned that Meridan Bennett (Peace Corps staff: 1962–66) died last March in Jackson Hole, Wyoming. Med Bennett was the first, and only, country director in Cyprus, and then an evaluator for the Peace Corps. He did evaluations of the programs in Ethiopia, Nigeria, Peru, Colombia, Chile, Nepal and Pakistan. Bennett was one of the early “thinkers” of the agency and, with David Hapgood, published one of the first critical books on the Peace Corps, Agents of Change: A Close Look at the Peace Corps, published in 1968. PeaceCorpsWriter.org published an article written by Bennett in 1965 entitled “The Real Job of the Peace Corps — One Man’s View” in our “To Preserve and to Learn” column.
     Like many of the great men and women who were part of the early days of Peace Corps, Med passed through the agency, gave his ideas and vision, left a lasting contribution on how the Volunteers should work overseas, and then moved on with his life. He was 73.

In this Issue
A Literary Life
Many PCVs who served in Morocco, or ended up there for one reason or the other, sought out the writer and composer, Paul Bowles, who through his life, made “being an expatriate” romantic and possible for others who followed — including not a few PCVs. Bowles lived in Morocco for over forty years, dying there in 1999. Many have read his book The Sheltering Sky, published in 1949, or seen the movie. Author of several other novels, poetry, short story collections, and nonfiction inclucing travel books, he was also a well-known composer of classical music, film scores, and theatrical music.
     In September 1993, we published in our newsletter, RPCV Writers & Readers, a piece by a young RPCV, Sarah Streed (Morocco 1984–86) entitled, “Sitting in Paul Bowles’ Chair” telling of a visit she had made to Bowles in Tangiers when she was a Volunteer. In this issue, in our “A Writer Writes” column, we are pleased to publish an essay about Paul Bowles by David Espey, a returned Volunteer from Morocco (1962–64), who came to know Bowles after his Peace Corps service when he returned to Morocco on a Fulbright grant. Espey is the director of the English Writing Program at the University of Pennsylvania.

Letter Home
This issue’s “Letter Home” is from Eugenia Hepworth Jenson (Ukraine 1995–97). Her letter home, written as a prose poem, is based on a true story.

Also . . .
This issue also has a lengthy list of new books by RPCVs, reviews of recently published books, “Literary Talk,” and much more. Take a few minutes now (you don’t have anything better to do than get-up-to-speed on what Peace Corps writers are doing, saying, and writing) and treat yourself to some wonderful prose and information.

John Coyne
Editor

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