Peace Corps Writers
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Literary Type
Traveling Man Traveling Man: The Journey of Ibn Battuta, 1325–1354, written and illustrated by James Rumford (Chad 1971–74; Afghanistan 1974–75) was featured in a lengthy article in USAToday’s “Books” section under the title “Bringing the Muslim world to young readers” (1/8/02) Traveling Man tells of the 29-year journey of a young Moroccan who left his home on his hajj and went to China and back. Rumford has been fulfilling his Third Goal oblications by visiting schools, bookstores and libraries to talk about the book, and he has found great interest in Islam and its history among the children in his audiences.
The Immaculate Invasion Bob Schacochis (Eastern Caribbean 1975–76), author most recently of The Immaculate Invasion — his account of the United States special forces in Haiti, who now teaches at Florida State University, had an Op-Ed in The New York Times on Friday, December 21, 2001 on the upcoming governor’s race in Florida. Bob compared the race to the Latin American soaps, “the telenovelas: highly emotive tales of power, privilege and betrayal staged in a hot mist of unrequited love.”
  A short story by Karen M. Unger (Liberia 1977–80), “The Heart of the Cottonwood Tree,” based on her Peace Corps experience, was published in the literary magazine, Grand Street, Issue #47. Her book for preteens, Too Old for This, Too Young for That: Your Survival Guide for the Middle School Years, published by Free Spirt Press in 2000 is in its fourth reprint. Karen co-authored the book with Harriet Mosatche.
Living on the Edge Living On The Edge: Fiction by Peace Corps Writers, edited by John Coyne (Ethiopia 1962–64) continues to receive positive reviews, this time from Patrick Shannon of Penn State University. His review appeared in the November 2001 issue of Journal of Adolescent & Adult Literacy.

    “None of the contributors are protagonists in their chapters, but each chapter is based on some event that the writer witnessed, experienced, or heard about. By telling the stories, the contributors seem to reconsider their experiences overseas and enable readers to consider (or perhaps reconsider) U.S. actions in the developing world. Those actions can serve as a metaphor for readers’ experiences with human and cultural differences. In this way, the book offers a triple treat. Readers learn a little about parts of the world they may never see for themselves, they are entertained by a good yarn, and they can learn about themselves as well.”

What more could a writer (or editor) want?

  In the January 2002 on-line issue of Common-Place there is an interesting piece by Simone Zelitch (Hungary 1991–93), entitled “Vox Pop: Girls Just Want to Have Fun,” which details the history of American Girl dolls and books. Common-place is an Interactive Journal of Early American Life before 1900 and is published quarterly in October, January, April, and July by the American Antiquarian Society and the Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History. It is, as they write, “A bit friendlier than a scholarly journal, a bit more scholarly than a popular magazine.”
   The Winter 2002 issue of storySouth — a magazine edited by Jason Sanford (Thailand 1994–96), featuring the best fiction and poetry the new south has to offer — is now online. Among the highlights in this issue is a special section on the life and poetry of Forrest Gander, one of the south’s most distinctive poets. And if that isn’t enough, there is also an essay on how much exposure online and print publications really give new writers.
  Dale Dapkins (Turkey 1968) was the back-to-back grand prize winner of the nationwide Lorian Hemingway Short Story Competition for the years 1999 and 2000. The competition, created by the grand-daughter of Ernest Hemingway, supports and encourages the efforts of emerging writers of short fiction. Dapkins two stories are “Alpaca Potato” and “Church of the Bunny,” and are at www.themightyorgan.com.
   Coming this March is My Mother’s Island, a novel by Marnie Mueller (Ecuador 1963–65.) This is Marnie’s third novel. Publishers Weekly in a recent review says, “As a novel, this is a lovely but painful account of a difficult journey two women must take together to bring their problematic relationship to a close. On a deeper level, Mueller has crafted an exceptional book about the spirituality of death and dying that gets inside the reality of losing a parent with an intimacy and depth that no self-help treatise can hope to match.”
     Marnie will be touring the country with this new novel and PeaceCorpsWriters.org will let you know where and when she is appearing.
  Due this spring is Nuclear History-Nuclear Destiny, Jim Lerager’s (Ethiopia 1968–69, Ghana 1969–71) journey through the human and environmental impact of the nuclear age around the world.
     Last November 27th, Jim displaying 15 of the 120 photos in the book at the 20th Anniversary Celebration of the Lawyer’s Committee on Nuclear Policy.
  Judy Mann, in her Washinton Post column (November 9, 2001) entitled “Peace Corps Deserves Better Than GOP Deadwood,” quotes from Richard Lipez (Ethiopia 1962–64) letter that appeared in the September issue of our website. Mann, who worked at the Peace Corps as a high school intern over the summers of 1961 and ’1962 also posted our www address.
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