Peace Corps Writers - November 2002: Front page

    Taylor wins again
    Mildred (Millie) D. Taylor (Ethiopia 1965–67) has won the Children’s Literature 2002 award from PEN Center USA for her book The Land published by Phyllis Fogelman Books/Penguin Putnam. This competition honors outstanding work published or produced in 2001 by writers living in the western United States. Millie — as she was known in Ethiopia — won $1,000 and was honored at a gala awards ceremony held at the Millennium Biltmore Hotel on October 23. These awards, established in 1982, are a unique regional competition that reward writers in ten categories, from playwrights to journalists to novelists and poets, and celebrate the written word in all forms.
         Earlier this year, The Land won the 2002 Coretta Scott King Award

Desperately seeking information about Moritz Thomsen
The last issue of Peace Corps Writers carried the third, and last (for the moment) installment of a “biography-in-progress” about Moritz Thomsen. It was written by Marc Covert, associate editor of Portland Magazine in Portland, Oregon, and managing editor of Smokebox, a bimonthly e-zine featuring “Pollution-Fueled Commentary” (www.smokebox.net). Covert is interested in talking to anyone who knew Thomsen, or has letters from him, photos, or can tell him anything about Thomsen’s life. Contact Marc at covertm@up.edu.

In this Issue
A Writer Writes
On any given day I receive 20–30 emails from Peace Corps writers who contact me for a variety of reasons, and many send along prose or poetry that they’ve written. Every once in a while a piece will come to me that knocks my socks off, so to speak. Such a piece is “The Last Ride” by Elise Annunziata (Senegal 1996–99). Elise lived in Keur Madiabel for two years, working with students and teachers in eight surrounding villages. She extended her service a third year in Senegal as a Volunteer Leader in Kaolack, and also worked as a Peace Corps trainer for the first Environmental Education program in Guinea (Conakry). Today, she lives in Virginia and works for the Sierra Club. Elise’s piece is not only well written, but it also shows an understanding, an appreciation, and an awareness of a sensitive cross culture moment. Read “The Last Ride” and recall when you left your Peace Corps site for the last time.

Publish or perish
For a brief period in the mid-1990s there was a wild belief that the World Wide Web had spawned the answer to many RPCVs’ dreams of publishing their Peace Corps stories. We thought there was finally a venue for the telling of our incredible experiences, and the sharing of the world that we had learned about during our service. Our stories would be widely read and, hey, maybe one might even be made into a successful Hollywood movie. The reason: print-on-demand publishing. While many RPCVs books have been published P.O.D. (and more are on the way), we thought it would be worthwhile to review the some of the options of print-on-demand publishing and give suggestions on where writers should go to find out more information.

Peace Corps history
Hal Fleming served on the staff for two years in Peace Corps/Washington before becoming Country Director for Cote d’Ivoire in 1968. He had come to Washington, he said, “at a time in our country when the Civil Rights movement and the Vietnam War divided the nation. I had been tapped to work as a staff member in the Public Affairs and Recruiting Office for the Peace Corps.” Hal’s account of early Peace Corps recruiting is wonderfully told, full of amusing and informative details, and captures a moment of tension in America and within the Peace Corps.

Besides, all of this information, we have book reviews, letters home, and poetry. And it is all in this issue of Peace Corps Writers. Read on.

— John Coyne
Editor