Norman Rushs (CD Botswana 197883) greatly anticipated new book, Mortals, will be published in June by Knopf. This long (592 pages) novel chronicles the misadventures of three ex-pat Americans: a contract CIA agent operating undercover as an English instructor in a private school; his beloved but disaffected wife; and an iconoclastic black holistic physician on a personal mission to lift the yoke of Christian belief from Africa. According to the flap copy, The passions of these three entangle them with a local populist leader whose purposes are grotesquely misconstrued by the CIA. And when a violent but pathetic insurrection erupts stoked in part by the erotic and political intrigues of the American trio the outcome is both explosive and explosively funny.
Nancy Forsythe Farmer (India 196365) has won the prestigious 2003 Newbery Honor for the third time with her sci-fi novel for young adults The House of the Scorpion. This novel also won the 2002 National Book for young adult (YA) readers and the 2003 Michael L. Printz Award for excellence in young adult literature. The novels lead character is a smart boy who is created to use as spare parts for his father, a 143-year-old drug lord. Clones are only one of the sinister attributes of this futuristic society, in a country called Opium that is carved out along the border between Mexico and the United States.
Richard Lipez (Ethiopia 196264) has a new mystery out this month from St. Martins Press. The novel, Tongue Tied, is written under the name Richard Stevenson. Its the eighth in Lipezs Donald Strachey PI series. In this one, Strachey becomes involved with a radio talk show host who is being harassed by a group calling itself the Forces of Free Faggotry.
In the spring edition of American Legacy magazine, Kevin Lowther (Sierra Leone 196365) explores the roots of the back-to-Africa, or colonization, movement which began sending free blacks to settle in West Africa in the early 1800s. To Leave or Not to Leave recalls the intense national debate at the time, among both whites and blacks, over the place if any of the mounting free black population in American society. One organized response by influential whites, was to send willing blacks back to Africa, which led to an abortive settlement in Sierra Leone and then to the establishment of Liberia.
Teaching Right From Wrong: 40 Things You Can Do to Raise a Moral Child, by Arthur Dobrin (Kenya 196567) and published by Berkely Publishing Group has been translated into Chinese and published by CITIC Publishing House of Beijing. It is also being translated into Korean and published in Seoul. Dobrins other new book, Ethics for Everyone: How to Increase Your Moral Intelligence, published by John Wiley last year, is also being translated into Chinese.
Worlds Smallest Essay on the Coming Miniaturization of Literature by Jason Sanford (Thailand 199496) appears in the current Flak Magazine. You can read it online at: www.flakmag.com/opinion/minutia.html
Poet Jacqueline Lyons (Losotho 199295) has a collection of poems I Am Missing Your Voice coming out in late 2003 from Hanging Loose Press. Jacqueline has published poems and essays in a wide range of literary journals including Florida Review, Grain, Phoebe, Quarter After Eight, Puerto del Sol, and Sonora Review.
Ronald Wheatley (Nigeria 196365), a Boston lawyer, as well as an army draftee in Vietnam from 1967-68, has written a play about Phillis Wheatley, a young Boston slave girl brought to trial in 1771 for claiming to have written poems that were so brilliantly written that she was compared to Englands Poet Laureate, Alexander Pope. The poet was defended in her trial by the brilliant John Hancock, who, with the governor of Massachusetts, signed a document attesting that the poems were, in fact, hers.
D.C. resident and bibliophile Joe Kovacs (Sri Lanka 199798) has a piece online at the Literary Traveler website on Langston Hughes. Entitled, The Harlem Renaissance, Washington, DC and the Rise of Langston Hughes, it can be found at: www.literarytraveler.com/langstonhughes/langstonhughes.htm
Kristi Ragans (Fiji 197982, Tanzania 198485; PC/Staff: CD Cote dIvoire 2002) article Cote dIvoire Evacuation: The Peace Corps Component appeared in the February 2003 issue of the Foreign Service Journal. Ragan, a veteran of 15 years of working in developing countries of Africa, was appointed in June 2002 to be the next Peace Corps Country Director for Cote dIvorie and was working at the Peace Corps Headquarters in D.C. and was scheduled to depart for Abidjan in late October when an attempted coup happened in-country of September 19. In the Journal article, she recounts her experience as the Peace Corps representative on the State Department task force that managed the evacuation of Cote dIvoire and tells the amusing story of the final Peace Corps Volunteer to be evacuated on October 2, 2002.
In an OpEd piece in the January 25th issue of the Washington Post, Joanne Omang (Turkey 196466) celebrated being a woman turning 60 with Older and So Much Better. She closed the essay with a call to her aging sisters: Geezerettes, crones, grandmas and blue-haired goddesses unite! Our time has come at last.
George Packer (Togo 198283) wrote the cover story for the New York Times Magazine Section on Sunday, March 2, 2003. Entitled, The Morning After: Does Democracy in Iraq stand a chance? Packer details the struggles inside the Administration between the State Department and the Pentagon, as well as the failure of the Future of Iraq Project, the utopian dreams of Kanan Makiya, and how it now appears that no one in the current Administration has read Graham Greenes The Quiet American or seen the movie, or to quote The Christian Science Monitor: of the 18 regime changes forced by the United States in the 20th century, only 5 resulted in democracy, and in the case of wars fought unilaterally, the number goes down to one Panama.
When Jerry Mohrlang (Malaysia 196567) went to Malaysia he was assigned to Sarawak and there discovered the little known story of James Brooke, an early 19th century English adventurer who eventually became the first white Rajah of the territory of Sarawak (currently the 14 states comprising the Federation of Malaysia). Since publishing Sarawak, his novel about Brooke, Jerry has received numerous emails from relatives of James Brooke, from relatives of administrators of the Brooke Rajahs, and from readers in Borneo. Mohrlang didnt realize it at the time, but of the many books and articles that have been written about the era of the Brookes, his novel, Sarawak, is the only fictionalized account of the tumultuous period of history in northwest Borneo.
Edward Mycue (Ghana 1961) is one of many RPCV poets who have written poems against the war. His and other anti-war poems can be read at the website: www.poetsagainstthewar.org. Mycues poem is entitled, The Homeland Seduction.
Maureen Orth (Colombia 196466) appeared on the Today Show on March 4th to talk about her article on Michael Jackson that appeared in Vanity Fair.