Peace Corps Writers
September 2003

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In This Issue has links to the new articles in this issue of Peace Corps Writers.

Resources has the Bibliography of Peace Corps Writers and other resources for both readers and writers.

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Writers — we have quite a bit of news for you!

Miami wants Peace Corps writers
Thanks to Leita Kaldi (Senegal 1993–96) and Helene Dudley (Colombia 1968–70, Albania 1997, Slovakia 1997–99) and the Returned Peace Corps Volunteers of South Florida (RPCVSF), Peace Corps writers have a wonderful opportunity to sell their books at the upcoming great Miami Book Fair International being held November 2–9, 2003. Peace Corps writers (so far) who will have books at the Fair and/or are planning to be in Miami are: Craig Carrozzi (Colombia 1978–80), Marnie Mueller (Ecuador 1963–65), Eloise Hanner (Afghanistan 1971–73, Paraguay 1999–2000), Mary Kilgour (Philippines 1962–64), Carolyn Welsh (Honduras 1962–64), and Patricia S. Taylor Edmisten (Peru 1962–64).
     The Miami Book Fair International (MBFI) is one of the world’s largest literary events, bringing together hundreds of authors and half a million book lovers. This year the MBFI will be held the week of November 2nd with a focus on week-end events November 7–9 at the Miami Dade Community College downtown campus. Two hundred and fifty authors are scheduled this year, plus hundreds of exhibitor booths, non-stop music and theater in the streets, and food galore.
     MBFI Vice Chairman Mitch Kaplan owns the legendary Books & Books stores in Miami Beach and Coconut Grove, venues for liberal, progressive writers and readers.
     For twenty years, Books and Books has invited authors to its stores for readings and book signings. Mr. Kaplan was amazed to discover the Peace Corps Writers website, and he is enthusiastic about planning a panel of Peace Corps writers for next year’s fair. Planning toward that goal will begin in January 2004 and we will keep you informed.
     In the meantime, RPCVSF has taken an exhibit booth at the Fair — as the group does every year — to promote the Peace Corps. They are inviting Peace Corps authors to attend, sign books at their booth and consign books to them for sale. RPCVSF would add a few dollars to the book price, in order to raise money for their book project, i.e., to cover shipping costs of large amounts of books they send to schools around the world. Donations of books would be greatly appreciated for this cause.
     Peace Corps writers interested in participating this year should contact — ASAP — Leita Kaldi ( or Helene Dudley ( to inquire about (1) possibilities of selling books, and (2) help finding lodging in Miami.

Barbara Scot at Fishtrap
The wonderful Peace Corps writer Barbara J. Scot (Nepal 1990–92), author of three works of literary nonfiction: The Violet Shyness of their Eyes: Notes from Nepal (Calyx Books, PNBA book award 1994); Prairie Reunion (Farrar, Straus and Giroux, New York Times Notable Book for 1995); The Stations of Still Creek (Sierra Club Books) will be the featured writer at Wallowa River Camp, Joseph, Oregon, from October 8–12. This program, part of the offerings of the Fishtrap writing community of Enterprise, Oregan run by Rick Wandschneider (Turkey1965–67), is for all writers who have a story — if only their own — to tell. Rich writes, “call it memoir writing; call it writing therapy; call it writing from what we know best — the complicated embroidery of our own intensely personal tapestry. Such writing is more than self-validation. Through it we discover our commonality with the varieties and richness of the human experience and if we have written well the reader participates in that discovery. Come to this workshop prepared to extract the diamonds, however rough, from your own life, family background, travel encounters; in short, to utilize the beauty and pain of your own uniqueness in what you put on paper to share with others.”
     For more information, email Rich at

Writers take note
The Writer’s Book of Hope: Getting from Frustration to Publication
by Ralph Keyes, author of The Courage to Write has just come out. While not an RPCV, Keyes has written a book that is extremely useful to writers and would-be writers. Look for the trade paperback, published this fall from Henry Holt & Company.

NPCA conference in Chicago
The very well organized and involved Chicago Area Peace Corps Association (CAPCA) will host the NPCA Conference in Chicago from August 5–8, 2004. We are submitting proposals for writing workshops for the conference. The tentative writing workshop topics are:

  • Publishing Your Peace Corps Story (Fiction or Non-Fiction)
  • Careers in Publishing
  • Peace Corps Prose: Literature from the Peace Corps
  • Self-publishing

If you plan to attend and wish to be on one of these panels, please email me at:

Now, for the readers we have —
“Talking with Sarah Erdman” (Cote d’Ivoire 1998–00), author of Nine Hills to Nambonkaha: Two Year in the Heart of an African Village, about the writing of her wonderful Peace Corps book published this month by Henry Holt & Company. Sarah’s book is also reviewed in this issue, along with several other recently published books by Peace Corps writers.
     In “A Writer Writes” Margaret Szumowski (Zaire 1973–74; Ethiopia 1974–75) recalls meeting Idi Amin on an ill fated plane ride to Zaire in 1973. From Romania, our PCV correspondent Andy Trincia has a story that involves the Romanian idiom, “Sa moara si capra vecinului!” — the meaning of which translates to, “If my goat dies, I hope my neighbor’s goat dies, too.”
     The Journals of Peace archive continues to grow with the publication of readings that were presented from 6–7 pm on Monday, November 21, 1988, and we have “A Letter from Debre Berhan, Ethiopia” written in 1968. And as always, the latest news and information about Peace Corps writers and related topics are all posted in “Literary Type.”
     Now, to the reading

— John Coyne

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