Peace Corps Writers - Page 1: March 2005

    And Then Sarge Said to Me
    During some recent email exchanges with Geri Critchley (Senegal 1971–72) about her writing an essay for the Peace Corps Writers, she suggested she’d do a short piece on Sargent Shriver — a recollection she had of him from her Peace Corps years. I thought: Now there’s a great idea! Then expanding on the idea, I thought: Why doesn’t Peace Corps Writers collect stories from all the Volunteers and Peace Corps staff who knew Shriver during his Peace Corps years, and create a library of reminiscences of the great man himself under the caption, “And Then Sarge Said to Me.”
         So with that in mind, send me your fond or humorous recollections of the man who created the Peace Corps, and for whom we all have great affection. I’ll post your submissions on this site so we’ll have a digital archive of Shriver stories for generations to come.
         I ask only that your submission be short, (around 500 words) and that it have a beginning, middle, and end. Add your name and Peace Corps country and times of service, and perhaps one or two sentences about yourself. Send to: jpcoyne@peacecorpswriters.org

    Still Time to Nominate Your Favorite Book of ’04
    Books published in 2004 by a PCV, RPCV, or Peace Corps staff member are eligible. Please recommend your candidates for the following categories (you may nominate your own book):

    • Paul Cowan Non-Fiction Award
    • Maria Thomas Fiction Award
    • The Moritz Thomsen Peace Corps Experience Award (for best short description of the Peace Corps experience)
    • Award for Best Poetry Book
    • Award for Best Travel Writing
    • Award for Best Children’s Writing

    Once a book is nominated it does not have to be endlessly re-nominated by family, friends, and colleagues of the writers. Authors — and it always seems to be those who had their books published by a vanity press, i.e., P.O.D. (print-on-demand) — who email their friends (most of whom have not read the book) and asked them to nominate their book. One academic RPCV seems to have gotten everyone at his college to email me with a nomination for his book! While I have passed on all the nominations to the judges, I have told them to overlook such annoying self-promotion.
         Anyway . . . don’t be shy, but one nomination is sufficient. Many thanks to all the judges.

    In this issue —
    A new “Friendly Agent”

    Creative Media Agency in New York, traditionally an agency for women’s fiction and commercial fiction that boasts a list of award-winners and bestsellers, is now branching out to include writers of mainstream and literary fiction, as well as narrative and creative non-fiction.
         Lisa VanAuken, a relatively “new” agent at CMA, and our new “Friendly Agent,” is eager to take on both new and established writers who have distinctive stories to tell — particularly stories that bravely and honestly explore the truths of the human experience. RPCV writers will most likely have a special advantage in submitting to Lisa because she adores writing that is informed by a unique perspective.

    The Ides of March, March Madness, and More
    We are very pleased to be publishing five lovely, short poems about West Africa by Carrie Young (Mali 2000–01), an insightful and touching reminisce from Will Siegal (Ethiopia 1962–64) who recounts some of his adventures since leaving the Peace Corps, and from Robert Rosenberg (Kyrgyzstan 1994–96), who wrote about Kyrgyzstan in light of the recent uprising there. All contributions are to be found in our “A Writer Writes” column.
         Legendary PCV/RPCV/and former Botswana Country Director, Maureen Carroll (Philippines 1961–63), remembers legendary early PC/W staffer, Coates Redmon, who wrote Come As You Are: The Peace Corps Story. Coates’ book begins in true Coates style with this sentence: “I decided to write this book over poached salmon and a glass of white wine at the Jean-Pierre restaurant on K Street in Washington, D.C. April 1975.”
         For this issue Terez Rose (Gabon 1985–87) both interviewed Elizabeth Letts (Morocco 1983–86) and also reviewed her new book, Quality of Care, a novel that has been selected as an alternate selection for the Literary Guild, Doubleday Book Club, and Rhapsody Book Club. The two women met on the Internet.
         Our “War and Peace Corps” essay comes from Charlie Ipcar (Ethiopia 1965–68) who explains how African amoebas kept him out of the war.
         Besides all that, we have 12 (a new record) reviews of new books , a listing of 18 recently published books, and in “Literary Type” news about RPCV writers from Honolulu to Lome to Beijing, and an announcement on a novel about “golfing with God.” The “Literary Type” column alone is worth the read, but it is the whole March issue, in our opinion, that is truly valuable, and I’m no April’s Fool. Click the mouse and you’ll see.

    — John Coyne
    Editor