The National Book Festival on the Smithsonian Mall held in October of 2006, was the largest since its inception with approximately 100,000 people attending. Laura Bush, a former librarian, started this festival six years ago. Lucia St. Clair Robson (Venezuela 196466) was asked by her publicist at Tor/Forge to interview another of their authors, Elmer Kelton at this popular event). Elmer Kelton, according to Lucia, has been called the best Western writer of all time.
Tony D’Souza (Cote D’Ivoire 200002, Madagascar 200203) author of last year’s fine novel, Whiteman, has had his short story, “The Man Who Married a Tree” selected for the 2007 Best American Fantasy anthology. The story appeared in McSweeney’s. Prime Books will publish the Best American Fantasy anthology.
Susan Rich’s (Niger 198486) second book, Cures Include Travel, has been nominated for the Los Angeles Times Book Award. It was number seven on the bestseller list at Elliott Bay Book Company in Seattle this fall, and the poem “The Women of Kismayo” from the book was chosen by Poetry Daily. The poems span three continents and focus primarily on Somalia, Bosnia, and South Africa. There are also several pieces contemplating the nature of home and its relation to travel.
Nita Noveno (Cameroon 198890), a New York-based writer originally from Alaska, mines her memories for stories about family and identity. In her piece "Mindanao", she weaves together personal and political history.
Mo Tejani (Thailand 197980) an Indian Shia Muslim by ancestry was expelled from Idi Amin’s Uganda in 1972. Torn apart from his family and exiled from his continent of birth, Mo has spent three decades on the road, and has just published his globetrotting memoir, a story of his travels through five continents in search of a “home” for himself. He now lives in Chiang Mai, Thailand. His book is entitled A Chameleon’s Tale: True Stories of a Global Refugee.
The December 2006 issue of The Writer’s Chronicle, the magazine of the Association of Writers & Writing Programs carried an exchange of letters between John Coyne (Ethiopia 196264) and Sybil Baker regarding her essay in Volume 39, Number 1, of The Writer’s Chronicle, entitled “Lost Generation: The American Expatriate Writer.” Coyne objected to the fact that Ms. Baker did not list any RPCV writers in her long article. Ms. Baker agreed with the editor of www.PeaceCorpsWriters.org that it was an oversight.
Mary-Ann Tirone Smith’s (Cameroon 1963-65) memoir, Girls of Tender Age, was selected by NPR’s “Fresh Air” as the top nonfiction book of 2006. The memoir also made the best books list at The Washington Post Book World. The memoir has been selected by a dozen communities across the country for “One Town, One Read” events. The community read she looks forward to most of all is “One Book, One School” Hartford Public High School’s students, teachers and parents will be reading and discussing the memoir led by students taking the “Urban Lit” English elective. (Mary-Ann grew up in Hartford).
Stephen Handelman (Guatemala 197173) a former Time writer and author is now managing editor of a new quarterly magazine put out by the Americas Society in New York, called Americas Quarterly (the premier issue will be out in April 2007). The magazine aims at getting new, provocative ideas and information from around the Americas, stretching from the proverbial Arctic to Tierra del Fuego. Any PCV in the region, or RPCV who has ideas, suggestions, stories and most significant of all or who can point to new voices worth spotlighting in the magazine should contact Steve at firstname.lastname@example.org
Peter Chilson (Niger 1985-87) has won the Katherine Bakeless Nason Fiction Prize, sponsored by Middlebury College and the Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference, for his collection of stories entitled Disturbance-Loving Species: A Novella and Stories. It will be published by Mariner Books (a Houghton Mifflin imprint) in August 2007. The stories are about cultural displacement, specifically Americans in Africa, struggling to cope and survive, and Africans who are living in America and coping with their own problems. Peter writes, “Naturally, some of what I learned through my Peace Corps experiences comes into play in these stories.”
The University of Georgia has announced the three winners of the 2006 Flannery O’Connor Award for Short Fiction and Anne Panning (Philippines 198890) has won one of the prizes for her short story collection Super America. Her book will be published in October 2007 by the University of George Press. Besides publication, the three winners receive $1000 cash awards.
Kris Holloway (Mali 198991), author of the recently published Monique and the Mango Rains: Two Years With a Midwife in Mali, had a short essay, “Obedience Training,” in the November 5, 2006 issue of the New York Times Magazine. Her story is one that many PCVs experienced when adopting a dog in the developing world and have to leave their pet behind. Kris, however, had a tougher goodbye than most Volunteers.
Haworth Press has just announced that the entire series of the critically acclaimed Donald Strachey gay mystery novels will be re-released in conjunction with the Here! Television network’s Donald Strachey Mystery productions in which Chad Allen plays private eye Strachey. The first of the TV series, Third Man Out is available on DVD. The next production, from the novel Ice Blues, will air early in 2007. The author of the series is Richard Stevenson, better known as Dick Lipez (Ethiopia 196264).
The annual fiction issue of The New Yorker that appeared on December 25, 2006 carried a long short story, “Monkey Hill” written by Paul Theroux (Malawi 196365) and set in the foothills of the Himalayas.