Peace Corps Writers
Talking with . . .
    

An interview by John Coyne

I MET NITA several years ago when working with the Peace Corps Fund. She was writing then and just beginning her successful Sunday Salon held at Stain, a bar in Brooklyn, NY. APrinter friendly version great organizer, she has been all writers in the New York region, and has certainly helped RPCV writers, inviting them to read and discuss their work. Finally I caught up with Nita to ask her about her writing and her salon.

You grew up where, Nita?

I grew up in Ketchikan, Alaska. I went to Whitman College in eastern Washington where I majored in French language and literature.

And you were in West Africa as a PCV?
Yes, I was a PCV in a French-speaking village in Cameroon where I taught English as a Foreign Language to middle and high school students. I was there from 1988 to 1990.
What happened after the Peace Corps?
After the Peace Corps, I spent a year decompressing back home in Ketchikan. Then I moved to Seattle for another year before attending graduate school in New York. I graduated from Teachers College, Columbia University in 1995 and got a degree in TESOL and taught in the New York City public school system for over nine years.
Have you published much writing?
Much? I’d say not much, but I’ve been published in a teachers’ anthology, the National Peace Corps Association magazine WorldView, and a webzine (www.ducts.org). I’m still working on a collection of related nonfiction pieces, sending out to literary magazines, and receiving a healthy amount of rejection letters. Did I say healthy? I mean ridiculous amount.
When did you start Sunday Salon?
I started Sunday Salon in 2002, the summer after I received my MFA in Creative Nonfiction from The New School. One of my instructors, the poet and essayist Honor Moore suggested I start a reading series when I asked her what I should do next (that is, besides to continue writing). As the series took off, I realized how important it was for me as a writer working in isolation to have a community to connect to on a monthly basis.
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