John Flynn (Moldova 199395) has a wonderful piece in the Istanbul Literary Review about an incident in Russia that occurred while he was a Volunteer in Moldova called “Boss Visa.”
Bill Barich (Nigeria 1966-67), who has a series going on the New York Times blog, got me thinking about Peace Corps writers at the New Yorker. Bill Barich wrote many, many pieces for the New Yorker back when William Shawn was the editor of the magazine, as well as Bill’s editor. Then Charlie Michener (Ethiopia 196264) became an editor there and was Peter Hessler’s (China 199698) first editor. George Packer (Togo 198282) came along and appears in the magazine at least once a month writing about Iraq and now the political campaigns. In the November 3, 2008, issue Tom Bissell (Uzbekistan 1996) has a piece on video games. Tom is the author of Father of All Things, and a collection of short stories God Lives in St. Petersburg. He is writing a travel book now about the tombs of the Twelve Apostles (I kid you not.) Tom’s Peace Corps book was Chasing the Sea: Lost Among the Ghosts of Empire in Central Asia.
So, who says you can’t go into the Peace Corps and still make it at the New Yorker?
Eve Brown-Waite (Ecuador 198889) has hit the jackpot with her Peace Corps book, First Comes Love, Then Comes Malaria. She signed a six-figure contract with Broadway Books, a division of Random House for her memoir that will be published in April ’09. The book sold at auction, [five publishing houses were bidding for it] while Eve and her husband, John Waite (Burkina Faso 198386), waited out the day of tension at the Algonquin Hotel in New York City, taking calls from her agent, and turning down offers.
Eve, who was recruited out of the New York Recruitment office [then located at Times Square] by the same John Waite. “I fell in love with him during the interview. I wasn’t sure about the Peace Corps, but I was sure about him.” Eva did go off to Ecuador only to be sent home early for medical reasons. “I didn’t think he’d marry me then since I wasn’t a Super Vol.”
So, she went and earned a master’s degree in public health from Hunter College and he got his master’s in International Affairs from Columbia University. They married and John took a job with CARE in northern Uganda. It was in Arua, Uganda that she began to write down her stories, beginning with her work with street kids in Ecuador, her life in Uganda, and later in Uzbekistan from 1993 to 1996 .
Their tour in Uganda was during a time of guerrilla warfare and tense days both were held hostage in their home at one point but Eve also adds, “Most of the time it was beautiful and peaceful. We had a lovely time, and the people for the most part were tremendously friendly and helpful.”
Her memoir begins and ends in Uzbekistan, but it is really about “following John a Peace Corps poster boy through the Third World.”
You can check this all out at:
www.EveBrownWaite.com and www.TheDebutanteBall.com
Iranian Jahanshah Javid sent Peace Corps Writers the following message:
I wanted to share my blog with you. I wrote about the importance of sharing stories and photos about Iran in rebuilding relations between Iranians and Americans:
RPCVs especially those who served in Iran should visit Jahanshah’s blog entry, and maybe even leave a comment?
Tony Zurlo (Nigeria 196466) has his short story “Marco’s Marcoroni” in the newly published anthology Wild Dreams: The Best of Italian Americana.