For fifty plus years Peace Corps writers have been going back, at least on paper, to the country of their volunteer assignments. In novels, short stories, poetry and essays, Volunteers have written about their expatriate experiences in the developing countries of the world. Their Peace Corps experience has been a source of material, a creative impulse. For many it has become their literary territory.
These Peace Corps writers were born too late to be in Paris during the Twenties, too young to write the great World War II novel, but now, six decades after it all began, there is emerging a literary genre called Peace Corps Literature.
When one looks at the books being written by returned volunteers, it is striking how many of them are winning major book awards and claiming space on literary bookshelves. Volunteers have come of age as literary persons. They are telling the stories of the Peace Corps, and more importantly, of life in the developing world. A world that Americans know so little about, or care to consider.
This is perhaps a small claim in the world of literature, but it is ours theirs to make. It is through this writing that they are creating a place for the Peace Corps experience in the minds of American readers.