PLYMOUTH, N.H.-Plymouth State University English Associate Professor Joseph Monninger has received a 2008 Peace Corps Writers Award for his novel, Baby, winning the award in the Best Children’s Writing category. Baby is the story of a troubled 15 year-old girl who is sent to a foster home in New Hampshire, where she is placed with an older couple that races sled dogs. The foster home experience brings balance to Baby’s life.
Monninger served in the Peace Corps in Burkina-Faso, West Africa, from 1975-77, writing letters home and short stories about his experiences with the local villagers and his encounters with African magic and superstition.
“The Peace Corps has produced a remarkable number of writers since its inception during the Kennedy era,” said Monninger. “I began to write while stationed as a well digger in Upper Volta – now Burkina Faso – West Africa.”
Peace Corps Writers annually presents six awards for best fiction book, best nonfiction book, best poetry book and best short piece that captures the essence of the Peace Corps experience — all by Peace Corps writers.
“I can recommend no better apprenticeship for a young, would-be writer than a stint in the Peace Corps,” Monninger said. “I’m proud of my service in the Peace Corps and that makes this award especially rewarding.”
Winners receive a special citation and a cash award from Peace Corps Writers, an Associate Member of the National Peace Corps Association.
Monninger has taught at Plymouth State since 1990. He is the author of nine works of fiction but, most recently, has turned toward writing creative nonfiction. Two of these are memoirs that have been widely praised by reviewers: Home Waters: Fishing with an Old Friend (Broadway Books, 1999) and Barn in New England: Making a Home on Three Acres (Chronicle Books, 2001) His recent book, Two Ton: One Night, One Fight — Tony Galento v. Joe Louis (Steerforth Press, 2006) has drawn excellent reviews for its in-depth perspective on 1930s boxing.
Monninger’s awards include two National Endowment for the Arts Fellowships, a New Hampshire State Council on the Arts Fellowship in 2007, a nomination for a Booksense Award and selection as an alternate for a Fulbright scholarship to West Africa. He has worked for many years with the NH Writers Project and the NH Humanities Council. He has lectured at Dartmouth College, Keene State College and Harvard University.
For more information about this release, contact Bruce Lyndes, PSU Media Relations Mgr., (603) 535-2775 or Bruce Lyndes