Former Peace Corps volunteer and Murray State University professor Ann Neelon will take part in the 50-year anniversary celebration of the Peace Corps, held in the Library of Congress in Washington D.C. on Sept. 22. As a poet featured in the Selected Bibliography of Peace Corps Writers, Neelon is honored and excited to attend the luncheon at which the bibliography will be released.
“I am inspired by the many other writers who have devoted their literary careers to fulfilling the third goal of the Peace Corps, which is to bring the world back home,” Neelon noted. “These experienced international voices could not be more necessary than they are right now, as the United States struggles to adapt to radical global change in the context of an economic crisis.” Neelon has many notable peers. Eminent Peace Corps writers include Paul Theroux, Bob Shacochis, Susan Meek, George Packer, Marnie Mueller, P.F. Kluge and Tony D’Souza.
In attendance at the celebration will be several prominent congressmen, including John Garamendi, Samuel Farr, Michael Honda and Thomas Petri. Co-hosts for the luncheon will be Marian Haley Beil, publisher of Peace Corps Worldwide, and Maureen Orth, special correspondent to Vanity Fair. The master of ceremonies will be Chris Matthews, host of Hardball on MSNBC.
Dr. Staci Stone, the chair for the department of English and philosophy, has high praise for Neelon. “The department congratulates Professor Neelon on this honor,” Stone said. “Murray State is fortunate to have such an accomplished poet at the helm of its low-residency M.F.A in Creative Writing Program.”
Neelon has been the recipient of a number of awards including the Board of Regents Award for Teaching Excellence in 2007, the RPCV Writers and Readers’ Best Poetry Book Award in 1998 and the Anhinga Prize for Poetry in 1995. She received her M.F.A in poetry from the University of Massachusetts in Amherst, her B.A. in English from Holy Cross College, and is currently the editor of the New Madrid Journal of Contemporary Literature.