Illinois State Library

Illinois Center for the Book

Individual Author Record

General Information

Name:  Susan Lorraine Fox  

Pen Name: Susan Fox

Genre: Non-Fiction

Audience: Adult; Young Adult;

Born: 1946 in Momence, Illinois

-- Website --
-- Susan Lorraine Fox on WorldCat --

Illinois Connection

Fox lives in Momence, along the Kankakee River. She graduated from the University of St. Francis in Joliet, Kankakee Community College, and completed a certificate in technical writing from Illinois Institute of Technology in Chicago. Her book links a sleepy river town with a country halfway around the world, and a time in history that reaches back nearly forty decades. ''Little Women of Baghlan: the Story of a Nursing School for Girls in Afghanistan, the Peace Corps, and Life Before the Taliban'' is the true account of an ordinary young woman who answers the call to service and adventure during an extraordinary time in world history. Illinois native Jo Carter lands in Kabul, Afghanistan on March 21, 1968, with instructions to start a nursing school for Afghan girls. She keeps a daily journal, and nearly a half century later, her words are a window to the past—when Afghanistan was on the cusp of becoming a modern nation, moving toward recognizing women’s rights. That coun try is gone, buried under layers of recent events, and there is little evidence to indicate that such a time or place ever existed. Little Women of Baghlan rivals the excitement, intrigue, and suspense of any novel, unfolding against the backdrop of changing social mores, the Cold War, the Peace Corps, and a country at the crossroads of China, Russia, India, Pakistan, and Iran.

Biographical and Professional Information

Susan Fox has worked as a technical writer for a major consulting firm in the Chicago area, and is a member of the Literary Writers Network, currently serving as senior editorial assistant for their online publication, 10,000 Tons of Black Ink. She holds a bachelor’s degree in psychology from the University of St. Francis, Joliet, Illinois, a nursing degree, and a certificate in technical writing from the Illinois Institute of Technology in Chicago. Fox has been a keynote speaker at The Indiana Center for Middle East Peace, hosted by Dr. Michael Spath, and has read excerpts from her book at one of Chicago’s premier independent book stores, the Book Cellar. The opening pages of the book recently took honors in the nonfiction category at the Writers’ Institute in Madison, Wisconsin.Susan works at St. Mary’s Hospital in Kankakee, Illinois, serves on the Human Rights Committee for Good Shepherd Manor in Momence, Illinois, and is a member of the Kankakee Valley Wind Ensemble. She lives in Momence with her husband Ken.

Published Works Expand for more information

Titles At Your Library

Little Women of Baghlan: The Story of a Nursing School for Girls in Afghanistan, the Peace Corps, and Life Before the Taliban
ISBN: 1935925210

Peace Corps Writers. 2013

A forgotten diary...Afghanistan during the Cold War... and a young American volunteer with a story that rivals the intrigue and suspense of any novel. Jo Carter deploys to Baghlan with the Peace Corps in 1968, before the Russian invasion or the emergence of the Taliban. From her plane window, she views the Hindu Kush Mountains, desolate and barren. On the ground, Kabul explodes into color and sound. Taxis honk. Busses spew diesel fumes, sharing traffic lanes with donkeys and camels. The air is infused with the aroma of wool, dust,and dung. As the Volunteers tour the Blue Mosque in Mazar-e Sharif, three Russian MIGS buzz the courtyard, foreshadowing the Soviet invasion of 1989.
With Co-workers Nan and Mary, Jo startsa school of nursing for young Afghan girls. The Volunteers teachin Farsi, deliver babies, and work in a hospital that lacks equipment, trained doctors, and a reliable sourceof water. They shop the bazaar, and host a Thanksgiving dinner for theirAfghan neighbors. They party with a group of near-by German Volunteers. Jo adopts a juie puppy she names Alex.
On Christmas Eve 1968, Jo walks thefrozen mud streets of Baghlan. Overhead, the Apollo 8 astronauts orbit themoon. In January, the women travel on vacation to India, prompting the PeaceCorps director in Kabul to dub them the "Little Women of Baghlan." They make astop at Peshawar Air Base in Pakistan, and Jo attracts the attention of ahandsome, charismatic airman. When they return, she reflects on the paradoxthat is Afghanistan. The Afghans are mired in poverty, yet generous to thepoint of embarrassment. The men are solicitous of the Volunteers, yet capableof turning a blind eye to the suffering of their wives, daughters, and sisters.The climate is harsh and unforgiving the Hindu Kush starkly beautiful. Duringher two-year deployment, Jo fills the pages of a small, compact diary, neverdreaming her tiny handwriting will eventually become a significant historicalaccount.
Nearly a half century later, herjournal is a bittersweet reminder of a country that has since vanished--acountry on the brink of becoming a modern nation. The country Jo once calledhome has been buried under layers of recent history, and there is littleevidence to suggest that such a time or place ever existed.
"Little Women of Baghlan"was named as a finalist for Book of the Year by the Chicago WritersAssociation.


  • Honors at Writers Conference, University of Wisconsin, Madison

    Speaking Engagements

    Speaking Engagement Availability (Yes)

    Susan will happily travel and speak at your function, sign books, and answer questions. Contact her with information about your group via email at or through her website,

    Little Women of Baghlan The Story of a Nursing School for Girls in Afghanistan, the Peace Corps, and Life before the Taliban Program

    Finalist CWA 2015 Book of the Year, nontraditional nonfiction. A forgotten diary comes alive in this true account of an extraordinary young woman who serves in Afghanistan 1968-70. Set against the backdrop of the Cold War, in a country at the crossroads of Russia, India, Pakistan, and Iran, Foxs story reads like a novel, packed withadventure, flashes of humor, and little known information about this complex country. (Adults; 30-60 min; $100-$150 negotiable with permission to sell books)