Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Dayton Literary Peace Prize Winners announced

In 1995, the Dayton Peace Accords were agreed to and initialed at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, ending a three-and-a-half year long war in Bosnia and beginning a strong commitment in the Miami Valley to promoting peace. In 1999, community leaders created the Dayton Peace Prizes to "recognize individuals who contributed to the peaceful reconstruction of a society torn apart by war." That tradition led to the creation of the Dayton Literary Peace Prize in 2006. It is the first and only US award awarded to recognize the power of the written word in promoting peace.

This past weekend, winners of the 2012 awards were announced.  Andrew Krivak won the fiction prize for his debut novel The Sojourn. Judges Alan Cheuse and April Smith wrote that it was chosen, in part, because, "Though this compact and powerful novel never so much celebrates war as it does the power of the mind to recall it and the power of language that can describe it, which is the beginning of the making of peace." Ha Jin was the runner-up in fiction with his book Nanjing Requiem.

In nonfiction, Adam Hochschild won with his World War I history To End All Wars : A Story of Loyalty and Rebellion 1914-1918. Hochschild has been credited for his narrative style that makes clear the impact of World War I on the development of "Stalinism, World War II, and the Holocaust. And it was also the beginning, sadly, of new-fangled machines of destruction, of a time when, as Hochschild writes, 'the magnetic attraction of combat, or at least the belief that it was patriotic and necessary, proved so much stronger than revulsion at mass death,'” according to nonfiction judge Ken McClane. The runner up in nonfiction was Annia Ciezadlo for Day of Honey : A Memoir of Food, Love, and War.

Finally, each year the Dayton Literary Peace Prize awards the Richard C. Holbrook Distinguished Achievement Award. Previous recipiencts of the lifetime achievement award include Barbara Kingsolver, Geraldine Brooks, Nicholas Kristoff and Sheryl WuDunn, Taylor Branch, Elie Wiesel, and Studs Terkel.  Sharon Rab, founder and co-chair of the awards has said that O'Brien is being recognized for his works, which, "capture the horrors and hallucinations of the twentieth century's most divisive war while carrying a powerful message for peace." At a time when most Americans are insulated from the impact of our ongoing wars, O'Brien's work helps us understand what it means to send soldiers into combat and reminds us that their war continues long after they return home."

For more information about the Dayton Literary Peace Prize and the gala to recognize this year's recipients, please visit http://daytonliterarypeaceprize.org/


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