“One of my earliest memories is watching my father’s face light up as I chatted excitedly about the first book I read on my own. It’s taken me years to truly understand that moment—that, in that instant, my father witnessed my foray into the sacred world of fiction, of perspective-taking and erasing borders, of understanding the complexity of others. He watched me untangle from the confines of immigration, the Gulf War we’d just fled from, and the ensuing otherness, and when I began to write my own stories, that sense of freedom magnified.
“Writing has taught me to pay homage to my ancestors and envision the world after I am long gone; it has empowered me to tell stories of oppression and restoration, to envision peace as something tangible. I am my most human when I am writing, my most alert and engaged and compassionate. To have my novel seen as a conduit for peace-building is remarkably humbling. Thank you for the honor of the Dayton Literary Peace Prize.”
— Hala Alyan