Dayton Literary Peace Prize

Author Series Information

DLPP has some very exciting news about the 2024 DLPP Author Series. We are bringing Alexander Starritt, the 2021 DLPP Fiction Winner for We Germans, to Dayton to discuss We Germans for a student audience on Friday, October 11 at 10:00 am in the Kettering Fairmont Auditorium.

Alexander Starritt’s first novel, The Beast, a loving satire of Britain’s tabloid newspapers, was published in 2017. The Spectator named it as a book of the year, calling it “irresistible”, while The Sunday Times said: “He proves that he is not only a very funny writer, but possesses the ruthless unsentimentality of the finest satirists.”

His second novel, We Germans, a story of German soldiers in the Second World War, was published in 2020. The New York Times said: “Starritt’s daring work challenges us to lay bare our histories, to seek answers from the past and to be open to perspectives starkly different from our own,” while Kirkus Reviews called it “a small masterpiece.” We Germans has been translated into several languages.

Starritt has also translated works by Franz Kafka, Stefan Zweig, Arthur Schnitzler, and others into English. In particular he made a selection and translation of Kafka’s best short stories, titled The Unhappiness of Being a Single Man

Starritt was born in the northeast of Scotland. He has lived in Italy, where he worked for the Santa Maddalena Literary Foundation, and in Germany. He now lives in London with his family.

In the throes of the Second World War, young Meissner, a college student with dreams of becoming a scientist, is drafted into the German army and sent to the Eastern Front. But soon his regiment collapses in the face of the onslaught of the Red Army, hell-bent on revenge in its race to Berlin.

Many decades later, now an old man reckoning with his past, Meissner pens a letter to his grandson explaining his actions, his guilt as a Nazi participator, and the difficulty of life after war. Found among his effects after his death, the letter is at once a thrilling story of adventure and a questing rumination on the moral ambiguity of war. In his years spent fighting the Russians and attempting afterward to survive the Gulag, Meissner recounts a life lived in perseverance and atonement. Wracked with shame—both for himself and for Germany—the grandfather explains his dark rationale, exults in the courage of others, and blurs the boundaries of right and wrong.

Author Series Membership

With an Author Series membership, the teacher(s) will have access to our curriculum for Alexander Starritt’s We Germans which offers thoughtful analytical and interpretive work for high school and college classrooms. Teachers will also find opportunities to connect these works to familiar texts already in their classrooms to explore similar ideas and themes.

Use of the curriculum is not mandatory, but teachers will find it an effective tool to not only teach about the novel and its relationship with peace, but also to:

Assist students in connecting with the theme of peace as it relates to the featured category

  • Examine the literary techniques that the author chooses to convey the theme of the book
  • Connect historical elements of the book to the characters and themes and the students
  • Draw meaning from the author’s writing choices
  • Give students a path by which to empathize with the main characters in the chosen book
  • Provide students with a reflective device on which to focus on their own belief and value systems
  • Build a knowledge base through which to track the characters’ and their own journey to understanding of the “other”
  • Offer an opportunity for students to openly express their ideas and opinions as they relate to the theme the book explores
  • Discuss how an individual determines behaviors and actions toward others

Students will attend the live event with Alexander Starritt and have the opportunity to ask questions.

Students will have the opportunity to have their books signed by the author.

A video of the event will be available to member schools for future use.

The school will receive a class set of 25 copies of We Germans (totaling 25 books) and additional copies can be ordered at a greatly reduced price.

The cost of a membership is $500 made payable to Dayton Literary Peace Prize Foundation. Books can be ordered before the end of the school year for summer reading.

Please reach out to Emily Kretzer at [email protected] if you are interested in joining or have questions.

We welcome any and all schools to become a part of the DLPP Author Series. If you know of other teachers throughout the area, please have them contact us.

Curriculum Synopsis

The Dayton Literary Peace Prize curriculum for Alexander Starritt’s We Germans offers thoughtful analytical and interpretive work for high school and college classrooms. Access to the curriculum for We Germans produced for our Teaching Peace through Literature series that adheres to state and national standards and includes:

  • A suggested reading schedule with daily reading, writing, and discussion activities as well as additional resources available to teachers.

Within the curriculum, each of a series of lessons based on We Germans also includes the following procedures:

  • Self Induction
  • Development
  • Questions
  • Closure and Assessment
  • Follow Up
  • Reflective Self Evaluation

Each lesson also includes the following:

  • Goals with Relevant Standards and Benchmark Indicators
  • Behavioral Objectives
  • Materials
  • Prerequisite Knowledge
  • Worksheets and Handouts

This curriculum can be used as written or adapted into an existing curriculum. The teacher is provided all of the instructional materials and will use them as fits the school’s needs.

This curriculum will be made available by the end of the academic year 2023-2024 so that teachers can make plans for fall and assign summer reading where needed. Participating teachers and students will be able to engage with Alexander Starritt during the Author Series Conversation, scheduled for October 11, 2024.