Dayton Literary Peace Prize

Author Series Information

Congratulations on navigating through these challenging COVID years of teaching. We appreciate all that you have been through while bringing your best to your students during this trying time. We are hopeful that the 2022-2023 school year will allow you to breathe and return to a sense of normalcy.

DLPP has some very exciting news about the 2022-2023 DLPP Author Series. We are bringing two authors to Dayton for a student audience on Thursday, October 13 at 9:30 in the Kettering Fairmont Auditorium. Ben Fountain, the 2013 DLPP Fiction Runner-up for Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk, and Andrew Krivak, the 2012 Fiction Winner for The Sojourn, will be in conversation with recent U.S. veterans about the soldier’s point of view of war.

Ben Fountain was born in Chapel Hill and grew up in eastern North Carolina. A former practicing attorney, he is the author of Brief Encounters with Che Guevara, which won the PEN/Hemingway Award and the Barnes & Noble Discover Award for Fiction, and the novel Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk, winner of the National Book Critics’ Circle Award and a finalist for the National Book Award and runner-up for the Dayton Literary Peace Prize. Billy Lynn was adapted into a feature film directed by three-time Oscar winner Ang Lee, and Fountain’s work has been translated into over twenty languages. His series of essays published in The Guardian on the 2016 U.S. presidential election was subsequently nominated by the editors of The Guardian for the Pulitzer Prize in Commentary. He lives in Dallas, Texas.

About Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk

A razor-sharp satire set in Texas during America’s war in Iraq, this book explores the gaping national disconnect between the war at home and the war abroad.

Ben Fountain’s remarkable debut novel follows the surviving members of the heroic Bravo Squad through one exhausting stop in their media-intensive “Victory Tour” at Texas Stadium, football mecca of the Dallas Cowboys, their fans, promoters, and cheerleaders.

Andrew Krivak is the author of three novels, two chapbooks of poetry, and two works of nonfiction. His 2011 debut novel, The Sojourn, was a National Book Award finalist and winner of both the Dayton Literary Peace Prize for fiction and the inaugural Chautauqua Prize. He followed The Sojourn, in what would become the Dardan Trilogy, with The Signal Flame, a novel The New York Times said evoked “an austere landscape, a struggling family, and a deep source of pain.” Like the Appearance of Horses, the third novel in the Dardan Trilogy, is forthcoming in 2023. As a poet, Andrew has published the short collections Islands and Ghosts of the Monadnock Wolves. He is also author of the memoir A Long Retreat: In Search of a Religious Life and editor of The Letters of William Carlos Williams to Edgar Irving Williams, 1902-1912, which won the Louis Martz Prize for scholarly research on William Carlos Williams. He holds a BA from St. John’s College, Annapolis; an MFA in poetry from Columbia University; an MA in philosophy from Fordham University; and a PhD in literary modernism from Rutgers University. Andrew lives in Somerville, Massachusetts and Jaffrey, New Hampshire.

About The Sojourn

“Some writers are good at drawing a literary curtain over reality, and then there are writers who raise the veil and lead us to see for the first time. Krivak belongs to the latter. The Sojourn, about a war and a family and coming-of-age, does not present a single false moment of sentimental creation. Rather, it looks deeply into its characters’ lives with wisdom and humanity, and, in doing so, helps us experience a distant past that feels as if it could be our own.” ―National Book Award judges’ citation

The Sojourn is the story of Jozef Vinich, who was uprooted from a 19th-century mining town in Colorado by a family tragedy and returns with his father to an impoverished shepherd’s life in rural Austria-Hungary. When World War One comes, Jozef joins his adopted brother as a sharpshooter in the Kaiser’s army, surviving a perilous trek across the frozen Italian Alps and capture by a victorious enemy.

A stirring tale of brotherhood, coming-of-age, and survival, that was inspired by the author’s own family history, this novel evokes a time when Czechs, Slovaks, Austrians, and Germans fought on the same side while divided by language, ethnicity, and social class in the most brutal war to date. It is also a poignant tale of fathers and sons, addressing the great immigration to America and the desire to live the American dream amid the unfolding tragedy in Europe.

Author Series Membership

With an Author Series membership, the teacher(s) will have access to our curriculum for Andrew Krivak’s The Sojourn which offers thoughtful analytical and interpretive work for high school and college classrooms. In addition to exploring Krivak’s literary, historical, and cultural contexts, these lessons will include connections to Ben Fountain’s Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk, which looks at similar themes through a different narrative lens and time. Teachers will also find opportunities to connect these works to familiar texts already in their classrooms, such as the work of Tim O’Brien, to explore similar ideas and themes. A one-page preview of the curriculum is attached.

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 Ben Fountain and Andrew Krivak 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 either Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk or The Sojourn (or a combination of the two, 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 let Emily Kretzer know if you are interested in joining at [email protected] If you have questions, please contact Sharon Rab [email protected]

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 Andrew Krivak’s The Sojourn offers thoughtful analytical and interpretive work for high school and college classrooms. In addition to exploring Krivak’s literary, historical, and cultural contexts, these lessons will include possible connections to Ben Fountain’s Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk, which looks at similar themes through a different narrative lens and time. Teachers will also find opportunities to connect these works to familiar texts already in their classrooms, such as the work of Tim O’Brien to explore similar ideas and themes.

The four lessons within this unit ask students to consider:

The concept of a “sojourn”—the term’s meaning, the ways in which the text’s structure and themes reflect that meaning, and how each character’s “sojourns” reflect their growth and complex experiences.

The stylistic choices that authors make, not only to map out the narrative arc, but also to supply creative elements that aid in the development of character, tone, theme, and historical context.

The theme of honor as it relates to the temptation to desert during global and internal conflict, and how one at war struggles with duty to one’s cause and duty to self, comrades, and others.

The role that relationships with secondary characters play in the development of main character’s definitions of self, identity, and ethics.

This curriculum will be made available by the end of the academic year 2021-2022 so that teachers can make plans for fall and assign summer reading where needed. Participating teachers and students will be able to engage with both Krivak and Fountain during the Author Series Conversation, scheduled for October 13, 2022.