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October 7, 2019

Dear Readers,
The Dayton Literary Peace Prize is pleased to present another fascinating and varied group of books and authors as winners and runners-up for the DLPP awards. As a group, they explore our relationships with the earth and with each other, giving us guidelines as to how to care for our world and our neighbors by reminding us that we each have responsibilities whether we accept them or not. In What We Owe, Golnaz Hashemzadeh Bonde explores the costs to immigrants of their decision to seek asylum—what they lose as well as what they gain. In The Overstory, Richard Powers builds a world of giant trees who (and I do mean who) too often become victims of small men, but who are championed by a group of humans who personify them. Eli Saslow describes how even the most entrenched white supremacist can be led to the truth by patient and committed friends in Rising Out of Hatred. In Tigerland, Wil Haygood takes us back to the tragic years of 1968 and 1969 to show us how a group of teenagers and their mentors also chose to rise out of hatred and become champions. These formulas for healing a world in difficult times can serve us well in this one.

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Our Winners


Prize in Fiction: What We Owe by Golnaz Hashemzadeh Bonde

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Golnaz Hashemzadeh Bonde was born in Iran in 1983 and fled with her parents to Sweden as a three year old. She graduated from the Stockholm School of Economics and was named one of 50 Goldman Sachs Global Leaders. She has studied at Columbia Business School, and worked at McKinsey & Co for a brief period before turning to the literary and social sector.

Golnaz is the founder and director of Inkludera, a non-profit organization dedicated to fighting marginalization in society by backing social entrepreneurs who have developed pragmatic new solutions to social challenges. A central part of Inkludera's work is helping their entrepreneurs to sell their services to the public sector. Inkludera supports 10 Swedish organizations, who together work with 35,000 individuals and sell to 90 municipalities.

Golnaz is a public speaker and has contributed as an independent columnist for Sweden’s main daily newspaper, Dagens Nyheter.

She debuted as an author in 2012 with the novel, She Is Not Me (Hon är inte jag) and her second novel, What We Owe (Det var vi) is being published in 26 languages.

Golnaz lives in Stockholm together with her husband, daughter and son.

My father tended to explain the unknown through stories. Not from his own imagination, but from telling whatever tales he could find—the kind of tales that dug deep into the human soul, and brought understanding. My first pet in Iran was a chicken named Papillon, and the movie Papillon is the first I remember watching. This was my father’s way of telling me about freedom—about how he, who does not have it, cannot stop fighting until he does. War and the fight for freedom eventually made us flee Iran for Sweden. How do you make sense of a new country? Well, I was only three years old but this was done through stories. Through the work of Astrid Lindgren, author of children’s literature and the creator of several universes that helped me understand the beauty and pains of Swedishness. I am forever grateful for these tales, for how reading them made me feel as if I were part of them. The strength of the written world, in creating empathy and reflection, is the most powerful thing I know. But I wish there had been tales that could tell my new country about me. Who I was, the refugee child. Why I had come, what I had brought, what my contribution would be. There were none of these stories when I grew up. I am honored to now be taking part in creating them, and thus help humanize the displaced.

—Golnaz Hashemzadeh Bonde


Prize in Nonfiction: Rising Out of Hatred by Eli Saslow

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In his Pulitzer Prize-winning coverage for The Washington Post, Eli Saslow reveals the human stories behind the most divisive issues of our time. From racism and poverty to addiction and mass shootings, Saslow’s work uncovers the impact of major national issues on individuals and families.

Saslow won the 2014 Pulitzer Prize in Explanatory Reporting for a series of stories about food stamps and food insecurity in the United States. Collected into the book American Hunger, his stories were praised as “unsettling and nuanced...forcing readers to grapple with issues of poverty and dependency.” Saslow was also named one of three finalists for the Pulitzer Prize in Feature Writing in 2013, 2016 and 2017. His stories in The Washington Post have been recognized with a George Polk Award, a PEN Literary Award, a James Beard Award, and other honors.

His latest book, Rising Out of Hatred, was published by Doubleday in the fall of 2018, tells the transformational story of Derek Black, who was raised to take over the white nationalist movement before a drastic change of course caused him to abandon everything he was taught to believe.

Saslow's first book, Ten Letters: The Stories Americans Tell Their President, examined President Obama’s daily habit of reading ten random letters from Americans. Booklist called Ten Letters “a testament to the power of the written word.”

Saslow is a longtime staff writer for The Washington Post, where he was initially a sportswriter. He has reported for 42 states and six countries. He covered the 2008 presidential campaign as well as President Obama’s life in the White House. Four of his stories have been anthologized in Best American Sportswriting, and he is an occasional contributor to ESPN The Magazine.

Saslow gives speeches about his books, about the role of journalism in highlighting social and public health issues, the craft of longform journalism, and the human impacts of public policy. He was the T. Anthony Pollner Distinguished Professor of Journalism at the University of Montana, and he has spoken about his work at Princeton, Syracuse University, UNC Wilmington, UVA, Northwestern, USC and elsewhere.

A 2004 graduate of Syracuse University, he now lives in Portland, Oregon, with his wife and three children.

What I appreciate most about my job as a reporter is it allows me a passport to spend time in places I wouldn’t otherwise go, with people I wouldn’t otherwise meet — and hopefully I get to take the reader along with me. That act feels even more essential at a time when Americans are increasingly isolated into our own bubbles by technology, by class, by ideology, and by geography. The best nonfiction journalism requires thorough investigation, but ultimately it is also an act of understanding, empathy, and peace.

—Eli Saslow


Runner-Up in Fiction: The Overstory by Richard Powers

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Richard Powers is the author of twelve novels that explore connections among disciplines as disparate as photography, artificial intelligence, musical composition, ecology, genomics, game theory, virtual reality, race, biology, and business. His work has appeared in The New Yorker, Harper's, Esquire, Grand Street, Conjunctions, Granta, The Guardian, Common Knowledge, Wired, Tin House, Zoetrope, Paris Review, The Believer, Best American Short Stories, and The New York Times Sunday Magazine.

His books have won numerous recognitions including The Rosenthal and Vursell Awards; the James Fenimore Cooper Prize; the Corrington Award; a PEN/Hemingway Special Citation; the John Dos Passos Prize for Literature, two Pushcart Prizes, and TIME Magazine's Book of the Year. He is a MacArthur Fellow, a fellow of both the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and the American Academy of Arts and Letters, and a recipient of the Lannan Literary Award. He won the W.H. Smith Literary Award for best novel of 2003, and the Ambassador Book Award, 2004. His novel The Echo Maker won the 2006 National Book Award. He has been both long-listed and short-listed for the Man-Booker Prize. The Overstory was awarded the 2019 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction. His work is translated into twenty-six languages.

No justice, no peace. No kinship, no justice. No empathy, no kinship. Reading and writing are exercises in empathy: How would the urgencies of the world look and feel, if I could get beyond myself? The best way to get beyond the self is a good story. No good stories, no peace.

—Richard Powers


Runner-Up in Nonfiction: Tigerland by Wil Haygood

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Wil Haygood has spent many years crisscrossing the worlds of book writing and journalism. His biographies of Adam Clayton Powell, Jr., Sammy Davis Jr., Sugar Ray Robinson, and Thurgood Marshall were all critically acclaimed and garnered literary awards. His chronicle of the life of White House butler Eugene Allen became the basis for the award-winning film The Butler, directed by Lee Daniels and starring, among others, Forest Whitaker, Oprah Winfrey, Jane Fonda and Vanessa Redgrave. A Guggenheim and National Endowment for the Humanities Fellow, Haygood, a professor at Miami University, Ohio, has also been a Pulitzer Prize finalist and is the recipient of several honorary degrees. His latest book, Tigerland, was awarded the Ohioana Book Award, and was a finalist for the Benjamin Hooks National Book Award, the Richard Wright-Zora Neale Hurston Award, and the Dayton Literary Peace Prize, while also being long-listed for the Andrew Carnegie Medal for Excellence.

The mission that I gave myself in writing TIGERLAND was to excavate a forgotten story set against the America of 1968-69. Having earlier traveled the world as a correspondent to war zones, I came across a story in Columbus, Ohio, of black high school athletes set loose in that fiery year. Their peace-hungering hero, Martin Luther King Jr., had fallen to a white supremacist. The Tigers of East High School unleashed their talents not in the fires of the time, but on the basketball courts and baseball diamonds, winning two state championships in those sports that year. It was a history-making moment for them, and for the black and white coalition that supported their rise to glory. The black athlete — then as now — has never been far from the social and political swirl of America. Literature is the whistle that won’t stop blowing at game’s end; the stories go on and on.

I’m both honored and touched by the recognition given this saga by the Dayton Literary Peace Prize Committee.

—Wil Haygood


To learn more about our authors and their books, click here.




October 7: Join us for a DLPP Community Conversation at the Dayton Metro Library

All public conversations are from 6:30 to 8:00 pm in the Eichelberger Forum of the Main branch of the Dayton Metro Library. The library has ample copies of the books for checkout.

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October 7, 2019
N. Scott Momaday's House Made of Dawn

University of Dayton Associate Professor of English Tereza Szeghi will host this event. Two Native American community members will participate and the session will begin with a showing of the 30-minute film Return to Rainy Mountain by the author's daughter, Jill Momaday.

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October 12: Margaret Wrinkle

Saturday, October 12, 2019
7:30 PM

Dayton Peace Festival, 208 West Monument Avenue

Margaret Wrinkle will join the Dayton Peace Festival to talk about the lessons learned from researching and writing her novel Wash, which explores American slavery and was the 2014 Fiction Runner Up for the Dayton Literary Peace Prize. She will be in conversation with Dayton poet and Sinclair College English professor Furaha Henry-Jones.

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November 1: Gilbert King book discussion

Friday, November 1, 2019
5:00 PM

Sinclair College, Building 14, Premier Health Grand Entrance. Free and open to the public.

Pulitzer and Dayton Literary Peace Prize-winning author Gilbert King will discuss his book Beneath a Ruthless Sun, a story exposing the corruption of racial bigotry and animus that shadows a community, a state and a nation. Book signing immediately following.

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November 2: DLPP Screening

N. Scott Momaday: Words from a Bear

Limited seating! Register here.

Saturday, November 2, 2019
11:00 AM Screening

THE NEON, 130 East 5th Street, Dayton, OH 45402

The Dayton Literary Peace Prize and the 2019 Holbrooke Winner, N. Scott Momaday, will host a special screening of N. Scott Momaday: Words from a Bear on Saturday, November 2nd. The screening begins at 11:00 AM, followed by a discussion. N. Scott Momaday will introduce the film.

There are only 133 seats available for this FREE screening, so make sure to reserve your seat before they sell out!

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November 3: A Conversation with the 2019 Dayton Literary Peace Prize Winners

Limited seating: reservations accepted for the first 300 Register here.

Sunday, November 3, 2019
9:00 AM Registration; 10:00 AM Program

Sinclair Community College, Ponitz Center, Building 12

Book signing after the program; Books will be available for purchase. Free underground parking is available under Building 12 off of W. 4th Street.

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November 4: Book Discussion

Monday, November 4, 2019
5:30 PM

Sinclair College, Building 12, Smith Auditorium. Free and open to the public.

Dayton Literary Peace Prize winner and author Wil Haygood will share his experiences researching and writing about Thurgood Marshall; Eugene Allen, the butler who served 8 Presidents; and Columbus East High School's wonderful story. He will also share his stories about being taken hostage by Somali pirates and seeing the release of Nelson Mandela from prison. Book signing immediately following.

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November 6: Wil Haygood Lecture

Wednesday, November 6, 2019
7:30 PM

University of Dayton, Kennedy Union Ballroom

Wil Haygood will give the inaugural lecture in support of The Roger Brown Residency in Social Justice, Writing and Sport.

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November 7: Screening of Glory Road with Wil Haygood

Thursday, November 7, 2019
7:30 PM

University of Dayton, Sears Recital Hall, Jesse Phillips Humanities Center

Wil Haygood will introduce a screening of Glory Road


Our 14th annual gala event is sold out, and will take place November 3, 2019.

Please click to see our upcoming 2019 public events.


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