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Dear Readers,

We are delighted to announce that Colm Tóibín, Irish essayist, journalist, novelist, is the 2017 recipient of the Dayton Literary Peace Prize Ambassador Richard C. Holbrooke Distinguished Achievement Award. This announcement initiates the 2017 season of awards and will be followed by the announcement of our finalists in August and our winners several weeks later.

Mr. Tóibín takes the reader through time, across continents, into the politics of religion and the shifting landscape of sexuality. Throughout his writing, he reminds us of our humanity, shared through history and shared today.
If this is your introduction to Mr. Tóibín, you will find his work to be admirable in its variety and depth. He has been described as one of the world’s greatest living storytellers.

Stay tuned. We will be back in touch with additional information about the 2017 Dayton Literary Peace Prize Awards.

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2017 Richard C. Holbrooke Distinguished Achievement Award

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Colm Tóibín was born in Ireland in 1955. He studied at University College Dublin. On graduation, he lived in Spain, studying Catalan and Spanish, and witnessing the transformation of the country to democracy. His time in Spain inspired his first novel ‘The South’ (1990) and his ‘Homage to Barcelona’ (1990).

On returning to Dublin, he worked as a journalist, becoming editor of ‘Magill’, Ireland’s main current affairs magazine. Later, he traveled in South America and Africa, covering the trial of the generals in Buenos Aires in 1985. The atmosphere in Buenos Aires in the aftermath of the dictatorship is captured in his novel ‘The Story of the Night’ (1996). In 1986 he walked along the border between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland. His account of that journey was called ‘Bad Blood’ (1987). Read more...


For over thirty years in journalism, short and long fiction, criticism, speeches, essays and lectures, Colm Toíbín has explored the power and significance of family—for good or ill—and extended readers’ understanding of “family” to include not just those familiar domestic groupings created by birth or by sexual and social affinities, but also larger, shifting and overlapping family groups, sustained or divided by tribal, national or religious, political, and civic identity. These families may be whole or broken, healthy or healing, fortunate or cursed, but they are always powerfully present, exerting their influence on family members, defining individuals by inclusion and exclusion. Begin by examining the construct family and the themes yield themselves: exile, estrangement, and reconciliation; the push and pull of home; and the close link between love and rage. Read more...

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Our task as writers is to work on our sentences, pay close attention to the rhythm, texture and tone of prose. Mostly, our books will be read silently, as they are written silently. Our aim is to reach the reader’s imagination, have an effect on the nervous systems of other people. In ways that are both powerful and mysterious a book or a story can deepen the complexity of who we are in the world, how we feel, offering no easy resolutions, no simple images. Through fiction, we learn to see others. The page is not a mirror. It is blank when I start to write, but it contains a version of the world when I finish. It is there for others to be inspired by. Slowly then, a sentence or set of sentences that have their own integrity, their own sense of balance, their own striving towards worth, can become a sonorous metaphor for much else, including for how we might live in the world, how we might see others, what we might do. Good writing thus has elements and undercurrents that are moral as much as aesthetic. Good sentences offer us a way to imagine life in all its strangeness and ambiguity and possibility, alert us to the power of the imagination to transform and transcend our nature, offer us a blueprint not only for who we are but for who we might be, who we might become.
- Colm Tóibín


We welcome your thoughts and reactions. Please contact Sharon Rab with ideas for future newsletters.


Our 12th annual awards gala will take place November 5, 2017.

Stay tuned for other upcoming events.


Write On!

This feature takes you to recent essays, op-eds or other short pieces published by our authors, or alerts you to new books by and forthcoming events featuring our authors and judges.

A Conversation with Colm Tóibín, Seney-Stovall Chapel, March 17, 2017

'House Of Names' Reimagines A Classic Greek Tragedy : NPR


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