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July 23, 2019

Dear Readers,

The Dayton Literary Peace Prize is delighted to announce that novelist, poet, painter, memoirist, playwright, and scholar N. Scott Momaday will be receiving the 2019 Ambassador Richard Holbrooke Award for Distinguished Achievement. Mr. Momaday won the Pulitzer for House Made of Dawn in 1969 and became the inspiration for several generations of Native American writers, our own Louise Erdrich among them. More information about him can be found below.

The DLPP has other news. Mark Meister, our Executive Director who has been with the DLPP since the organization’s inception, has moved to St. Paul to become the President and Executive Director of The Museum of Russian Art in Minneapolis. His family will be reunited as he and his wife Carla and his daughter Rachel will be moving a few blocks from his daughter Katie and her family in St. Paul. I visited Mark at the museum in Minneapolis last week. It is a gem of a museum. He cannot be replaced, but the DLPP has pulled together a team of people to manage the transition. The team was able to work with Mark before his departure to learn from his skill and expertise.

As a member of that team, our Administrative Assistant Emily Kretzer, has been promoted and will become our Operations Manager, our first (and only) full-time staff person.

Join us in wishing Mark all the best in his new position, and reuniting his family. We also extend a warm congratulations to Emily as she assumes her new responsibilities.

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2019 Ambassador Richard C. Holbrooke Distinguished Achievement Award

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N. Scott Momaday is a poet, a Pulitzer prize-winning novelist, a playwright, a painter and photographer, a storyteller, and a professor of English and American literature. He is Native American (Kiowa), and among his chief interests are Native American art and oral tradition. He received the National Medal of Arts in November 2007 “for his writings and his work that celebrate and preserve Native American art and oral tradition.” In addition to the National Medal of Arts, he has received the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction for his first novel, House Made of Dawn, a Guggenheim Fellowship, a National Institute of Arts and Letters Award, the Golden Plate Award from the American Academy of Achievement, the Premio Letterario Internazionale “Mondello”, Italy’s highest literary award, The Saint Louis Literary Award, the Premio Fronterizo, the highest award of the Border Book Festival, the 2008 Oklahoma Humanities Award, and the 2003 Autry Center for the American West Humanities Award. UNESCO named him an Artist for Peace in 2003, the first American to be so honored since the United States rejoined UNESCO. He is a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and holds 20 honorary degrees from colleges and universities including Yale University, the University of Massachusetts, the University of Oklahoma and the University of Tulsa in his home state of Oklahoma, Blaise Pascal University (France) and his alma mater, the University of New Mexico. In 2018 he received the Anisfield-Wolf Lifetime Achievement Book Award. In 2019 he was inducted into the Native American Hall of Fame. In 2019 he was named the recipient of the Prairie Reserve Ken Burns American Heritage Prize.

Momaday was born in Lawton, Oklahoma, and was raised in Indian Country in Oklahoma and the Southwest, where his parents, artist Al Momaday and writer Natachee Scott Momaday, were teachers employed by the Bureau of Indian Affairs. He graduated from the University of New Mexico (BA 1958) and Stanford University (MA 1960, PhD 1963). He has held tenured appointments at the University of California, Santa Barbara, the University of California, Berkeley, Stanford University, and retired as Regents Professor at the University of Arizona. He was the first professor to teach American literature at the University of Moscow in Russia in 1974, and was the inaugural University of Alaska, Fairbanks, Northern Momentum Teacher/Scholar in 2001. He is presently a Senior Scholar at the School for Advanced Research in Santa Fe, New Mexico.



Citation by Carol S. Loranger

Associate Dean, College of Liberal Arts, Wright State University

Novelist, poet, painter, memoirist, playwright, and scholar N. Scott Momaday’s work played a major role in the mid-century flowering of Native American literature and continues to be influential and inspirational to readers and writers.

With the publication of his first novel, House Made of Dawn in 1968, Momaday was instrumental in awakening Americans’ eyes to the living conditions and struggles of our native populations. House Made of Dawn introduced readers to Abel–home from war, drunk, disaffected, self-destructive, and depressed, both a victim and a victimizer. Abel suffers what we would now recognize as post-traumatic stress disorder, but not just as a result of his wartime experiences. His partial assimilation into the dominant culture has severed him from his spiritual center in the land and tribe. Abel’s spiral into self-destruction is only allayed when he returns a second time to the reservation, to care for his dying grandfather and, subsequently, perform tribal rituals associated with death. The power of storytelling, ritual, and oneness with the natural world to restore wholeness or create the whole self is foregrounded in House as well as in later works. This thematic triad—story, ritual, place–appears throughout his work and that of writers like Paula Gunn Allen, Leslie Marmon Silko, Gerald Vizenor, James Welch, LInda Hogan, Sherman Alexie, Louise Erdrich, David Seals, Thomas King, Joy Harjo, and Tommy Orange, to name just a few.



N. Scott Momaday's Response to Winning the DLPP Ambassador Richard C. Holbrooke Distinguished Achievement Award

If we are to understand the synthesis of literature and peace, we must first consider that the end of art is the definition of the human condition. In its ultimate realization the human condition is a state of peace. Peace is the objective of human evolution, and literature is the measure of that evolution. The history of human experience is in many ways a history of dysfunction and conflict, and literature, because it is an accurate record of that history, reflects not only what is peaceful but what is the universal hope and struggle for peace. Literature and peace are at last indivisible. They form an equation that is the definition of art and humanity.
- N. Scott Momaday

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DLPP Bookmarks

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This summer we said goodbye to our Executive Director Mark Meister. Mark was a member of the DLPP Board of Trustees from the inception and volunteered as Co-chair of the organization since its early years.

We asked Mark to share his thoughts on the following questions.

Q. Comment on the literary impact of the DLPP.

MM. It was amazing to see how quickly the DLPP awards became recognized nationally and internationally, as attested to by its frequent mention with the top literary awards in the world. I think there are two reasons for that - it’s unique as a literary peace prize, and it is revered by the recipients because it places their work in a realm of importance beyond the simply literary.

Q. Can you share a highlight from one of the events?

MM. A highlight for me was Tim O’Brien’s Lifetime Achievement acceptance speech, when, in tears, he noted that he is always classified as a war writer for his novels about Vietnam, but that he had always thought about himself as a peace writer, and now that was finally being acknowledged.

Q. How important has the DLPP been for the Dayton community and region?

MM. The DLPP is one more institution that constitutes the continuing role of Dayton as a city of peace. From the literary perspective, the DLPP has provided thousands in the area with the opportunity to hear, meet, and interact with major established authors and rising new talents. On the flip side of that, many of the authors have come to love the DLPP and the great Dayton reading public. As a result, they are eager to return to Dayton whenever they can, for our awards event or other DLPP events taking place throughout the year.

Q. What makes this organization special?

MM. What makes all of this so amazing is that until two years ago the DLPP was an all-volunteer organization. It took tremendous dedication from the volunteers to implement the major awards event every year, and I am grateful to them for their hard work on the DLPP’s behalf, and for their friendship, which both Carla and I cherish.

We thank Mark for his leadership in a time of development and growth and congratulate him on his new position as executive director at The Museum of Russian Art in Minneapolis.

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Meet Emily Kretzer

Emily joined the DLPP team in March 2017 as the organization’s administrative assistant. She worked to support the efforts of the Board of Trustees, Founder and Co-chairs. She has been, not only an asset to the organization, but an advocate for the mission. In June, to coincide with Mark’s departure Emily was promoted to DLPP operations manager. In her role, she will manage the budget operations in addition to continued support of the programs.

Emily earned a M.A. in English Composition and Rhetoric, a B.A. in English, B.S. in Middle Childhood Education and Minored in French at Wright State University in Dayton. She also earned a Professional and Technical Writing Certificate from Wright State University.

Emily shared her thoughts about the new position, “I’ve learned so much and been inspired as a result of my work with DLPP. I’m excited about this new opportunity and thankful to Mark for his support to get me prepared”.


Our 14th annual awards gala will take place November 3, 2019.

Stay tuned for other upcoming events.


Dayton Literary Peace Prize Book Club:

DLPP book club will be meeting at Lily’s Bistro tomorrow, Tuesday the 23rd at 6:00 pm to discuss Gloria Steinem’s My Life on the Road. Everyone is welcome to attend, whether you have read the book or not. Please contact Carol MacMann if you would like to attend.


Support the Dayton Literary Peace Prize when you shop with Amazon using this link.


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

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