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Winners to receive $10,000 Prize;
Billy Lynn's Long Halftime Walk by Ben Fountain
and Devil in the Grove by Gilbert King named runners-up

Dayton, OH (September 24, 2013) – Celebrating the power of literature to promote peace and global understanding, the Dayton Literary Peace Prize Foundation today announced that The Orphan Master's Son by Adam Johnson and Far From the Tree by Andrew Solomon are the winners of the 2013 Dayton Literary Peace Prize for fiction and nonfiction, respectively.

The Dayton Literary Peace Prize Foundation also announced this year’s runners-up: Billy Lynn's Long Halftime Walk by Ben Fountain and Devil in the Grove by Gilbert King.

Inspired by the 1995 Dayton Peace Accords that ended the war in Bosnia, The Dayton Literary Peace Prize is the only international literary peace prize awarded in the United States. Winners receive a $10,000 honorarium while runners-up receive $1,000. They will be honored at a ceremony hosted by award-winning journalist Nick Clooney on Sunday, November 3rd at the Benjamin and Marian Schuster Performing Arts Center in Dayton, Ohio.

In The Orphan Master's Son (Random House), Johnson tells the story of Pak Jun Do, a loyal North Korean who dutifully serves as a professional kidnapper for the state until he takes on the treacherous role of rival to Kim Jong Il in an attempt to save the woman he loves. Hailed as “the single best work of fiction published in 2012" by The Wall Street Journal, the novel provides a riveting portrait of a world rife with hunger, corruption, and casual cruelty but also camaraderie, stolen moments of beauty, and love.

In Far From the Tree: Parents, Children and the Search for Identity (Scribner), Solomon draws on ten years' worth of interviews to tell the stories of exceptional children affected by a spectrum of cognitive, physical, or psychological differences, and the extraordinary parents who embrace those differences and try to alter the world’s understanding of them. Whether considering prenatal screening for genetic disorders, cochlear implants for the deaf, or gender reassignment surgery for transgender people, Solomon narrates a universal struggle toward compassion. Elegantly reported by a spectacularly original thinker, Far From the Tree explores themes of compassion, acceptance, and tolerance — all rooted in the insight that love can transcend every prejudice.

"Each of this year's honorees illustrates how a single event or circumstance – from having an exceptional child to falling in love with the wrong person – can be a powerful moral catalyst," said Sharon Rab, founder and co-chair of the Dayton Literary Peace Prize Foundation. "These extraordinary stories remind us that even the most intimate personal challenge can serve as a building block for peace by inspiring deeper understanding and empathy.”

The 2013 runners-up are:

  • Fiction: Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk by Ben Fountain (HarperCollins): A hilarious and heartbreaking day in the life of an Iraq War hero whose squad appears in a Dallas Cowboys halftime show as part of an effort to rekindle support for the war.

  • Nonfiction: Devil in the Grove by Gilbert King (HarperCollins): A richly detailed chronicle of four black Florida men who, falsely accused of rape in 1949, were defended by civil rights crusader Thurgood Marshall -- later the first African-American Supreme Court justice.

Organizers previously announced that Wendell Berry, the novelist, essayist, poet, farmer, and activist, will be the recipient of the 2013 Richard C. Holbrooke Distinguished Achievement Award, formerly known as the Lifetime Achievement Award and renamed two years ago in honor of the celebrated U.S. diplomat. Frequently compared to Henry David Thoreau, Berry is a full-time farmer who has influenced a generation of activists through more than 50 works of fiction, nonfiction, and poetry exploring how humans can live more harmoniously with both the land and each other.

To be eligible for the 2013 awards, English-language books must have been published or translated into English in 2012 and address the theme of peace on a variety of levels, such as between individuals, among families and communities, or among nations, religions, or ethnic groups.

A panel of prominent writers, including Ken Bode, Christopher Cerf, Michelle Latiolais, and Maureen McCoy, reviewed the 2013 finalists and selected this year’s winners and runners-up. A full list of the 2013 finalists can be found at:

About the Dayton Literary Peace Prize

Click here to visit our website The Dayton Literary Peace Prize honors writers whose work uses the power of literature to foster peace, social justice, and global understanding. Launched in 2006, it has already established itself as one of the world’s most prestigious literary honors, and is the only literary peace prize awarded in the United States. As an offshoot of the Dayton Peace Prize, the Dayton Literary Peace Prize awards a $10,000 cash prize each year to one fiction and one nonfiction author whose work advances peace as a solution to conflict, and leads readers to a better understanding of other cultures, peoples, religions, and political points of view. An annual lifetime achievement award, renamed the Richard C. Holbrooke Distinguished Achievement Award in 2011, is also bestowed upon a writer whose body of work reflects the Prize's mission; previous honorees include Studs Terkel, Elie Wiesel, Taylor Branch, Nicholas Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn, Geraldine Brooks, Barbara Kingsolver, and Tim O'Brien. For more information visit the Dayton Literary Peace Prize media center at

Press release in PDF format.

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Promoting Peace and Literacy Around the World

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