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RECOGNIZING THE POWER OF
LITERATURE TO PROMOTE PEACE AND RECONCILIATION, DAYTON LITERARY PEACE PRIZE
ANNOUNCES 2020 FINALISTS
IN FICTION & NONFICTION
Shortlist includes The Nickel Boys by Colson
Our Man by George Packer, What You Have Heard
is True by Carolyn Forchˇ
Dayton, OH (October 5, 2020) – Recognizing the power of literature to promote peace and
reconciliation, the Dayton Literary Peace Prize Foundation today announced the
finalists for the 2020 Dayton Literary Peace Prize in fiction and nonfiction.
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. The Prize celebrates the power of literature to
promote peace, social justice, and global understanding.
Atwood, whose critically acclaimed fiction, poetry, and nonfiction have offered
prescient warnings about the political consequences of individual complacency, will receive the 2020 Ambassador Richard C. Holbrooke Distinguished Achievement
Award, named in honor of the noted U.S.
diplomat who negotiated the Dayton Peace Accords.
The full list
of finalists can be found below and at www.daytonliterarypeaceprize.org.
ŅFrom the pandemic to Black Lives Matter protests to a looming election
that could redefine the country, the events of 2020 have laid bare deep fault
lines in AmericaÕs foundation -- economic disparity, racism, misogyny -- which
are explored by many of the books on this yearÕs finalist list,Ó said Sharon Rab, Chair of the Dayton Literary Peace Prize Foundation.
ŅBut just as importantly, the books set outside the U.S. reveal how as a global
power, our fault lines reach far beyond our borders. They show us how our
political choices can affect individuals all over the world, and remind us at a
critical moment in our history that we all have a duty to engage in deciding
the direction the country will take.Ó
Dayton Literary Peace Prize fiction finalists are
10 Minutes, 38
Seconds in This Strange World
by Elif Shafak, Bloomsbury.
The latest novel from internationally renowned writer and speaker Elif Shafak recalls the life of a
murder victim during her dying moments. Born into a religiously oppressive
tradition in Turkey, the protagonist escapes to Istanbul and finds beauty and
light amid the darkness of the cityÕs sordid sex trafficking industry. Her
chosen family brings her story to a buoyant and breathtaking conclusion,
celebrating the power of friendship in our darkest times.
Archive by Valeria Luiselli, Knopf. In this emotionally resonant, fiercely
imaginative, and utterly timely novel, an artist couple set out on a road trip
with their two children in the heat of summer. The bonds between them begin to
fray as a larger crisis plays out on the news: thousands of kids trying to
cross the southwestern border into the United States but getting
detained—or lost in the desert along the way. Told from multiple points
of view and blending texts, sounds, and images, Lost Children Archive is an astonishing feat of literary
of Aleppo by Christy Lefteri, Ballantine. This unforgettable novel puts human
faces on the Syrian war with the immigrant story of a beekeeper and his wife.
When war destroys their home and kills their son, the pair set out on an epic
journey to Britain, encountering chaotically crowded refugee camps,
life-threatening sea crossings, and smugglers eager to exploit them. Ringing
with authenticity, this beautifully crafted novel reveals the triumph of spirit
when the world becomes unrecognizable.
Boys by Colson Whitehead,
Doubleday. In this bravura follow-up to the Pulitzer Prize and National Book
York Times bestseller The Underground Railroad,
Colson Whitehead brilliantly dramatizes another strand of American history
through the story of two boys sentenced to a hellish reform school in Jim
The World That
We Knew by Alice Hoffman,
Simon & Schuster. Set in Berlin in 1941, this sweeping novel follows three
unforgettable young women -- one of them a golem sworn to protect the youngest.
In a world where evil and death lurk at every turn, we meet remarkable
characters who take us on a stunning journey of loss
and resistance, relying on their own courage and love to survive.
We Cast a
Shadow by Maurice Carlos Ruffin, One
World/Random House. In a near-future Southern city plagued by fenced-in ghettos
and police violence, a father considers taking his biracial son to a clinic
where he can get his lips thinned, his skin bleached, and his nose narrowed.
Evoking Ralph Ellison, Franz Kafka, and Vladimir Nabokov, this electrifying,
hallucinatory novel is at once a keen satire of surviving racism in America and
a profoundly moving story of a father who just wants his son to thrive in a
Dayton Literary Peace Prize nonfiction finalists are
Biased: Uncovering the Hidden Prejudice That Shapes What We
See, Think, and Do
by Jennifer Eberhardt, Penguin. In her first book, social psychologist and
MacArthur ŅGeniusÓ award recipient Dr. Jennifer Eberhardt presents her
groundbreaking and often shocking research and data demonstrating how our
unconscious biases powerfully shape our behavior, leading to racial disparities
from the classroom to the courtroom to the boardroom. Showing that all people
are vulnerable to racial bias, even if they are not racist, Eberhardt reminds us that racial bias is a human
problem--one that all people can play a role in solving.
Grace Will Lead Us Home: The
Charleston Church Massacre and the Hard, Inspiring Journey to Forgiveness by Jennifer Berry Hawes, St. MartinÕs Press. Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Jennifer Berry
Hawes provides a definitive account of the tragic 2015 massacre at the Mother
Emanuel AME church in Charleston, South Carolina and its aftermath. With
unprecedented access to the grieving families and other key figures, Hawes
offers a nuanced and moving portrait of the events and emotions that emerged in
the wake of the shootings, creating a unforgettable
and deeply human portrait of grief, faith, and forgiveness.
Know My Name: A Memoir by Chanel Miller, Viking. In the wake of her sexual assault behind a Stanford dumpster in 2015,
Chanel Miller was known only a victim. Here she shares the full story of her
trauma and recovery, turning the focus from the perpetrator, where such stories
are often centered, to the critical but much less common work of revealing the
truth of survivors, whose suffering is so often silenced and unseen. MillerÕs
unflinching, emotionally honest memoir is a testament to the power of words to
heal and effect change.
Richard Holbrooke and the End of the American Century by George Packer, Knopf. Bestselling
author George Packer, who knew Holbrooke personally, vividly relates the saga
of one of the most legendary and complicated figures in recent American
history, set amid the rise and fall of U.S. power from Vietnam to Afghanistan.
Drawing from diaries and papers, Packer paints a portrait of personal ambition,
idealism, and hubris that parallels the postwar United States.
Say Nothing: A True Story of Murder
and Memory in Northern Ireland
by Patrick Radden Keefe, Anchor. From award-winning New
Yorker staff writer Patrick Radden
Keefe comes a stunning, intricate narrative about a notorious killing in
Northern Ireland and its devastating repercussions. Tinged with immense
sadness, the book never loses sight of the humanity of even those who committed
horrible acts in support of what they believed in.
● What You Have
Heard is True: A Memoir of Witness and Resistance by Carolyn Forchˇ, Penguin Random
House. Forchˇ, one
of the most gifted poets of her generation, was 27 when she was invited by a
mysterious stranger to travel with him to El Salvador in the late 1970s,
when the country was on the brink of war. Forty years later she recounts the
experience in a devastating,
lyrical, and visionary memoir of a being pursued by death squads, sheltering in
safe houses, and engaging with horror in order to help others. This is the powerful story of a womanÕs
radical act of empathy and a poet's journey toward social consciousness.
A winner and
runner-up in fiction and nonfiction will be announced on October 28, 2020. Winners receive a $10,000
honorarium and runners-up receive $5,000. Finalists will be reviewed by a judging panel of prominent
writers including Anne Fadiman (The
Spirit Catches You and You Fall Down), Hua Hsu (A Floating Chinaman: Fantasy and Failure Across the Pacific),
Diane Roberts (Tribal: College Football
and the Secret Heart of America), and Brando Skyhorse (The Madonnas of Echo Park).This year's winners will be announced on October 28, 2020.
A ceremony honoring the winners will be scheduled for spring 2021 due to the
To be eligible for the 2020 awards, English-language
books had to be published or translated into English in 2019 and address the
theme of peace on a variety of levels, such as between individuals, among
families and communities, or between nations, religions, or ethnic groups.
Dayton Literary Peace Prize
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 is recognized as one of the worldÕs 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. Additionally, the Ambassador Richard C. Holbrooke Distinguished
Achievement Award is bestowed upon a writer whose body of work reflects the Prize's
mission; previous honorees include Wendell Berry, Taylor Branch, Geraldine
Brooks, Louise Erdrich, John Irving, Barbara Kingsolver, Nicholas Kristof and
Sheryl WuDunn, N. Scott Momaday, Tim O'Brien, Marilynne Robinson, Gloria Steinem, Studs Terkel, Colm T—ib’n,
and Elie Wiesel. For more information visit the Dayton Literary Peace
Prize media center at https://www.daytonliterarypeaceprize.org/press-room/.
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