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May 27, 2020

Dear Readers,

This is the eighth installment of “Expand Your Horizons While Sheltering at Home” from the Dayton Literary Peace Prize. As I looked back over the finalists of 2012, I was struck by the interwoven themes of the year. It was another year of unexpected synchronicity as all five winning books showed the reader why we must work for peace: the consequences of war being unimaginable to those of us who have been spared the experience. These writers become our extension into war, forcing us to confront the human cost, but also showing us the human connections that can bring us to peace. We see the men who fought the wars and the women who fought against the savagery that was tearing their worlds apart.

The 2012 winning books both focused on World War I, Andrew Krivak’s The Sojourn allows us to see the war through the eyes of a young sharpshooter in the Kaiser’s army; Adam Hochschild’s To End All Wars brings us into the inner circles of the decision makers who stumbled into the brutality of trenches. Shards takes us to the siege of Sarajevo from a young man’s perspective; in What It’s Like to Go to War, we read the nonfiction version of the Vietnam War that Tim O’Brien describes so vividly in fiction.

We see women entrenched in the struggle to bring peace in their families, their communities, and their countries. A Nobel Peace Prize winner tells the story of women bringing peace to Liberia; a train takes a group of female French resistance fighters to Auschwitz; a new bride from America shows the daily life of Middle Eastern families through the rituals of food in besieged Baghdad and Beirut; the head of a woman’s school in China during the Rape of Nanjing tries to save the refugees she now protects. Even in peace time we see young men and women come of age in times of crisis: when a young woman held her family together as Katrina wreaked havoc on the already destitute in the south, when young men learned life’s lessons at the ship’s lowest table of “insignificant adults,” while a family came of age dealing with the death of an infant. Through them, we come of age again, too.

2012 was a year of cause and effect; the writers giving us lessons in war and peace—reminding us that books about war are, in fact, books about peace.

Stay safe. Be well. Read.

Sharon-sig founder- -bot-president2 530x38

This list includes the winners and runners-up for 2012 and we have rich background information on each one on our website.

▪ Under Past Winners. scroll down to the year and click on it.
▪ If you click on the winners and runners-up, you will find the author’s photo and bio, a selection from the book, the judges’ citation, the writer’s reflection on literature and peace, and the option of watching the introduction and acceptance speech. If you click on the finalists, you will find a short description of each book.
Under Past Winners. scroll down to the year and click on it.
If you click on the winners and runners-up, you will find the author’s photo and bio, a selection from the book, the judges’ citation, the writer’s reflection on literature and peace, and the option of watching the introduction and acceptance speech. If you click on the finalists, you will find a short description of each book.

On the bottom right of the home page, you can click on COREScholar, which is built by the Chair of our Curriculum Committee Carol Loranger, Associate Dean of the College of Liberal Arts at Wright State, and maintained for us by Wright State University. There you can find interviews, TED Talks, articles, other books, films, etc. by and about each of our winning and runner-up authors. It is a great resource for students, book clubs, and readers who would like to explore an author in depth.


Read global; buy local.” — Marlon James, DLPP 2009 Fiction Winner for The Book of Night Women


2012 Finalists - Fiction

2012 finalists jin f

Nanjing Requiem by Ha Jin
(Pantheon Books): The award-winning
author of Waiting and War Trash returns to his homeland in a searing new novel that unfurls during one of the darkest moments of the Twentieth Century: the Rape of

2012 finalists ward f

Salvage the Bones by Jesmyn Ward
(Bloomsbury): A big-hearted novel about familial love and community against all odds and a wrenching look at the lonesome, brutal, and restrictive realities of rural poverty.

2012 finalists prcic f

Shards by Ismet Prcic (Grove Atlantic): A harrowing war story, a stunningly original coming-of-age novel, and a heartbreaking saga of a splintered family.

2012 finalists ondaatje f

The Cat’s Table by Michael Ondaatje (Knopf): The Cat’s Table is a spellbinding story about the magical, often forbidden, discoveries of childhood and a lifelong journey that begins unexpectedly with a spectacular sea voyage.

2012 finalists hager cohen f

The Grief of Others by Leah Hager Cohen (Riverhead): The Grief of Others is a beautifully moving family drama about love, loss, and healing.

2012 finalists krivak f

The Sojourn by Andrew Krivak (Bellevue Literary Press): A stirring novel of brotherhood, survival, and coming-of-age during World War One.


2012 Finalists - Nonfiction

2012 finalists moorehead nf

A Train in Winter by Caroline Moorehead (HarperCollins): A Train in Winter offers a fascinating glimpse of a little-known chapter in the history of World War II and a human story of surviving the unsurvivable.

2012 finalists ciezadlo nf

Day of Honey by Annia Ciezadlo (Free Press): Day of Honey is a beautifully written, fiercely intelligent memoir exploring the heightened meaning of cooking during wartime.

2012 finalists gbowee nf

Mighty Be Our Powers by Leymah Gbowee (The Perseus Books Group): In a time of death and terror, Leymah Gbowee brought Liberia’s women together—and together they led a nation to peace.

2012 finalists hochschild nf

To End All Wars by Adam Hochschild (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt): Hochschild brings World War I to life as never before by focusing on the long-ignored moral drama of the war’s critics, alongside its generals and heroes.

2012 finalists marlantes nf

What Is It Like to Go to War by Karl Marlantes (Grove/Atlantic): Marlantes takes a deeply personal and candid look at the experience and ordeal of combat, critically examining how we might better prepare our young soldiers for war.


2012 Ambassador Richard C. Holbrooke Distinguished Achievement Award Winner

2012 finalists o brien hw

Tim O’Brien moved us with his novels about the war in Vietnam, especially the dramatic series of vignettes in The Things They Carried; he won the hearts of the Dayton Literary Peace Prize audience when he emotionally explained that his tears came because, “people have always called me a war writer; they have never understood I’ve always been a writer for peace.” He has returned to Dayton several times to celebrate with us, and The Things They Carried, which has joined the canon for both high school and college students, is part of the official DLPP curriculum guide. For those of you who have not had the opportunity to read his powerful books on Vietnam and its aftermath, please take this opportunity to see why he was chosen by Ken Burns to be a spokesman in his documentary, The Vietnam War.

For further encouragement, tune in to this NPR Talk of the Nation episode, 'The Things They Carried,' 20 Years On


Join our virtual book club!

2014 finalists erdrich hw

New York Times Bestseller

Based on the extraordinary life of National Book Award-winning author Louise Erdrich’s grandfather who worked as a night watchman and carried the fight against Native dispossession from rural North Dakota all the way to Washington, D.C., this powerful novel explores themes of love and death with lightness and gravity and unfolds with the elegant prose, sly humor, and depth of feeling of a master craftsman.

Ron Rollins, Dayton Daily News Ideas and Voices Editor, will moderate the discussion of The Round House.

Our next book club will take place via Zoom on Wednesday, June 17 at 7:00 p.m. Email Emily Kretzer to be added to the list.


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