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July 15, 2020

Dear Readers,

The DLPP continues to hope that you expand your horizons while sheltering in place by exploring peace through our finalists.

The Nonfiction Winner of 2007 Nonviolence: The History of a Dangerous Idea tells twenty-five stories from ancient Hindu times to the present day and asks the question: Could nonviolence have worked against even the most violent regimes? The twenty-five peace makers in the book and its author Mark Kurlansky believe in the power of nonviolence, and the finalists of 2007 emphasize that war is inhumane and that strangers, even strangers loyal to warring factions, can form a community leading to peace. In the year of Elie Wiesel as Lifetime Achievement Winner, Sala’s Gift by the daughter of a Holocaust survivor reminds us that not recognizing the humanity of every member of the international community can lead to unimaginable horror.

Two 2007 novels take us to the bloody racism of apartheid in South Africa: one shows us a daughter’s transformation in the face of truth, the other gives hope for the future through the love between members of a black family and a white one. Another novel uses magical realism to show the emergence of hope in an African nation labeled as free but living under the power of an insane dictator. A Nobel Prize winner from Kenya persists against beatings to create an environmental movement that empowers women. A young diplomat creates community through shared language in the poorest area of war-torn Iraq. The people of Commonwealth, an aptly named U.S. town that self-quarantines against the 1918 flu epidemic, have to come to terms with the truth that no community can be immune to danger. The title of Prisoners is plural even though one of the two characters is a guard and the other the prisoner. The reader understands we are all imprisoned by our biases as an American Jew and a PLO leader find a tenuous friendship in spite of their warring tribes.

Perhaps the clearest example of shared humanity comes from the Fiction Winner, Birds in Fall by Brad Kessler. An international community is formed in Nova Scotia as strangers from throughout the world come together to grieve for their family members who have perished in a plane crash. The reader is reminded that we share grief just as we share love, and the threat and promise of those two emotions should be enough to inspire us all to work for peace.

Stay safe. Be well. Read books.

Sharon-sig founder- -bot-president2 530x38

This list includes the winners and runners-up for 2007 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 bio, the judges’ citation, and the writer’s reflection on literature and peace.
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 bio, the judges’ citation, and the writer’s reflection on literature and peace.

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


2007 Finalists - Fiction

2007 finalists fugard f ru

Skinner’s Drift by Lisa Fugard (Scribner): In this beautiful, brave, and extraordinarily moving first novel, Lisa Fugard paints a haunting portrait of a young woman coming to terms with her family's violent past as her homeland, South Africa, confronts its own bloody history.

2007 finalists gien f

The Syringa Tree by Pamela Gien (Random House): In this heartrending and inspiring novel set against the gorgeous, vast landscape of South Africa under apartheid, award-winning playwright Pamela Gien tells the story of two families–one black, one white–separated by racism, connected by love.

2007 finalists kessler f w

Birds in Fall by Brad Kessler (Scribner): One fall night off the coast of a remote island in Nova Scotia, an airplane plummets to the sea as an innkeeper watches from the shore. Miles away in New York City, ornithologist Ana Gathreaux works in a darkened room, full of sparrows, testing their migratory instincts. Soon, Ana will be bound for Trachis Island, along with other relatives of victims who converge on the site of the tragedy.

2007 finalists mullen f

The Last Town on Earth by Thomas Mullen (Random House): Set against the backdrop of one of the most virulent epidemics that America ever experienced–the 1918 flu epidemic–Thomas Mullen’s powerful, sweeping first novel is a tale of morality in a time of upheaval.

2007 finalists thiong o f

The Wizard of the Crow by Ngugi wa’ Thiong’o (Pantheon): Set in the fictional Free Republic of Aburiria, Wizard of the Crow dramatizes with corrosive humor and keenness of observation a battle for the souls of the Aburirian people, between a megalomaniac dictator and an unemployed young man who embraces the mantle of a magician.


2007 Finalists - Nonfiction

2007 finalists branch nf

At Canaan’s Edge by Taylor Branch (Simon and Schuster): At Canaan’s Edge concludes America in the King Years, a three-volume history that will endure as a masterpiece of storytelling on American race, violence, and democracy. Pulitzer Prize-winner and bestselling author Taylor Branch makes clear in this magisterial account of the civil rights movement that Martin Luther King, Jr., earned a place next to James Madison and Abraham Lincoln in the pantheon of American history.

2007 finalists goldberg nf

Prisoners: A Muslim and a Jew Across the Continental Divide by Jeffrey Goldberg (Knopf): They met in 1990 during the first Palestinian uprising—one was an American Jew who served as a prison guard in the largest prison in Israel, the other, his prisoner, Rafiq, a rising leader in the PLO. Despite their fears and prejudices, they began a dialogue there that grew into a remarkable friendship—and now a remarkable book. It is a book that confronts head-on the issues dividing the Middle East, but one that also shines a ray of hope on that dark, embattled region.

2007 finalists kirschner nf

Sala’s Gift by Ann Kirschner (Free Press): Ann Kirschner allows her mother's poignant story to emerge from these heartbreaking missives, filling in the gaps with a dignified, quietly eloquent connecting narrative…an incredible journey through hell and back.

2007 finalists kurlansky nf w

Nonviolence: Twenty-five Lessons From The History of a Dangerous Idea by Mark Kurlansky (Modern Library): In this timely, highly original, and controversial narrative, author Mark Kurlansky discusses nonviolence as a course of action, rather than a mere state of mind: nonviolence can and should be a technique for overcoming social injustice and ending wars, which is why it is the preferred method of those who speak truth to power.

2007 finalists maathai nf

Unbowed by Wangari Maathi (Anchor): Nobel Prize winner Wangari Maathai recounts her extraordinary journey from her childhood in rural Kenya to the world stage.

2007 finalists stewart nf

Prince of the Marshes by Rory Stewart (Houghton Mifflin Company): In August 2003, at the age of thirty, Rory Stewart took a taxi from Jordan to Baghdad. A Farsi-speaking British diplomat who had recently completed an epic walk from Turkey to Bangladesh, he was soon appointed deputy governor of Amarah and then Nasiriyah, provinces in the remote, impoverished marsh regions of southern Iraq. He spent the next eleven months negotiating hostage releases, holding elections, and splicing together some semblance of an infrastructure for a population of millions teetering on the brink of civil war.


2007 Lifetime Achievement Award Winner

2007 finalists wiesel la

Elie Wiesel’s Night is keystone of the cannon of Holocaust literature read by students throughout the world. In little more than one hundred pages, Wiesel describes his imprisonment with his father in Auschwitz and Buchenwald in 1944-1945. Wiesel was fifteen at the time, which may explain why he spent most of the evening prior to the 2007 DLPP awards ceremony talking with the students DLPP had invited to come to the Schuster Center to hear him speak. He spent far more time with them than we anticipated, quietly and thoughtfully answering their questions, listening to their comments, signing their books, shaking their hands, spending a private moment with each of them. It was a special evening in DLPP history.

Many adults have not had the experience of reading this book, nor the others in his Holocaust trilogy, Dawn and Day. We invite you to read them to see why the students revered their time with this man of peace.

Read The Guardian's review here.


Join our virtual book club - tonight!

Ward 200

Jesmyn Ward, a three-time finalist for the Dayton Literary Peace Prize, won the National Book Award for Sing, Unburied, Sing. Her work can educate us about the racial issues facing America today.

“The heart of Jesmyn Ward’s Sing, Unburied, Sing is story—the yearning for a narrative to help us understand ourselves, the pain of the gaps we’ll never fill, the truths that are failed by words and must be translated through ritual and song...Ward’s writing throbs with life, grief, and love, and this book is the kind that makes you ache to return to it.” —Buzzfeed

Ron Rollins, recently retired Dayton Daily News Ideas and Voices Editor, will moderate the discussion.

Please join us this evening to discuss this important book. Email Emily Kretzer to sign up.


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

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