The Dayton Literary Peace Prize, launched in 2006, is widely regarded as one of the most prestigious literary awards globally. It holds the distinction of being the only international literary peace prize presented in the United States.
This esteemed prize recognizes the profound impact of literature in advancing peace, social justice, and global understanding. Each year, a fiction and non-fiction winner are awarded a substantial honorarium of US$10,000, while runners-up receive $5,000 each.
In the latest edition, Alexander Starritt’s novel “We Germans” claimed the top fiction prize. This compelling work takes the form of a letter from a German soldier to his grandson. The runner-up in the fiction category was “The Mountains Sing” by Nguyen Phan Que Mai, an epic tale of a Vietnamese family’s experiences during the war in Vietnam.
Among the notable contenders that Starritt and Mai triumphed over were Louise Erdrich’s “Night Watchman,” the winner of the 2021 Pulitzer Prize for fiction, and Douglas Stuart’s “Shuggie Bain,” the fiction category winner at the 2021 Booker Prize.
Set against the backdrop of the war in Vietnam, “The Mountains Sing” weaves a captivating narrative of the Tran family matriarch, Dieu Lan, and her granddaughter, Huong, as they navigate the challenges of survival and compassionate living. Mai, the author, describes her novel as a plea for peace, human compassion, forgiveness, hope, and increased empathy among humans.
The gala weekend in Dayton, Ohio, on November 13-14, will honor Mai’s exceptional work, as well as the winners from both this year and the previous year.
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