Author Geraldine Brooks Receives U.S. Literary Peace Prize

Celebrated chronicler of human conflict to be honored for exposing horrors of war in bestselling novels; Fiction and Nonfiction finalists to be announced in September

Brooks spent many years covering crises in the Middle East, Africa, and the Balkans for the Wall Street Journal before going on to write powerful historical novels, including the 2006 Pulitzer Prize-winning novel March. She will accept the award at a ceremony in Dayton, Ohio on November 7th, joining the ranks of past Lifetime Achievement honorees Studs Terkel, Elie Wiesel, Taylor Branch, Nicholas Kristof, and Sheryl WuDunn.

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.
As part of the award, Brooks will receive a $10,000 honorarium. The ceremony will also honor recipients of the 2010 Dayton Literary Peace Prize for Fiction and Nonfiction, which will be announced in September.

A native of Australia, Brooks has won worldwide acclaim for her ability to weave unwaveringly candid depictions of human conflict into stories of vivid characters caught in the throes of human events. Set in Sarajevo, her most recent work, People of the Book, is based on the true story of the Sarajevo Haggadah, a Jewish prayer book safeguarded by Muslims and Christians during five centuries of European conflict. Year of Wonders (2001) follows a seventeenth-century village torn apart by the plague, while March (2006) tells the story of a Civil War-era idealist whose beliefs are challenged by what he witnesses on the frontlines. Brooks is also the author of two nonfiction books, Nine Parts of Desire and Foreign Correspondence.

“Most people are sheltered from the horrors of war, but Brooks reveals to her readers what their political leaders try to hide — the ugly realities of conflict and its destructive effects even on those far from the frontlines,” said Sharon Rab, founder and co-chair of the Dayton Literary Peace Prize Foundation. “We are delighted to be honoring a writer whose skill, imagination, and unique background allow her to create vivid characters whose stories help people understand the vital importance of fostering peace throughout the world.”

“It’s always a thrill to have one’s work recognized, but this prize holds particular meaning to me because I covered the fighting in the Balkans as a journalist and I know what peace can mean to a civilian population that has been besieged and violated by years of war,” said Brooks. “In these times, particularly, it is good to be reminded of what was achieved at Dayton, and that it is at the table, rather than on the battlefield, that wars may be brought to an end.”

Recipients of the 2010 Dayton Literary Peace Prize will be announced in September and honored at a ceremony hosted by award-winning journalist Nick Clooney in Dayton on November 7th.

About the Dayton Literary Peace PrizeThe 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 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.