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Women comprise four of year's five honorees, including runners-up
Margaret Wrinkle (
Wash) and Jo Roberts (Contested Land) and
Holbrooke Award winner Louise Erdrich

Dayton, OH (September 24, 2014) – Two books exploring the role that religion can play in spurring either endless conflict or potential peace – The Woman Who Lost Her Soul by Bob Shacochis and Your Fatwa Does Not Apply Here by Karima Bennoune – today were named the winners of the 2014 Dayton Literary Peace Prize for fiction and nonfiction, respectively.

A third book exploring similar themes, Contested Land, Contested Memory: Israel’s Jews and Arabs and the Ghosts of Catastrophe by Jo Roberts, was named runner-up for nonfiction, while Wash by first-time novelist Margaret Wrinkle was named the fiction runner-up. For the first time in the history of the Dayton Literary Peace Prize, women comprise four out of the five honorees, including author Louise Erdrich, who will receive the 2014 Richard C. Holbrooke Distinguished Achievement Award.

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. Winners receive a $10,000 honorarium while runners-up receive $1,000. They will be honored at a ceremony hosted by award-winning journalist Nick Clooney on Sunday, November 9th at the Benjamin and Marian Schuster Performing Arts Center in Dayton, Ohio.

In The Woman Who Lost Her Soul (Grove Atlantic), Shacochis sweeps through four countries over a span of fifty years and multiple wars, unraveling tangled knots of romance, espionage, and vengeance while tracing the coming of age of pre-9/11 America. In a magnum opus described by The Los Angeles Review of Books as "what may well be the last Great American Novel," Shacochis creates an intricate portrait of the catastrophic events that have led to an endless cycle of vengeance and war between cultures.

In Your Fatwa Does not Apply Here: Untold Stories from the Fight Against Muslim Fundamentalism (W.W. Norton & Company), Bennoune profiles trailblazers across the Middle East, North Africa, South Asia, and beyond who risked persecution and even death to combat the rising tide of fundamentalism within their own countries. From Karachi to Tunis, Kabul to Tehran, the book shares the inspiring stories of a global community of Muslim writers, artists, doctors, musicians, museum curators, lawyers, activists, and educators whose stories are often lost amid heated coverage of Islamist terror attacks on one side and abuses perpetrated against suspected terrorists on the other.

"In both clear and subtle ways, each of this year’s winners reveal how present struggles – from the war on terror to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict to racial inequality in America – are rooted in tangled histories and past injustices that must be acknowledged and resolved in order to achieve lasting peace," said Sharon Rab, founder and co-chair of the Dayton Literary Peace Prize Foundation.

The 2014 runners-up are:

  • Fiction: Wash by Margaret Wrinkle (Grove Atlantic): Through the character of Wash, a first-generation slave, this haunting first novel explores the often-buried history of slave breeding in the early nineteenth century, offering fresh insights into our continuing racial dilemmas.

  • Nonfiction: Contested Land, Contested Memory: Israel’s Jews and Arabs and the Ghosts of Catastrophe by Jo Roberts (Dundurn Press, Toronto): Drawing on extensive original interview material, Canadian journalist Jo Roberts vividly examines how their tangled histories of suffering inform Jewish and Palestinian-Israeli lives today, and frame the possibilities for peace in Israel.

Organizers previously announced that Louise Erdrich (Love Medicine, The Round House, The Plague of Doves) will be the recipient of the 2014 Richard C. Holbrooke Distinguished Achievement Award, named in honor of the celebrated U.S. diplomat who helped negotiate the Dayton Peace Accords. Hailed for her lyrical prose and rich realism, Erdrich is a brilliant chronicler of contemporary Native-American life, offering deeply honest portraits of complex individuals whose intertwining narratives have invoked comparisons to William Faulkner.

To be eligible for the 2014 awards, English-language books must have been published or translated into English in 2013 and address the theme of peace on a variety of levels, such as between individuals, among families and communities, or among nations, religions, or ethnic groups.

A panel of prominent writers, including Faith Adiele, Michelle Latiolais, Lee Martin, Rubén Martínez, and Maureen McCoy, reviewed the 2014 finalists and selected this year’s winners and runners-up. A full list of the 2014 finalists can be found at:

About the Dayton Literary Peace Prize

Click here to visit our website The 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. Additionally, the 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, Barbara Kingsolver, Nicholas Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn, Tim O'Brien, Studs Terkel, and Elie Wiesel. For more information visit the Dayton Literary Peace Prize media center at

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