Dayton Literary Peace Prize authors send Dayton message of love

Authors from around the world, alumni of the Dayton Literary Peace Prize, have sent an outpouring of comforting messages since the Oregon District shooting to Sharon Rab, the founder and co-chair of the annual literary event.

“Below, I share with you some of the heartfelt messages received,” Rab wrote. “As Andrew Krivak remarks below, ‘Words can bring peace and shape peace, reminding us that it's possible, reminding us that we've seen and heard and lived by examples of it often in our lives.’ The authors' words helped me; I hope they help you.”

📝Just a note to let you know John Henry and I are thinking of you and sending our prayers and hope for healing for the people of Dayton in the days ahead. I hope your dear ones are safe and that we may look forward to living in safer and more peaceful times soon. 

Warmest wishes, 

Patricia Engel, 2017 Fiction Winner, “The Veins of the Ocean” 

📝I’m so sorry for what has happened in your and our City of Peace. All love to you today and always. 

Dona McAdams, Brad Kessler’s (2007 Fiction Winner, “Birds in Fall”) wife, New Hampshire 

📝I just wanted to write you and tell you how I am thinking of you, and of precious Dayton amidst the terrible news of the shooting. I hope you are doing okay and that the city will recover. Sending you prayers and wishes. 

With much love, 

Michelle Kuo, Paris, 2018 Nonfiction Runner-up, “Reading with Patrick” 

📝Such sad news this morning coming from Dayton, especially knowing what peace means to you and every Daytonian who calls the city home. 

I just don't know what to do or say, and yet wanted to write to send my love and prayers, knowing too how in this climate those words can sound more and more hollow each day. But words can bring peace and shape peace, reminding us that it's possible, reminding us that we've seen and heard and lived by examples of it often in our lives. That's what you all reminded me of in Dayton seven years ago, and every time I've been back since. 

So, a gentle reminder from me now, while I'm sitting quietly with my grief and hope for a place and people I have come to love, because you all welcomed me and my words and said, "Be at home here." If we keep working, writing, loving, and hoping, there will be peace. There will be. It's the promise I first heard spoken out loud in Dayton. 

With my deepest sympathies, 


Andrew Krivak, 2012 Fiction Winner, “The Sojourn” 

📝So much madness, but it made me think of you and Dayton. I hope everyone you know is okay. 

The photo is incredible, so proud of your city. 

Much love, 

Gilbert King, 2013 Nonfiction Runner-up, “Devil in the Grove” 

📝I hope all of my Dayton friends are alive. 

Marlon James, 2010 Fiction Winner, “The Book of Night Women” 

📝I wanted to write and let you know that the people of Dayton are on our minds and in our hearts. What a senseless tragedy. Claire and I send our love to you and to everyone connected with the DLPP. 

In peace, 

Jo Roberts, Canada, 2014 Nonfiction Runner-up, “Contested Lands, Contested Memory” 

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📝I was processing yesterday's massacre in El Paso when I learned about the horrific catastrophe in Dayton last night. I know Dayton, like Bloomington, is in many ways a small community where everyone knows each other. I don't have anything to offer other than hope. Hope that you and your loved ones are safe, cared for, and appreciated. 

Please accept my deepest condolences and sympathies. 

That's an incredible picture. It's so important to remember that in the wake of a monstrous act, a great community like yours can come together. 

Brando Skyhorse, Nonfiction Judge 2019 

>>Prayer vigil held downtown in wake of Oregon District mass shooting

📝I just turned on my computer and heard about the shooting last night in Dayton. I am so very sorry. 

This should not be happening anywhere — not in Dayton, not in Baghdad, not in Beirut, not in El Paso or Parkland or Nairobi or New Zealand or, or, or. But this one seems especially heartbreaking, I guess because thanks to you all at DLPP, I think of Dayton as a place where people gather to celebrate and honor peace. 

I hope you're both, okay, or as okay as you can be under the circumstances. In Beirut and Baghdad, people always reach out after bombings and shootings and other "events." It's one of the small, good things we can learn from war zones. Don't feel like you have to answer. I just wanted to let you know that I'm thinking of you all and hoping for peace. 

Beautiful and powerful! Thank you for sending this. 


Annia Ciezadlo, 2012 Nonfiction Runner-up, “Day of Honey”

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