Dayton Literary Peace Prize announces 2023 finalists

Credit: AP

Credit: AP

The Dayton Literary Peace Prize Foundation has announced its 2023 fiction and nonfiction finalists in addition to naming Sandra Cisneros as recipient of the Ambassador Richard C. Holbrooke Distinguished Achievement Award.

The Dayton Literary Peace Prize Foundation honors writers whose work “uses the power of literature to foster peace, social justice and global understanding.” Every year, the Dayton Literary Peace Prize honors one fiction and one nonfiction author whose work advances peace with a $10,000 cash prize.

The 2023 fiction finalists are:

“Anthem” by Noah Hawley

“The Immortal King Rao” by Vauhini Vara

“Didn’t Nobody Give a S--- What Happened to Carlotta” by James Hannaham

“The Light Pirate” by Lily Brooks-Dalton

“Horse” by Geraldine Brooks

“Mecca” by Susan Straight

The 2023 nonfiction finalists are:

“American Midnight” by Adam Hochschild

“Asian American Histories of the United States” by Catherine Ceniza Choy

“His Name is George Floyd” by Robert Samuels and Toluse Olorunnipa

“Ma and Me” by Putsata Reang

“The Treeline” by Ben Rawlence

“Zarifa” by Zarifa Ghafari with Hannah Lucinda Smith

Cisneros, a celebrated poet, essayist, short story writer and author of the classic coming-of-age novel “The House on Mango Street,” was born in Chicago in 1954. Her work explores Latinx identity, female sexuality and artistry, and the life of the working class. Her awards and recognitions include NEA fellowships in poetry and fiction, a MacArthur Fellowship, the Fuller Award for Lifetime Achievement in Literature, and the National Medal of Arts.

“Sandra Cisneros is the embodiment of the Dayton Literary Peace Prize Foundation’s values of peace and understanding, and her empathetic, perceptive voice is needed now more than ever,” said Nicholas A. Raines, executive director of the Dayton Literary Peace Prize Foundation, in a news release.

Credit: AP

Credit: AP

Cisneros joins an esteemed list of distinguished honorees, including Tim O’Brien (2012), Gloria Steinem (2015), Margaret Atwood (2020/2021) and Wil Haygood (2022) among others. She will be interviewed by Carla Hayden, the 14th Librarian of Congress, on the Schuster Center stage at the awards gala to be held Sunday, Nov. 12.

“The repercussions of the Bosnian War have shaped me as both a writer and a human being,” Cisneros noted. “I have aspired in my life to strive for unity. I’m enormously gratified to be honored with a prize focusing on peace. The Dayton Literary Peace Prize is a benediction and a confirmation of my lifework. My most humble thanks.”

Winners will be announced Tuesday, Oct. 10. To purchase tickets for the awards gala, email or visit online at

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