The Dayton Literary Peace Prize, inspired by the 1995 Dayton Peace Accords that ended the war in Bosnia, celebrates “the power of literature to promote peace, social justice and global understanding,” according to the organization. The prize is also the only international literary peace prize award in the United States.
You can learn more about the finalists and winners, as well as the history of the prize itself, on www.daytonliterarypeaceprize.org.
But in the meantime, mark your calendar for a new Dayton Literary Peace Prize event, “An Evening for Justice & Peace.” This new event will be on Friday, Nov. 18, at 7 p.m., at The Victoria Theatre, 138 North Main St., Dayton. Tickets are available at ticketcenterstage.com or by calling 937-228-3630.
“I’ve always thought of the Dayton Literary Peace Prize as a beginning for our authors and for the central theme of their work,” explains Sharon Rab, founder and co-chair of the Dayton Literary Peace Prize Foundation. “The prize is the time when we say to our finalist and winning authors, ‘We love your book. It has a purpose.’ We say to the publishers, ‘thank you for publishing such a book.’ But then we have a responsibility to get those books into as many hands as possible. Last year, Wright State University had a three-day conference around the theme of peace in conjunction with the prize. This year, we’re excited to present ‘An Evening for Justice & Peace,’ featuring some of our authors in an important discussion about these themes.”
The idea of an evening of presentation and discussion of Peace Prize authors on the theme of justice came up last year, Sharon says, when her friend Judge Steve Dankof approached her at the 2015 Peace Prize event and suggested it to her.
Steve is a Montgomery County Common Pleas Court Judge on the General Division.
“Some time ago, I came to the readily apparent conclusion that Dayton was but one ill-chance encounter away from joining the ranks of Baton Rouge, Charlotte, Dallas and Ferguson, and I determined to try and do something about that,” Steven explains. “We came up with this event, in the hope of bringing together, even if just for one night at the outset, segments of our community that often simply do not speak to one another. And hence ‘An Evening…’ was born.”
The evening will offer stories told by Dayton Literary Peace Prize authors around the life of Thurgood Marshall and the significance of his work. Judge Marshall (1908-1993), is perhaps best known for his work as an NAACP lawyer who successfully argued for the plaintiffs before the U.S. Supreme Court in Brown v. Board of Education, a decision that desegregated public schools. He was eventually appointed to the U.S. Supreme Court in 1967, its first black justice.
“An Evening for Justice and Peace” will include:
- Keynote by Gilbert King, Dayton Literary Peace Prize recipient and Pulitzer Prize-winning author of “Devil In The Grove: Thurgood Marshall, the Groveland Boys, and the Dawn of a New America.”
- Keynote by Wil Haygood, Dayton Literary Peace Prize Finalist and author of “Showdown: Thurgood Marshall and the Supreme Court Nomination That Changed America.”
- Panel discussion by both King and Haygood as well as Professor Mark Godsey of the Ohio Innocence Project; Ricky Jackson, exonerated from Ohio’s Death Row by the Ohio Innocence Project; Jeff Hobbs, author of “The Short and Tragic Life of Robert Peace” (a 2015 Dayton Literary Peace Prize Nonfiction finalist); and Christopher R. Riano, lecturer in Constitutional Law and Government at Columbia University.
Additionally, during the day of Nov. 18, from 9 a.m.-3:15, University of Dayton School of Law and the Dayton Literary Peace Prize Foundation will present the 2016 Honorable James J. Gilvary Symposium on Law, Religion & Social Justice. The symposium, “Justice on Trial: Stories of Race & Law,” will be held on in the School of Law’s Mathias H. Heck Courtroom in Joseph E. Keller Hall.
Featured speakers for this daytime event are Gilbert King, Wil Haygood, Mark Godsey and Ricky Jackson, including a panel discussion with Chris Riano, Hon. Walter H. Rice and Sheriff Phil Plummer. More information for this event may be found at go.udayton.edu/gilvary
Upcoming Literary Events:
• Wednesday, Nov. 9, 7 p.m., Boonshoft Center for Jewish Culture and Education (525 Versailles Drive, Centerville) — As part of the Jewish Community Center of Greater Dayton’s Cultural Arts & Bookfest, Oct.27-Dec. 8, author Uri Bar-Joseph will discuss her book, “The Angel: The Egyptian Spy Who Saved Israel,” about Ashraf Marwan, an Egyptian senior official who spied for Israel. Learn more and register in advance at www.jewishdayton.org or at the door on the evening of the event.
• Thursday, Nov. 10, 7 p.m., Books & Co. at The Greene — Tiffany McDaniel will debut her first novel, “The Summer That Melted Everything,” set in 1984 Ohio, and reviewed by “Booklist” as “an ambitious novel that will invite thought and surely spark discussion.”
• Saturday, Nov. 12, 7 p.m., Books & Co. at The Greene — Comedian Joel McHale will introduce his memoir/self-help-guide, “Thanks for the Money: How to Use My Life Story to Become the Best Joel McHale You Can Be.”