Gloria Steinem, a champion of women’s rights since the 1960s, has been named the recipient of the 2015 Richard C. Holbrooke Distinguished Achievement Award. The well-known author and activist will be honored at the 10th annual Dayton Literary Peace Prize Gala on Nov. 1.
Steinem, who helped create New York magazine and spearheaded the launch of Ms. magazine, was a founder of the National Women’s Political Caucus and the recipient of the 2013 Presidential Medal of Freedom. She came to national attention in 1963 when she worked undercover as a Playboy bunny and wrote an expose on New York City’s Playboy Club. A frequent guest over the years on the nationally syndicated Phil Donahue Show which got its start in Dayton, Steinem will be introduced by Donahue at the Literary Peace Prize event.
“Gloria Steinem’s words have changed the world, have opened horizons for not only the feminine half the world’s population but have opened the minds of men to the issues those women have faced from the beginning of time,” said Sharon Rab, founder and co-chair of the Dayton Literary Peace Prize Foundation, when making today’s announcement. “Her work reflects the issues that have been the focus of winning Dayton Literary Peace Prize books over the last decade: issues of race, class, gender, and their connections to violence.”
Steinem’s first collection of articles and essays, “Outrageous Acts and Everyday Rebellions,” has sold nearly half a million copies since its publication in 1983. Her other books include “Marilyn: Norma Jean” (1986), a meditation on the life of Marilyn Monroe; “Revolution from Within: A Book of Self-Esteem” (1992); and the essay collection “Moving Beyond Words: Age, Rage, Sex, Power, Money, Muscles — Breaking the Boundaries of Genders” (1993).
“As a little girl reading about Eleanor Roosevelt in a Toledo neighborhood library — or a grown-up recommending books like Sex and World Peace to all who will listen — I’ve learned that words give us our ideas of what is possible,” said Steinem. “I’m honored to be any part of a recognition that words and ideas must lead the way.”
The prestigious award is named for the U.S. diplomat who played an instrumental role in negotiating the 1995 Dayton Peace Accords that ended the war in Bosnia. It is one of a series of major events in Dayton this November commemorating the 20th anniversary of the historic peace agreement. Past winners include Studs Terkel, Elie Wiesel, Taylor Branch, Nicholas Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn, Geraldine Brooks, Barbara Kingsolver, Tim O’Brien Wendell Berry and Louise Erdrich.
Founded in 2005, The Dayton Literary Peace Prize is the only international literary peace prize awarded in the United States. Finalists for the 2015 Dayton Literary Peace Prize will be announced Sept. 9 and winners announced Sept. 30.
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