by Leonard Gill
Just announced: Richard Bausch, holder of the Moss Chair of Excellence in English at the University of Memphis, has won the 2009 Dayton Literary Peace Prize for fiction for his novel Peace (now in paperback, from Vintage). The honorarium: $10,000.
Bausch is winner along with author Benjamin Skinner for A Crime So Monstrous: Face-to-Face with Modern-Day Slavery. (The runners-up for this year's prize: Uwem Akpan's Say You're One of Them, named the next Oprah's Book Club selection, and Thomas Friedman's Hot, Flat, and Crowded: Why We Need a Green Revolution ... and How It Can Renew America.)
The Dayton Literary Peace Prize, launched in 2006, is awarded annually to works of fiction and nonfiction that use "the power of literature to foster peace, social justice, and global understanding." Peace is that: a meditation on the corrosive effects of violence among a group of American soldiers in World War II Italy.
In his statement on Dayton's website, Bausch said, "I am honored to receive the prize — especially when I see the books that were nominated along with mine. It is heartening to be judged worthy of that company, and to be singled out among them is deeply humbling."
Richard Bausch and the other winning authors will be recognized in an awards ceremony in Dayton, Ohio, on November 8th.