Journalists Kristof, WuDunn Awarded Dayton Literary Peace Prize For Lifetime Achievement

kristofwudunn.jpgHusband-and-wife reporting and writing team Nicholas Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn will be awarded the 2009 Dayton Literary Peace Prize for Lifetime Achievement at a gala celebrating the awards in September.

Kristof and WuDunn are being honored for their extensive work chronicling human rights in Asia, Africa and the developing world, the Dayton Literary Peace Prize committee said in a statement today. The committee highlighted the couple’s work:

Since becoming the first married couple to win a Pulitzer Prize for their coverage of the Tiananmen Square protests for the New York Times, Kristof and WuDunn have collaborated on such influential, milestone books as “China Wakes: The Struggle for the Soul of a Rising Power” and “Thunder from the East: Portrait of a Rising Asia.” In 2006, Kristof received a second Pulitzer Prize for his New York Times op-ed columns on Darfur. Their latest book, “Half the Sky: Turning Oppression into Opportunity for Women Worldwide,” will be released in September 2009.

The committee also announced the finalists for the 2009 Dayton Literary Peace Prizes in fiction and nonfiction. Winners will receive a $10,000 honorarium, while runners-up get $1,000. Among the finalists are Times columnist Thomas Friedman for his book “Hot, Flat and Crowded.”

A full list of the finalists are after the jump

The 2009 Dayton Literary Peace Prize fiction finalists are:

“Say You’re One of Them” by Uwen Akpan (Little, Brown & Company): A Nigerian-born Jesuit priest, Akpan humanizes the perils of poverty and violence facing children in Africa in this stunning collection of five short stories.

“Peace” by Richard Bausch (Random House): Set among American soldiers in Italy during World War Two, “Peace” is a compelling meditation on the moral dimensions of warfare.

“The Plague of Doves” by Louise Erdrich (Harper Collins): A violent act of racism haunts generations of Native American and white families living in rural North Dakota.

“Beijing Coma” by Ma Jian (Farrar, Straus & Giroux): Emerging from a coma caused by a bullet during the Tiananmen Square protests ten year earlier, a man recounts the horrors of the Mao era and senses the massive changes underway in China.

“Telex from Cuba” by Rachel Kushner (Scribner): The story of American executives and their families driven out of Cuba in 1958, Kushner’s powerful debut novel is a riveting exploration of colonialism, corporate America, and revolution.

“Song Yet Sung” by James McBride (Penguin Group): The haunting story of a runaway slave and a determined slave-catcher in pre-Civil War Maryland, “Song Yet Sung” explores both the moral choices faced by both blacks and whites and the meaning of freedom.

The 2009 nonfiction finalists are:

“Human Smoke: The Beginnings of World War II, the End of Civilization” by Nicholson Baker (Simon & Schuster): In this wide-ranging, fresh perspective on the political and social landscape that gave rise to World War II, Baker makes a clear, compelling case in defense of pacifism.

“Dust from our Eyes: An Unblinkered Look at Africa” by Joan Baxter (Wolsak & Wyn): Baxter draws on more than two decades of living in and reporting from Africa to reveal that there is more to the continent than poverty and suffering, and far more to Western involvement than benevolent charity.

“Hot, Flat and Crowded” by Thomas Friedman (Farrar, Straus &
Giroux): Taking a provocative look at the crises of climate change and rising competition for energy, Friedman proposes a national strategy to make America healthier, richer, and more secure.

“Writing in the Dark” by David Grossman (Farrar, Straus & Giroux): In six essays on politics and culture in Israel, including his speech on the 2006 Lebanon War, which took the life of his son, Grossman addresses the conscience of a country that has lost faith in its leaders and its ideals.

“My Father’s Paradise: A Son’s Search for his Father’s Past” by Ariel Sabar (Algonquin): Traveling with his father to a remote corner of war-torn Iraq in a quest for roots and reconciliation, Sabar shares an intimate story of tolerance and hope in an Iraq very different from the one in the headlines today.

“A Crime So Monstrous: Face to Face with Modern Day Slavery” by Benjamin Skinner (Simon & Schuster): Based on years of reporting in such places as Haiti, Sudan, India, Eastern Europe, The Netherlands, and, even suburban America, Skinner has produced a vivid testament and moving reportage on the horrors of contemporary slavery.

“The Great Experiment” by Strobe Talbott (Simon & Schuster): Combining sweeping history with personal insight, Talbott explores the consolidation of tribes into nations and argues for America’s unique role in modern history as “the master builder” of the international system.

(Photo via Dayton Literary Peace Prize)