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MFA Alumnus Awarded Dayton Literary Peace Prize

Author Susan SouthardSusan Southard was awarded the Dayton Literary Peace Prize for her book Nagasaki: Life After Nuclear War. The Dayton Literary Peace Prize is a U.S. literary award recognizing the power of the written word to promote peace. Susan is an alumnus of the MFA in Creative Writing Program.

“Her writing is deeply ethical, ever mindful of context, allowing the voice of the “other” to speak directly to us often in dialogue that includes phrases of transliterated Japanese,” said Rubén Martínez, 2016 finalist judge.

“I accept this beautiful award in memory of the hundreds of thousands who died 71 years ago and in the years that followed, and the countless more who faced the acute and long-term terrors of post-nuclear survival,” said Susan. “Their day-to-day suffering is still obscured by iconic images of atomic clouds rising over Nagasaki and Hiroshima, or diminished by passionate justifications for using the bombs. Peace is an arduous endeavor and impossible to achieve without a commitment to understanding the grievous harm our actions inflict on others. My deepest gratitude to the Dayton Literary Peace Prize, to the survivors who trusted me with their stories, and to all Nagasaki hibakusha, past and present, who have fervently fought to ensure that Nagasaki remains the last nuclear-bombed city in history.”

NagasakiSusan was a nonfiction fellow at the Norman Mailer Center in Provincetown, Massachusetts. Nagasaki: Life After Nuclear War won the J. Anthony Lukas Book Prize, sponsored by the Neiman Foundation at Harvard University and the Columbia School of Journalism.

Inspired by the 1995 Dayton Peace Accords that ended the war in Bosnia, The Dayton Literary Peace Prize is the only international literary peace prize awarded in the United States. The Prize celebrates the power of literature to promote peace, social justice, and global understanding. This year’s winners will be honored at a gala ceremony hosted by award-winning journalist Nick Clooney in Dayton on November 20th.

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