Worthington's Tim O'Brien earns prestigious award
DAYTON, Ohio -- Tim O'Brien, a bestselling author who grew up in Worthington, will receive the 2012 Richard C. Holbrooke Distinguished Achievement Award, organizers of the Dayton Literary Peace Prize announced. O'Brien draws on his experiences in...
DAYTON, Ohio -- Tim O'Brien, a bestselling author who grew up in Worthington, will receive the 2012 Richard C. Holbrooke Distinguished Achievement Award, organizers of the Dayton Literary Peace Prize announced. O'Brien draws on his experiences in the Vietnam War to illuminate the devastating and long-term impact of wars on the soldiers who fight them.
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. The Richard C. Holbrooke Distinguished Achievement Award is named in honor of the celebrated U.S. diplomat, who played an instrumental role in negotiating the accords. The award will be presented to O'Brien at a gala ceremony in Dayton on Nov. 11.
O'Brien served as an infantryman with the U.S. Army in Vietnam for one year and subsequently worked as a national affairs reporter for The Washington Post. He first won acclaim in 1973 with the memoir "If I Die in a Combat Zone, Box Me Up and Ship Me Home," about his war experiences. He received the National Book Award in Fiction in 1979 for his novel "Going After Cacciato." His 1990 story collection, "The Things They Carried," whose title story received the National Magazine Award, was named one of the 20 best books of the last quarter century by The New York Times.
Among his other books are "Northern Lights" (1975), "Tomcat in Love" (1998), "July, July" (2002) and "In the Lake of the Woods," which was named the best novel of 1994 by Time magazine. Known for blurring the line between memoir and fiction, O'Brien is the recipient of literary awards from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, the Guggenheim Foundation, and the National Endowment for the Arts. He has been elected to both the Society of American Historians and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. O'Brien's novels have sold more than 3 million copies and have been translated into more than 20 languages.
"Tim O'Brien's virtuosic works, continually described as the defining literature of the Vietnam War, capture the horrors and hallucinations of the twentieth century's most divisive war while carrying a powerful message for peace," said Sharon Rab, founder and co-chairwoman of the Dayton Literary Peace Prize Foundation. "At a time when most Americans are insulated from the impact of our ongoing wars, O'Brien's work helps us understand what it means to send soldiers into combat and reminds us that their war continues long after they return home."
"The Dayton Literary Peace Prize promotes the cause of peace by helping people understand the ugly realities of war on a deep, personal level, which is exactly what I strive to do in my work," said O'Brien. "It is a great, great honor to have been chosen as a recipient of the Richard C. Holbrooke Award. Over what has been a long career, this award means more to me than any other -- by far."
As part of the award, O'Brien will receive a $10,000 honorarium. The ceremony will also honor recipients of the 2012 Dayton Literary Peace Prize for Fiction and Nonfiction. Finalists for the 2012 awards will be announced in late August.
O'Brien will join the ranks of past winners of the award, formerly called the Lifetime Achievement Award, including Studs Terkel (2006), Elie Wiesel (2007), Taylor Branch (2008), Nicholas Kristof and Sheryl WuDun (2009), Geraldine Brooks (2010), and Barbara Kingsolver (2011). Recipients of the 2012 Dayton Literary Peace Prize will be announced in September and honored at a ceremony hosted by award-winning journalist Nick Clooney Nov. 11 in Dayton.