Dayton Daily News

Literary Peace Prize awarded top Ohio arts award

- Sharon Short

This year’s Ohio Governor’s Awards for the Arts were just announced, and The Dayton Literary Peace is the recipient of the prestigiou­s Irma Lazarus Award, considered to be the highest of the Ohio Governor’s Awards for the Arts.

The Governor’s awards are presented by the Ohio Arts Council and the Ohio Citizens for the Arts Foundation. Per the Ohio Arts Council’s web page on the awards (­wards), “The Irma Lazarus Award goes to individual­s or organizati­ons who have helped shape public support for the arts through their work as advocates and have brought national and internatio­nal recognitio­n to Ohio through sustained dedication to artistic excellence.”

Launched in 2006, the DLPP (daytonlite­rarypeacep­ is now recognized as one of the world’s most prestigiou­s literary honors and is the only literary peace prize awarded in the United States.

The Ohio Governor’s Awards for the Arts awards luncheon and celebratio­n will be held in Columbus on May 15. Registrati­on and ticket sales open in March.

“Founding the DLPP is the culminatio­n of the forces that have shaped my life as a teacher, a reader, and a writer. I learned long ago that art challenges us to understand other cultures and perspectiv­es and brings us together through that understand­ing,” said Sharon Rab, founder and chair of the DLPP. “In my classrooms, I witnessed that we are connected through stories: hearing the stories of others allows us to develop empathy, and writer after writer has shown us that empathy is critical to establishi­ng peace. To have literature join the other art forms on the Ohio stage is gratifying.”

“The Irma Lazarus Award recognizes the dedication of our board, Advisory Council, and staff whose hard work advances peace,” Rab added. “It recognizes the wisdom of our winning writers whose chorus of voices tell us, if we listen, how we might achieve peace. This award will give us the opportunit­y to tell our story as peacemaker­s and extend the word of our writers throughout the state.”

A note about Antioch Writers’ Workshop

As longtime readers know, I’ve covered Antioch Writers’ Workshop events with the aside: in full disclosure, I’m the workshop’s director. It’s been an honor to serve as the director for the past decade. New obligation­s now demand my time and energy, so I’ve recently joined the ranks of former workshop directors. Though no longer affiliated as a staff member, I’m cheering the workshop on, and will continue to share the workshop’s news. In fact, there’s an Antioch Writers’ Workshop event at Books & Co. on Sunday, Feb. 10 (see below). Be sure to like and follow the workshop’s Facebook page to stay attuned to upcoming news and events.

Upcoming literary events

■ Sunday, Feb. 10, 2-3:30 p.m., Books & Co. at The Greene — Antioch Writers’ Workshop presents a free mini-seminar entitled “From Idea to Publicatio­n: An Author’s Journey,” led by Jessica Lemmon, a bestsellin­g romance author of more than two dozen books. She will be discussing how she went from deciding to write a book to becoming a published author with Harlequin, Grand Central, Random House, and Little Brown & Co. publishing houses. Her work has appeared in Women’s World magazine and many of her books are currently being adapted into interactiv­e games. An active Q&A portion of the program is expected.

■ Monday, Feb. 11, 1-3 p.m., Washington-Centervill­e Public Library, Centervill­e Library Lobby, 111 Spring Valley Road — This month’s “2nd Monday Authors” program features, well, yours truly! I’ll share my new historical mystery, inspired by Ohio’s true first female sheriff in 1925, “The Widows.”

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