Alice Hoffman and Chanel Miller are the winners of this year’s Dayton Literary Peace Prizes.

The authors took home the awards that honor “writers whose work uses the power of literature to foster peace, social justice, and global understanding.”

Hoffman won the fiction prize for her novel The World That We Knew, about a Jewish girl in World War II-era Germany who’s protected by a golem. A reviewer for Kirkus called the book “a spellbinding portrait of what it means to be human in an inhuman world.”

“Literature’s greatest gift is that it allows readers, and writers, to imagine ourselves living other lives, as other souls, in situations that challenge who we are and allow us to think about living a moral life,” Hoffman said in a statement.

Miller was named the nonfiction winner for her memoir, Know My Name, which tells the story of the aftermath of her sexual assault at Stanford University in 2015. Miller’s book won the National Book Critics Circle Award for Autobiography.


Miller responded to her award by saying, “My voice is indestructible. And there is a girl out there, who may be feeling as suffocated or hidden as I once was. Late at night, she’ll take out my book, and we’ll talk about the hardest parts, lay bare our buried feelings, and nobody can touch that space, and that to me is peace.”

The Dayton Literary Peace Prize was established in 2006. Past winners have included Viet Thanh Nguyen for The Sympathizer and Edwidge Danticat for Brother, I’m Dying.

Michael Schaub is a Texas-based journalist and regular contributor to NPR.