Last night the first-ever Richard C. Holbrooke Distinguished Achievement Award was given to Barbara Kingsolver as part of the Dayton Literary Peace Prize.
The former Lifetime Achievement Award was renamed in honor of the late Richard C. Holbrooke, the United States diplomat who was instrumental in negotiating the 1995 Dayton Peace Accords, which ended the war in Bosnia. Holbrooke passed away in December 2010 while serving as special advisor on Afghanistan and Pakistan under President Obama.
Holbrooke's widow, journalist Kati Marton presented Kingsolver with the award at last night's ceremony.
"Though she and my husband were practitioners in different fields, they are both change agents. Both are humanists. There is nothing about the human experience that did not interest Richard and does not interest Barbara," said Marton at the ceremony.
Barbara Kingsolver is the author of both fictional and non-fiction works that explore issues of social justice and biodiversity including The Poisonwood Bible, The Lacuna and Small Wonder.
"I'm proud of the people living and deceased who have brought us all here together tonight to say out loud that literature could build peace and that it does. Without apology or doubt we're here to acknowledge and celebrate that truth and we're here to applaud it," said Kingsolver during her acceptance speech.