According to the Associated Press (which is given the honor of announcing the award), Ms. Erdrich shared in a statement that she does not consider herself a “peaceful” writer. “I am a troubled one, longing for peace,” she said.
Sharon Rab, founder and co-chairwoman of the Dayton Literary Peace Prize Foundation, states that Erdrich’s writings show the United States shares a history of violence, discrimination and neglect with other countries clashing over culture, religion and ancient territorial claims. “Her work reminds us that we are not observers but participants in the national history of the ownership of land and the taking of territory.”
Ms. Erdrich is a member of the of the Turtle Mountain Band of Chippewa (Anishinaabe) Indians. Most of her work depicts contemporary Native American life and encompasses the complexities of mixed heritages. A representation of other literary awards she has received includes a National Book Critics Circle Award for Fiction (for Love Medicine in 1984), a World Fantasy Award (for The Antelope Wife in 1999) and a National Book Award (for The Round House in 2012). Her 2008 novel, A Plague of Doves, was nominated for a Pulitzer Prize. She currently resides in Minnesota where she owns Birchbark Books, an independent bookstore in Minneapolis that focuses on Native American literature.
According to its website, the Dayton Literary Peace Prize, inaugurated in 2006, is the first and only annual U.S. literary award recognizing the power of the written word to promote peace. The prize seeks out works in adult fiction and nonfiction books that have led readers to a better understanding of other cultures, peoples, religions, and political points of view.