Eleven finalists were announced today for the annual Dayton Literary Peace Prize.

"The Warmth of Other Suns," Isabel Wilkerson's sweeping look at black migration, is a finalist in nonfiction, as is Laura Hillenbrand's "Unbroken." Chang-rae Lee's novel, "The Surrendered," is a finalist in fiction.

Wilkerson's is one of the books that President Obama bought last week to read during his Martha's Vineyard vacation. Wilkerson is a former writer for the New York Times and a Pulitzer winner. She now teaches at Boston University.Hillenbrand, of course, is the author of the beloved "Seabiscuit." "Unbroken" has been a New York Times best-seller.

Chang-rae Lee's novel is about survivors of the Korean War. A Star Tribune reviewer called it a "gorgeously written tragedy," saying, "It has been a long time since a book left me as this one has, stunned and shaken, literally trembling."

Last year's winner in fiction was "The Book of Night Women," by Marlon James, who teaches at Macalester College in St. Paul.

The Dayton Literary Peace Prize was established in 2006 to celebrate the power of literature in promoting peace. The 11 finalists were winnowed from a list of 27 novels and 40 books of nonfiction originally nominated. You can see the full list of nominees here.

And here's the short list. The award will be announced Nov. 13 in Dayton, Ohio.


"The Surrendered," by Chang-rae Lee

"How to Read the Air," by Dinaw Mengestu

"Beneath the Lion's Gaze," by Maaza Mengiste

"The Gendarme" by Mark Mustian

"Kapitoil" by Teddy Wayne


"Crossing Madelbaum Gate," by Kai Bird

"Little Princes," by Conor Grennan

"Unbroken," by Laura Hillenbrand

"For Us Surrender is Out of the Question," by Mac McClelland

"In the Place of Justice: A Story of Punishment and Deliverance," by Wilbert Rideau

"The Warmth of Other Suns," by Isabel Wilkerson.