W.Y. Boyd Literary Award recipient named

Contact: Cheryl Malden

Program Officer

Office of ALA Governance




For Immediate Release

June 30, 2009

CHICAGO - Richard Bausch’s book, “Peace,” published by Knopf, a division of Random House, is the winner of the W.Y. Boyd Literary Award for Excellence in Military Fiction for 2009.

The W.Y. Boyd Literary Novel Award honors the best fiction set in a period when the United States was at war. The $5,000 award and citation, donated by author W. Y. Boyd II, recognizes the service of American veterans and encourages the writing and publishing of outstanding war-related fiction.

“Richard Bausch has written a very compelling piece about the hardship of war in the winter of 1944 in Italy and the moral dilemmas faced in a time of war,” said jury chair Robert Schnare. “It’s an excellent work that chronicles the lives of an Army patrol in Italy during the bleak winter of 1944 and details their adventures and the ‘futility and moral complexity of combat.’Â

This moral crux of the novel is played out in a drenching rain and snow while the men patrol the mountains of Italy seeking German troops.             Â

The patrol has a defining moment when it stops a cart filled with hay and discovers a German officer and his female accomplice. The German officer kills two in the patrol and, in turn, is killed by Corporal Robert Mason, the central character in the book. The woman tries to attack the patrol and is killed by the unit sergeant. Â

The dilemma resulting from this incident goes to the heart of events in war: How does one preserve justice and personal integrity amid war’s insanity? According to a review by Donna Seaman in Booklist, “Bausch’s tale of one act in the immense blood-dark theater of military conflict is razor-sharp, sorrowfully poetic and steeped in the wretched absurdity of war, the dream of peace.”

Members of the 2009 W.Y. Boyd Literary Novel Award jury are: Chair Robert Schnare, Naval War College, Newport, R.I.; Lawrence Clemens, United States Naval Academy, Nimitz Library, Annapolis, Md., James Schenkel, Library of Congress, Washington DC; Nancy Davenport, Washington, D.C.; Maxine Reneker, Monterey, Calif.; and Ronald Steensland, Panama City, Fla.

The W.Y. Boyd Literary Award will be presented on Tuesday, July 14, 2009 during the ALA Annual Conference in Chicago.

The deadline for submissions of applications for the 2010 W. Y. Boyd Literary Award is December, 1, 2009. Guidelines and application forms are available at