Author Sandra Cisneros receives Holbrooke award for work that helps promote peace and understanding


NEW YORK (AP) — Author Sandra Cisneros is this year’s winner of the Ambassador Richard C. Holbrooke Distinguished Achievement Award, honoring writers who help foster “understanding between and among people.”

Cisneros, best known for her million-selling novel “The House on Mango Street,” has often drawn upon her Mexican heritage and her childhood community in her own work and supported other writers through her nonprofits the Macondo Foundation and the Alfredo Cisneros del Moral Foundation.

The Holbrooke award, named for the late U.S. diplomat, is presented by the Ohio-based Dayton Literary Peace Prize Foundation. In 1995, Holbrooke helped broker the Dayton Peace Accords that ended the Bosnian War, a conflict Cisneros has thought of often.

“I witnessed a war’s effects personally with the 40-year friendship of my hermana-amiga (sister-friend) from Sarajevo. And what I learned was this; the casualties of a war are not simply those killed in warfare. Civilians and unborn generations ever after suffer with the shrapnel of that conflict embedded in their psyche like hidden landmines. I just returned from Sarajevo, and I know this is true,” Cisneros said in a statement.

“The repercussions of the Bosnian War have shaped me as both a writer and a human being. I have aspired in my life to strive for unity. I’m enormously gratified to be honored with a prize focusing on peace.”

The Librarian of Congress, Carla Hayden, will interview Cisneros on stage during a Nov. 12 ceremony in Dayton. Previous recipients of the Holbrooke award include Elie Wiesel, Margaret Atwood and Louise Erdrich.

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