(Colgate University)–Peter Balakian’s The Burning Tigris: The Armenian Genocide and America’s Response has been awarded the 2005 Raphael Lemkin Prize for best scholarly book in the preceding two years on the subject of genocide–mass killings–gross human rights violations–and the prevention of such crimes.
The award is given by the Institute for the Study of Genocide at John Jay College of Criminal Justice/CUNY Graduate Center in New York City. The prize–which comes with a cash award–commemorates Raphael Lemkin–the legal scholar who pioneered the international legal concept of genocide.
Helen Fein–chair of the prize committee–called The Burning Tigris "a book of enduring scholarly value and of important contemporary meaning."
Previous winners include Samantha Power’s A Problem From Hell: America and the Age of Genocide (winner of the Pulitzer Prize)–and Alison Des Forges’s Leave None To Tell The Story: Genocide In Rwanda.
The Burning Tigris was a New York Times bestseller and a Times notable book of 2003. Balakian is the author of seven other books–including Black Dog of Fate–which won the 1998 PEN/Albrand Prize for memoir–and June-tree: New and Selected Poems.
Balakian is the recipient of honors and awards including a Guggenheim fellowship–a National Endowment for the Art–the Anahit Literary Prize–and an Ellis Island Medal of Honor.
He has appeared widely on national television and radio. Translations of his work have been published throughout Europe. He is the Donald M. and Constance H. Rebar Professor of the humanities and professor of English at Colgate–where he was the first director of Colgate’s Center For Ethics and World Societies.