Wendell Berry to Receive 2016 Voice of the Heartland Award

The Boards of Directors of the Great Lakes Independent Booksellers Association and the Midwest Independent Booksellers Association take great pleasure in announcing that the Wendell Berry is the recipient of the 2016 Voice of the Heartland Award.

This award is given in recognition of a life of dedication and service to independent bookselling, and there are few writers in our region who fully embody this dedication more than Wendell Berry.  His body of work encompasses more than 50 volumes of essays, poems, and fiction, all with an eye to celebrating the local and the Independent--two values that are very dear to the hearts of our members, and central to our mission as independent booksellers.

See more information at Midwest Independent Booksellers Association.

Award Given to Wendell Berry Interview

On November 8, 2014, Regent alumnus Chad Wriglesworth sat down with prolific author Wendell Berry to discuss work, sustainability, and eternity. The conversation, which took place at the South Atlantic Modern Language Association Conference in Atlanta, Georgia, was first published in the Spring 2015 edition of CRUX.

We Are Still Near the Beginning: A Conversation with Wendell Berry has been awarded First Place in the Interview Article category of the Evangelical Press Association's 2016 Higher Goals Awards. Please join us in congratulating Wendell Berry, Chad Wriglesworth, and the editorial staff of CRUX for this significant achievement.

Read more at Regent College.

Wendell Berry to be Honored, April 23

American Novelist Wendell Berry will be awarded the 2016 Sidney Lanier Prize for Southern Literature this month.  The Center for Southern Studies is set to present this prize April 23 in celebration of Berry’s contributions to Southern literature.
A prize presentation will be held April 23 at 1 p.m. in the President’s Dining Room.  There, Berry will present the audience with a reading as well as sign books.

“For several years, students who took Mercer’s First-Year Seminar classes read Mr. Berry’s poem ‘Manifesto: The Mad Farmer Liberation Front.’ In that poem, he exhorts the reader to live freely and love the world. The poem, and Mr. Berry’s life, exemplify many of the ideals that Mercer aspires to uphold, and his prolific career as a writer, poet and activist have thoroughly enriched the tradition of Southern literature,” said David A. Davis, chair of the Lanier Prize Committee and associate professor of English at Mercer.

Se more at Mercer Cluster.

Wendell Berry's Remarks upon Receiving the NBCC Lifetime Achievement Award

From the Periphery to the Center

When I learned that this award for my life’s work as a writer, so far, would require a little more writing, I began of course to worry about what to say. I thought I would [say] that I am grateful, which I certainly am. I thought I would say I am as grateful as I am surprised, which would enlarge and intensify my thanks. I thought I would say that critics, who help us to enjoy books and to converse intelligently about them, are necessary to the life of reading and so to the survival of civilization. And I thought I should acknowledge my assumption that the literary judgment even of book critics can be wrong, and that my lifetime of writing is by no means singularly worthy of recognition. So much, I thought, would fulfill my two grandmothers’ expectations of decent manners, and so would let me off, as they might have said, with a lick and a promise.

And then I remembered a long-ago review of one of my books along with a book by my friend and ally Wes Jackson. The reviewer said that our two books, one by a rural Kentuckian, another by a rural Kansan, represented an effort by the periphery to speak to the center. “The center,” as I understood it, designated the great urban headquarters of national culture, finance, and politics — “the periphery,” then, being the country itself, the farms, forests, and mines, from which the nation lives, but of which the nation is largely ignorant, which it has too often used wastefully and with small thanks to the people who have done the fundamental work. One reason for the periphery to speak to the center is that it is wrong, because impossible, to divide urban and rural problems into two separate categories. Between country and city the economic interdependence is intimate, whether or not this is recognized by economists. Also many city problems have their origin in the country, and vice versa. Those thoughts settled my mind and forced me to abandon my hope to escape this occasion with an easy politeness.

My writing for fifty or sixty years has been given to regret for the manifold abuses of our economic landscapes, and so to advocacy for kindly treatment of all the lives involved in what Aldo Leopold called “the land community.” If this award to my work signifies it has been read and somewhat approved by literate and thoughtful people of the center, that goes palpably to my heart, and adds a substantial gravity to my thanks. Now I must thank you for encouraging me and my allies to hope that what we have known to be a mostly unheeded appeal from the periphery might at last become half of an actual conversation with the center.

From National Book Critics Circle Award.

Nick Offerman Honors Wendell Berry at NBCC Awards

On Thursday, March 17, Wendell Berry was presented with The Ivan Sandrof Lifetime Achievement Award from the National Book Critics Circle. The presentation speech was made by actor and woodworker Nick Offerman, whose remarks included:

Ladies and gentlemen, to my way of thinking, this exceptional lifetime achievement as farmer, poet, husband, citizen, novelist, neighbor, essayist, father, son, grandfather, pacifist, brother, and fisherman, with the disposition of a philosopher king, would not have so occurred had it not been for two imperative life choices. The first and most consequential of these was of course his marriage to his wife Tanya in 1957. I misspoke when I said that he alone had made his bed, because he and Tanya have tucked in the bedclothes together now for nigh on 60 years. They’ve each been responsible for 50 percent of the bed-making and if there has in fact been any deviation from that ratio, well, that’s their business. They’re still together so they clearly must have hit upon an accord of some stripe. However, as Mr. Berry is to be rightly and fulsomely lauded for the achievements he has compiled, I vowed that his marriage must be cited in the same breath, for in many ways marriage and fidelity are the central themes at the root of Mr. Berry’s life’s work. Literal marriage between two people yes, but also our undeniable betrothal to the natural world and our responsibilities to that bed as well. As he tells us in his essay “The Body and the Earth”: “No matter how much one may love the world as a whole, we can live fully in it only by living responsibly in some small part of it. Where we live and who we live there with define the terms of our relationship to the world and to humanity. We thus come again to the paradox that one can become whole only by the responsible acceptance of one’s partiality.”

To read the complete speech, please visit Vulture.com.


Brief Interview with Wendell Berry on NBCC Lifetime Award

Christina Berke: What do you hope this prestigious award will help you do?

Wendell Berry:  My side on the issue of land use has not much standing and receives little notice, although most of the land that’s now in use is seriously and dangerously abused. Any notice or prestige that comes to me, I hope, will increase a little the standing of my side.

CB: In your essay/speech “Local Economies to Save the Land and the People” you outline 12 ways to save the people and the land. Most of these center around community and household action. How can we make these relevant and concrete to our youth, or more particularly, college-age students?

WB: The economy that people actually depend upon for food, clothing, and shelter cannot dependably be invented and imposed by corporations in the best interest of the land and the people. People can defend themselves and their places only by making their household and community economies as diverse, coherent, and self-sufficient as possible. Most colleges are not going to teach this. Most professors don’t know it. Young people will have to learn it from parents or other elders or historical examples, and of course from their own reading, observation, and experience.

Read it all at The New School.

Wendell Berry to receive Sidney Lanier Prize

MACON – Mercer University’s Center for Southern Studies will award the 2016 Sidney Lanier Prize for Southern Literature to Wendell Berry. The prize honors significant career contributions to Southern writing in drama, fiction or poetry. The prize presentation will take place on Saturday, April 23, 1 p.m., in the Presidents Dining Room of the University Center on the Macon campus.

“For several years, students who took Mercer’s First-Year Seminar classes read Mr. Berry’s poem ‘Manifesto: The Mad Farmer Liberation Front.’ In that poem, he exhorts the reader to live freely and love the world. The poem, and Mr. Berry’s life, exemplify many of the ideals that Mercer aspires to uphold, and his prolific career as a writer, poet and activist have thoroughly enriched the tradition of Southern literature,” said Dr. David A. Davis, chair of the Lanier Prize Committee and associate professor of English at Mercer.

Read more at Mercer University

Wendell Berry to receive NBCC lifetime achievement award

The National Book Critics Circle has named Wendell Berry the recipient of its 2016 Ivan Sandrof Lifetime Achievement Award. 

Berry, 81, is an influential essayist, novelist and poet known for his environmental and social activism. The fifth-generation Kentucky native, who has lived on a 125-acre farm near Port Royal, Ky., since 1965, has published more than 40 books, including novels, short stories, poetry and essay collections. 

Berry's work reflects his deep belief that literature should both grow from and respond to place. It also expresses his concerns over such issues as sustainable agriculture, small farms and environmentally damaging coal mining. His writing has influenced opinions on a wide range of subjects, from the Vietnam War to locavore cuisine.

Berry, whose previous honors include the National Humanities Medal and the Dayton Literary Peace Prize Holbrooke Distinguished Achievement Award, will be invited to receive the NBCC's honor at a ceremony in New York City on March 17.

Read more at Tampa Bay Times