Announcing a conference about Wendell Berry

This conference marks the 50th anniversary of one of the more significant events in the life of Wendell Berry’s fictional Port William community: the loss of Andy Catlett’s right hand to a mechanized corn picker. This may seem an odd episode to inspire a conference, but as the autobiographical character in Berry’s fiction, Andy Catlett’s life story and tragic accident offer a way to consider the central drama of Berry’s imaginative work. Unlike Andy, Berry himself has the full use of both his hands, which invites readers to consider why he would narrate Andy’s life history in this way. As Andy reflects in “Dismemberment” on the meaning of this loss, he comes to the conclusion that the machine took his hand “as the price of admission into the rapidly mechanizing world that as a child he had not foreseen and as a man did not like, but which he would have to live in, understanding it and resisting it the best he could, for the rest of his life.”

Think about attending or presenting at the Christian Writer's Conference: "Complicity and Hope in Wendell Berry’s Membership" at Grove City College.