Wendell Berry, the Kentucky–based poet, novelist, essayist, farmer, and activist, will receive the 2013 Dayton Literary Peace Prize Richard C. Holbrooke Distinguished Achievement Award.
The award, announced yesterday, was given to Berry “in recognition of a lifetime of letters exploring how humans can live more harmoniously with both the land and each other.” Presented annually to an author for a complete body of work, the award is named in honor of the celebrated U.S. diplomat who played an instrumental role in negotiating the 1995 Dayton Peace Accords on Bosnia. The award will be presented to Berry at a ceremony in Dayton, Ohio, on November 3. Tim O’Brien, who won in 2012, will present the award.
Born in Kentucky in 1934, Berry is a full-time farmer who has written more than fifty works of poetry, fiction, and nonfiction “that explore themes of community, conservation, and the quiet power of living a simple and slower life.” His most recent works include New Collected Poems, the story collection A Place in Time, and the essay collection It All Turns on Affection, all published by Counterpoint Press in 2012. Berry was named the 2012 Jefferson Lecturer and received the National Humanities Medal from President Obama in 2011.
“In a career spanning more than half a century, Wendell Berry has used poetry, fiction, and essays to offer a consistent, timely, and timeless reminder that we must live in harmony with the earth in order to live in harmony with each other,” said Sharon Rab, founder and co-chair of the Dayton Literary Peace Prize Foundation. “His writing has inspired readers to imagine the lives of people and things other than themselves—enemies, neighbors, plants, and animals—in order to advance the survival of humankind and Earth itself.”
“In a time that spends so many words and dollars upon conflict," Berry said, "it is encouraging to be noticed for having said a few words in favor of peace.”