Kentucky author Wendell Berry receives inaugural literary award

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FRANKFORT, Ky. (WTVQ)- Kentucky author Wendell Berry has received the inaugural Kentucky Humanities Carl West Literary Award. 

Kentucky Humanities presented the award Thursday at the Paul Sawyier Public Library in Frankfort.

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This new award honors someone who has made a large impact on Kentucky’s literary culture.

It’s named for Bluegrass journalist Carl West. West, an editor of the Frankfort State Journal, started the Kentucky Book Fair.

“The Kentucky Book Fair is among the longest running events of its kind in the country,” said Kentucky Humanities Executive Director Bill Goodman. “Much of the credit for the success of the event belongs to Carl West. He believed such an event was important to Kentucky, and we want to continue to honor the contributions Carl made to Kentucky’s literary heritage.



 “Wendell Berry has made enormous contributions to the Commonwealth’s literary legacy, making him an obvious choice to receive the inaugural Kentucky Humanities Carl West Literary Award,” Goodman continued.

 Berry was born in New Castle in 1934. He is a poet, essayist, novelist, and farmer as well as a University of Kentucky graduate.

He went on to teach there and at Stanford University, Georgetown College, New York University, the University of Cincinnati, and Bucknell University.

He has written more than 40 books.

Berry now lives in Port Royal with his wife, Tanya Amyx Berry. 

Berry thanked the many people who have “belonged to my own lifetime and memory and ongoing education.” 

“I will mention first Elizabeth Maddox Roberts whose novel, The Great Meadow, my mother gave me to read when I was still a boy,” said Berry. “Then I must name the eminent exiles or absentees — Harriette Arnow, Robert Penn Warren, Allen Tate, Caroline Gordon — whom I began to know by their reputation and work and influence in my college years.”

The 38th Kentucky Book Fair will take place Saturday, November 16th at Alltech Arena at the Kentucky Horse Park from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Admission and parking are free.