Wendell Berry Named 41st Jefferson Lecturer in the Humanities

by Erica Peterson on February 7, 2012

A Kentucky author, farmer and environmental activist has been recognized by the federal government for his achievements in the humanities. Wendell Berry was named the 41st Jefferson Lecturer in the Humanities by the National Endowment for the Humanities.

As part of the award, Berry will deliver a lecture on April 23 in Washington, DC. The speech’s title is “It All Turns on Affection,” and in it Berry will discuss human beings’ interaction with nature.

In a press release, National Endowment for the Humanities chairman Jim Leach described Berry as a “21st century Henry David Thoreau.” Berry is known for his fiction and poetry, as well as for his writings and activism opposing mountaintop removal coal mining.

The Jefferson Lecture was established in 1972. Past winners have included poet Gwendolyn Brooks, playwright Arthur Miller, novelists Toni Morrison and John Updike and civil war historian Drew Gilpin Faust. The lecturer receives an honorarium of $10,000.

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