A literary triple threat, Wendell Berry is an accomplished essayist, novelist and poet. His literary work is focused on the defense and praise of nature, family, community, and traditional farming methods.
Born, 5 August 1934, Henry County, Kentucky, where he still lives and farms on 125-acre family farm in Port Royal. His work deals with rural life and serves as an ongoing exploration of man's use of and relationship to the land. "Manifesto: The Mad Farmer Liberation Front" and "Rules for a Local Economy" are poignant examples of his clear view into the heart of the matter.
He does not pander a romantic image of agrarian simplicity, nor does he call us to return to our roots. He advocates moving forward with a common
sense approach to decision-making, explaining how nature and community should weigh heavily in our choices. In Life is a Miracle, he writes, "If we
can't know with final certainty what we are doing, then reason cautions us to be humble and patient, to keep the scale small, to be careful, to go slow."
His work warns of the current course of natural and cultural destruction. Berry is a strong critic of the careless advancement of science as well as the
damaging and largely ignored side-effects of consumer economics. He frequently points to the shortcomings of agribusiness; illustrating how it both erodes the land upon which it operates and the
communities that live on that land. In The Unsettling of America, he warns, "It is more likely that we will have either to live within our limits, within the human definition, or not live at all."
He is a former professor of English at the University of Kentucky and a past fellow of both the Guggenheim Foundation and the Rockefeller Foundation. He has received numerous awards for his work, including an award from the National Institute and Academy of Arts and Letters in 1971, and most recently, the T.S. Eliot Award.