Activist and author Wendell Berry to speak at Yale as a Chubb Fellow

(Photo by Guy Mendes)Poet, novelist, philosopher, environmental activist, cultural critic, and farmer Wendell Berry will present the next Chubb Fellowship Lecture as a guest of Timothy Dwight College and the Yale Sustainable Food Project (YSFP).

Berry will appear for a public conversation at 2:30 p.m. on Saturday, Dec. 7 in the Shubert Theatre, 247 College St. The event is free and open to the public, but tickets are required. Tickets will be available beginning on Tuesday, Nov. 19 from the Shubert Theatre box office.

A pioneering and influential advocate for change, Berry has spent more than 50 years helping to shape the movements for agricultural and ecological sustainability. His poetry and essays flow from the rich agrarian tradition of American writing, and Berry’s relationship to his Kentucky farm has been compared to that of Thoreau’s to the forest — a place that nurtures his thinking about the value of physical labor, self-sufficiency, and communities of people living in harmony with the natural world.

Berry has garnered international honors for his writing, winning the T.S. Eliot Award, the 2000 Poets’ Prize, the Thomas Merton Award, the Aiken Taylor Award for Modern American Poetry, the John Hay Award, the Art of Fact Award for non-fiction, the Cleanth Brooks Medal for Lifetime Achievement, the National Humanities Medal and the Russell Kirk Paideia Prize, among many others. He was inducted into the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 2013.

A prolific author, Berry has generated dozens of novels, short stories, poems, and essays since publishing his first novel, titled “Nathan Coulter,” in 1960. Some of his other well-known works are the “Port William” stories and novels, “The Unsettling of America: Culture and Agriculture,” “A Place on Earth,” “A Continuous Harmony,” “What are People For,” “The Broken Ground: Poems,” “The Art of the Commonplace,” “Life is a Miracle,” and “The Country of Marriage.”

In addition to his public conversation on Saturday, Berry’s Chubb Fellowship visit to Yale will include private events jointly hosted by the YSFP, Yale Divinity School, and Yale School of Forestry & Environmental Studies.

Berry expressed particular interest in learning about the Yale Farm from the students engaged in study there, saying, “It’s good that schools like Yale have a farm, and I’d like to see it and give what encouragement to it I can.” (Note: The Yale Farm, run by the Yale Sustainable Food Project, is celebrating its 10th anniversary in 2013. 

For more information, contact Susan Wigler, associate Chubb Fellow, at susan.wigler@yale.edu.

The Chubb Fellowship was founded with a gift from Yale alumnus Hendon Chubb, and since 1949 has been one of Yale’s most prestigious honors conferred on visiting speakers. The fellowship is administered by the master of Timothy Dwight College, currently Jeffrey Brenzel. The Chubb Fellowship is devoted to encouraging interest in public service. Chubb Fellows spend their time at Yale in close, informal contact with students and make an appearance open to the public. Former Chubb Fellows include Presidents George W. Bush, Ronald Reagan, Jimmy Carter and Harry Truman; authors Octavio Paz, Carlos Fuentes, and Toni Morrison; filmmaker Sofia Coppola; architect Frank Gehry; choreographer Mikhail Baryshnikov; journalist Walter Cronkite and many other nationally and internationally prominent citizens and leaders.