Tanya and Wendell Berry, for nearly sixty years, have lived on their hillside farm in Port Royal, Kentucky. The two share a deep connection to their local community, hold a deep reverence for the land, and are staunch defenders of agrarian values.
Tanya Berry—an artist and agrarian—has served on the local library board and helped start a group called the Foundation for Excellence in Education, which sponsored lectures and dinners to raise money for special projects for schools and arranged for summer courses taught by local people. In the 1990s, she helped start, served on, and chaired the board of the Baptist Seminary of Kentucky. She has recently published a book of her own photographs titled For the Hog Killing, 1979. The book serves as an ode to the people, animals and land in their community, documenting the traditional neighborly work of killing a hog.
Her husband, Wendell Berry, is a poet, novelist and environmentalist. He is the author of over 50 books of poetry, fiction, and essays. His poetry celebrates the holiness of life and everyday miracles often taken for granted. In 2016, Berry was awarded the Ivan Sandrof Lifetime Achievement Award by the National Books Critics Circle. In 2010, Barack Obama awarded him with the National Humanities Medal. Berry’s other honors include the T.S. Eliot Prize, the Aiken Taylor Award for poetry, the John Hay Award of the Orion Society, and the Richard C. Holbrooke Distinguished Achievement Award of the Dayton Literary Peace Prize. He has taught at New York University and at the University of Kentucky. Among his honors and awards are fellowships from the Guggenheim and Rockefeller Foundations, a Lannan Foundation Award, and a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts.