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Barry Lopez has won the inaugural $20,000 Writer in the World Prize.

Rasheeda Saka

December 22, 2020, 3:46pm

Today, the Sun Valley Writers’ Conference (SVWC) announced that American author, essayist, and fiction writer Barry Lopez has been awarded its inaugural Writer in the World Prize, which recognizes and honors a writer whose work expresses a “rare combination of literary talent and moral imagination, helping us to better understand the world and our place in it.” The Award, established and funded anonymously by the board members of the SVWC, comes with a $20,000 cash prize.

“On every level, Barry Lopez is the ideal recipient for our first Writer in the World Prize,” said Robin Eidsmo, SVWC Executive Director. “A writer full of curiosity and compassion, he has gifted us with words of optimism and of alarm about our planet and our need to protect it and each other.”

Over the past 50 years, Lopez has traveled the world—from the High Arctic to Antartica, from Oregon to Kenya—to bring us exquisite prose that illuminates our intense relationships and connections to the planet we inhabit. He is the author of several books, including the now-classic Arctic Dreams, winner of the National Book Award, and Of Wolves and Men, a National Book Award finalist.

As Lopez himself has written:

“The role of the artist, in part, is to develop the conversations, the stories, the drawings, the films, the music—the expressions of awe and wonder and mystery—that remind us, especially in our worst times, of what is still possible, of what we haven’t yet imagined. And it is by looking to one another, by attending to the responsibilities of maintaining good relations in whatever we do, that communities turn a gathering darkness into light.”

Words for all of us to live by.

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