Derrick Jensen - Writer Activist & Books

Though to Exist in the Wild wins 2008 Eric Hoffer Award
The Hoffer Award was founded at the start of the 21st century by award-winning author Christopher Klim (with permission from the Eric Hoffer Estate) to honor freethinking writers and independent books of exceptional merit. The commercial environment for today’s writers has all but crushed the circulation of ideas.It seems strange that in the Information Age, many books are blocked from wider circulation, and powerful writing is barred from publication or buried alive on the Internet. Furthermore, many of the top literary prizes will not even consider independent books or previously unpublished prose, choosing instead to become the marketing arms of large presses.

The “Hoffer” honored prose is largely unpublished and the books are chiefly from small, academic, and micro presses, including self-published offerings. Throughout the centuries, writers such as Emily Dickinson, James Joyce, Walt Whitman, and Virginia Wolfe have taken the path of self-publishing rather than have their ideas forced into a corporate or sociopolitical mold.

The books and prose of the Hoffer Award are nominated by the people and judged by independent panels. Since its inception as the Writers Notes Award, the Hoffer Award has grown in prominence. Winners of the “Hoffer” are given prizes, honors, and worldwide media exposure, as well as being covered in the annual anthology, Best New Writing.

The Hoffer Award will continue to be a platform for and the champion of the independent voice.

Derrick Jensen unpublished books.

Biography Americans Who Tell the Truth .

“If monetary value is attached to something it will be exploited until it’s gone. That’s what happens when you convert living beings to cash. That conversion, from living forests to lumber, schools of cod to fish sticks, and onward to numbers on a ledger, is the central process of our economic system.”

Derrick Jensen is a leading voice of cultural dissent. He explores the nature of injustice, how civilizations devastate the natural world, and how human beings retreat into denial at the destruction of the planet. His work examines the central question, “If the destruction of the natural world isn’t making us happy, then why are we doing it?”

Rather than proposing easy answers, Jensen traces the roots of the culture’s pathology and finds the places where they intertwine, revealing fresh and startling connections. The Culture of Make Believe (2002) examines the interrelationship between hate and economics. The book was a finalist for the 2003 J. Anthony Lukas Book Prize, which cited it as “a passionate and provocative meditation on the nexus of racism, genocide, environmental destruction and corporate malfeasance, where civilization meets its discontents.”

Arguing that contemporary culture is destined to collapse due to destruction of the planet, Jensen advocates “dismantling civilization”— but not in a conventional sense. “One of the good things about…the culture being so ubiquitously destructive is that no matter where you look — no matter what your gifts, no matter where your heart lies — there’s good and desperately important work to be done,” he writes. “Know explosives? Take out a dam. Know how to love and accept children, how to teach them to love themselves, to think and feel for themselves? That’s what you need to do.”

Jensen, a long-time activist who lives in Northern California, unflinchingly examines the culture’s darkest corners while searching for a way forward. In A Language Older Than Words (2000), he draws on his own experience of childhood abuse to examine violence as a pathology that afflicts every life on the planet. This acclaimed book has been said to accomplish the rare feat of breaking and mending the reader’s heart, as well as energizing the mind.

Derrick Jensen

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