Thich Nhat Hanh is an expatriate Vietnamese Buddhist monk, as well as a teacher, author, poet, and peace activist. Martin Luther King, Jr. nominated him for the Nobel Peace Prize in 1967 for his efforts to reconcile North and South Vietnam during the Vietnam War. Hanh was part of a movement called "engaged Buddhism", which combines traditional practices with nonviolent civil disobedience, and he was exiled by both the Communist and non-Communist governments. He is a respected writer and scholar, and founded a retreat in France called Plum Village. Hanh has written several books, including The Heart of the Buddha's Teaching: An Introduction to Buddhism, Peace Is Every Step, and Living Buddha, Living Christ.
Wendell Berry The prolific poet, novelist, and essayist Wendell Berry is a fifth-generation native of north central Kentucky. Berry taught at Stanford University; traveled to Italy and France on a Guggenheim Fellowship; and taught at New York University and the University of Kentucky, Lexington, before moving to Henry County. Berry owns and operates Lanes Landing Farm, a small, hilly piece of property on the Kentucky River. He embraced full-time farming as a career, using horses and organic methods to tend the land. Harmony with nature in general, and the farming tradition in particular, is a central theme of Berry's diverse work. As a poet, Berry gained popularity within the literary community. Collected Poems, 1957-1982, was particularly well-received. Novels and short stories set in Port William, a fictional town paralleling his real-life home town of Port Royal further established his literary reputation. The Memory of Old Jack, Berry's third novel, received Chicago's Friends of American Writers Award for 1975. Berry reached his broadest audience and attained his greatest popular acclaim through his essays. The Unsettling of America: Culture and Agriculture is a springboard for contemporary environmental concerns. In his life as well as his art, Berry has advocated a responsible, contextual relationship with individuals in a local, agrarian economy.