Elie Wiesel

The Board of Trustees of The Kenyon Review was pleased to honor Elie Wiesel as the 2012 recipient of the Kenyon Review Award for Literary Achievement. He is recognized around the world for his work as an author, educator, and a human rights advocate. Wiesel is a writer whose masterful prose teaches us to remember, to persevere in the face of great tragedy, and to act against indifference, intolerance and injustice with love and compassion. His work is a testament to the illuminating power of art; a power that may brighten the darkest corners of our history with a new and restoring hope.

About Elie Wiesel

2013 • Elie WieselBorn in Sighet, Romania in 1927, Eliezer “Elie” Wiesel has published over fifty books, including Night, his seminal work based on his experience as a prisoner in Nazi concentration camps. Night has sold over six million copies worldwide and been translated into more than thirty languages; it has become the single most influential literary work on the subject of the genocide of European Jews at the hands of the Nazi war machine since its English publication in the early 1960s. Other important works include the novels The Town Beyond the Wall, The Fifth Son, and The Testament. His most recent titles available in English are the novels The Sonderberg Case, published in 2010, and Hostage, published in 2012. Both titles are available through the publisher Knopf.

In addition to his literary stature, Wiesel is well-known for his political activism, his interest in social justice, his humanitarian work, his philanthropy, and his work in academia. He has advocated for victimized Jews across the globe, as well as for those who have suffered under South African Apartheid and the military junta in Argentina. Wiesel has also been an active voice advocating on behalf of the victims of genocide in Armenia, Bosnia, Sudan, and elsewhere. After being awarded the Nobel Prize for Peace in 1986, he co-founded the Elie Wiesel Foundation for Humanity with his wife Marion. The organization’s mission “is to combat indifference, intolerance and injustice through international dialogue and youth-focused programs that promote acceptance, understanding and equality.” Wiesel was chairman of the Presidential Commission on the Holocaust from 1978 to 1986, and provided instrumental leadership on the Commission during the planning and development of the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington D.C.

In addition to the Nobel Prize for Peace, Wiesel has been awarded a United States Congressional Gold Medal, a Medal of Liberty, a Presidential Medal of Freedom, a National Humanities Medal, the Grand Cross in the French Legion of Honor, and an Honorary Knighthood from the United Kingdom. In his lifetime, Wiesel has been awarded more than seventeen honorary doctorate degrees from institutions around the world. He is currently the Andrew W. Mellon Professor in the Humanities at Boston University, a position he has held since 1976. He makes his home in the New York metropolitan area with his family.

Recordings from the 2012 Event:

Listen to a recording of Roger Rosenblatt’s remarks:

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Listen to a recording of Wiesel’s Nov. 8th acceptance speech:

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Listen to a short reading by Natalie Shapero and Elizabeth Lindsey Rogers, the current Kenyon Review Fellows:

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Coverage (with photos) of the 2012 event by Bloomberg News here.

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