Kent Haruf

While you will fight—in the most gracious and persuasive way—anyone who calls you a “Western” or “regional” writer, the Center of the American West will not surrender the right to celebrate your deep and lasting contribution to the cause of our region’s self-knowledge. Having pulled the rug out from under sentimentality and stereotypes, you have given life to the people who have the courage to count each other as kinfolk and who take the risk of believing that trouble is a prerequisite for redemption. Having made the most of the opportunities for observation offered to a preacher’s kid, you have rejected “the easy way out” offered by cynicism. In your novels, the light from the sun and from the stars illuminates the beauty and brutality, the kindness and cruelty of human conduct in Holt, Colorado, located squarely at the intersection of the local and the universal. In the words of Maggie Jones, the force of connection in Holt and the fictive co-founder of the Center of the American West, “You’re here now. This is where you are.” This is where we are, in the company of your words and your spirit.