The American Academy of Arts and Letters on Wednesday awarded Truthdig columnist Chris Hedges one of eight prizes for his contributions to American literature. Other winners include University of California at Berkeley professor Robert Alter, poet and activist Marilyn Chin, novelist Siri Hustvedt, playwright Matthew Lopez, fiction writer John McManus, poet and author Eileen Myles and playwright Lauren Yee.

“Chris Hedges’s big, brash, impassioned voice is a reviving tonic, an accelerant to our weary spirit’s fresh resolve to confront the powerful institutional attacks on our environment and political integrity,” the academy wrote in its citation. “His many books and columns on the website Truthdig about our broken democracy, corporate tyranny, and ecocidal madness inspire us to articulate action. His work is enlightening and intense—a furious necessity.”

The academy was founded in 1898, and some of its charter members include Henry James, Theodore Roosevelt and Woodrow Wilson. According to its website, the academy “seeks to foster and sustain an interest in Literature, Music, and the Fine Arts by administering over 70 awards and prizes, exhibiting art and manuscripts, funding performances of new works of musical theater, and purchasing artwork for donation to museums across the country.”

Truthdig offers Hedges its heartfelt congratulations.

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