Interview With Mr. Hamner
INSP: First of all, congratulations on the Literary Lifetime Achievement Award from the Library of Virginia!
Earl Hamner: Isn’t that a thrilling thing! I’m very excited about it, and it comes at a very nice time in my career – sort of at the apex of my career. I’m 88 years old and it’s just a very nice thing to happen at that late age. Also very encouraging because I’m continuing to write and I can’t seem to stop. But an award of that kind is very stimulating.
INSP: And it should be. You’re in some luminous literary company with Mr. Grisham and Tom Wolfe and Edgar Allen Poe and some of those folks.
Earl Hamner: Yes, and Lee Smith who is one of my favorite writers, she does beautiful short stories. She and I were co-hosts of the Virginia affair called “The Book,” which is held every year, and it was great fun to be with her as a co-host.
And I’m so proud to be a Virginian in the first place, and so it’s sort of fitting that the award come from the Virginia Library, because all of my work has been stimulated primarily from that little village called Schuyler in Nelson County in Virginia – which is where I grew up, which was my home until I was a grown up.
INSP: Well, that part has to be exciting, to be recognized by your home state and to be among that company of people. But an Emmy for The Waltons, and certainly other recognition, and you mentioned that it’s a stimulating award to receive, and at the apex of your career – but how does it compare to some of these other awards in terms of the impact? You mentioned the writing and all that, but an Emmy for The Waltons… The Waltons inspired by your life – how does this compare in terms of that kind of literary legacy or impact?
Earl Hamner: I would say that this is the most precious award I have received. I have others, one is a very outstanding one it’s the, oh, what’s it called…I’ve got to look at it…let’s see, it’s the…Oh yeah, it’s the George Foster Peabody Award. It’s the highest award you can get in journalism. That one was very outstanding and precious. But I think this one is the one that gives me the most joy because it comes from the home folks, and because it comes at a late period in my life; because it says “lifetime achievement.” It’s just a very sweet thing to happen!