Given by Berea College and the Appalachian Studies Association, the Weatherford Awards annually honor books (one in each of fiction, nonfiction, and poetry) that “best illuminate the challenges, personalities, and unique qualities of the Appalachian South.” The conferring of this annual $500 award in each of the three categories has come to be recognized as a major Appalachian event.
Established in 1970 and supported for 19 years by the late Alfred Perrin, retired publications director of Proctor and Gamble in Cincinnati, the awards commemorate the life and achievements of W.D. Weatherford, Sr., a pioneer and leading figure for many years in Appalachian development, youth work and race relations, and of his son, Willis D. Weatherford, Jr., late Berea College President.
Up through 2002, the award was given only to a single book. From 2003 to 2009, the award was given for both a work of nonfiction and a work of fiction or poetry. In 2010, a new Weatherford Award in poetry was established to honor the life and work of Dr. Grace Toney Edwards, former Director of the Appalachian Regional Studies Center at Radford University.