The Weatherford Awards are given by Berea College and the Appalachian Studies Association annually. Weatherford Awards honor books that “best illuminate the challenges, personalities, and unique qualities of the Appalachian South.” The three categories recognized are fiction, nonfiction, and poetry. The conferring of this annual $500 award in each of the three categories has come to be recognized as a major Appalachian event.
The awards commemorate the life and achievements of W.D. Weatherford, Sr. Weatherford was a pioneer and leading figure for many years in:
- Appalachian development
- youth work
- race relations
The award was established in 1970 and supported for 19 years by the late Alfred Perrin, retired publications director of Proctor and Gamble in Cincinnati.
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. Dr. Edwards was director of the Appalachian Regional Studies Center at Radford University.