Earlier this week, the National Book Foundation awarded Annie Proulx the 2017 Medal for Distinguished Contribution to American Letters.

The author of Shipping News and Brokeback Mountain celebrated by delivering a killer speech that acknowledged the dark times we live in, yet ended on a hopeful note.

It’s an inspiring, chilling and intriguing bit of commentary.

Getty images

Below are some snippets that I thought worth highlighting. You can also read the full text over at Vulture.

We are living through a massive shift from representative democracy to something called viral direct democracy, now cascading over us in a garbage-laden tsunami of raw data.

For some this is a heady time of brilliant technological innovation that is bringing us into an exciting new world. For others it is the opening of a savagely difficult book without a happy ending.

But it’s not all bad…

The happy ending still beckons, and it is in hope of grasping it that we go on.

And where better to find a happy ending than in a good book?

Hence the indispensable silver lining, the lovers reunited, the families reconciled, the doubts dispelled, fidelity rewarded, fortunes regained, treasures uncovered, stiff-necked neighbors mending their ways, good names restored, greed daunted, old maids married off to worthy parsons, troublemakers banished to other hemispheres…. and the dog Fido, gone astray in the first chapter, turns up barking gladly in the last.

To watch the entire National Book Awards, head over to the NBA website.

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