Announcing the 2023 Writer in the World Prize Recipient

Announcing the 2023 Writer in the World Prize Recipient






The Sun Valley Writers’ Conference is pleased to announce that its 2023 Writer in the World Prize will be awarded to Abraham Verghese, in recognition of his contributions to literature and medicine and our understanding of the profound link between healing, the humanities, and storytelling.


Established and funded anonymously by the board members of the Sun Valley Writers’ Conference, the $20,000 prize “recognizes a writer whose life’s work embodies a rare combination of literary talent and moral imagination, helping us to better understand the world and our place in it.”The inaugural Writer in the World Prize was awarded at the 2021 Conference to Barry Lopez.


An author and physician, Verghese is also a professor at Stanford University, where he is vice-chair in the department of medicine and director of PRESENCE, a research center exploring the art and science of human connection. In 2011, Verghese was elected to the National Academy of Sciences’ Institute of Medicine, and in 2016, President Obama honored him with a National Humanities Medal. Verghese is well-respected worldwide, as much for his writing as for his empathetic and innovative approach to medicine.


“To be honored in this manner by the organization I think of as my literary home is a huge moment for me,” Verghese reflects. “I came as a relatively young writer and was mentored by the greats who founded the Conference. I am conscious that I stand on the shoulders of those giants and have their example of generosity to hold up.”


According to SVWC Board Member Mary Anne Dolan, “This year we have the joy of expressing not only our long-held appreciation of Abraham’s written works but also of his remarkable career as a physician and patient advocate. These twin endeavors have been interlocked in his storytelling from his first book, the now classic My Own Country, in 1994, to his recently published novel, The Covenant of Water. With the SVWC Writer in the World Prize, we shine a light on the moral imagination of our greatest authors and Abraham is clearly one of them.”


John Burnham Schwartz, novelist, editor, and Literary Director of the Sun Valley Writers’ Conference, shares, “I am fortunate to be well acquainted with any number of extremely talented writers, and some gifted physicians as well. Abraham Verghese is like no one else I know, a writer and physician whose sensitivities to the profundities of the human narrative have led him not only to excel in both fields, but also to change our understanding of the power of stories to heal and transform.”


The 2023 Writer in the World Prize will be officially awarded to Verghese as part of the opening keynote event at the Sun Valley Writers’ Conference in the Sun Valley Pavilion on Saturday, July 22 at 5:15 PM. The presentation will include an original film as well as a live presentation by the honoree.


Full passes for the Conference are currently sold out but individual tickets for seating inside the Sun Valley Pavilion for this presentation will be available for purchase online for $35 each on the website starting June 14. Additionally, the talk will be livestreamed for free at and also broadcast to the Pavilion lawn at no charge.





Photo credit: Barbi Reed

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