This is the 21th in a series of articles about winners of the NSNC’s annual Ernie Pyle Lifetime Achievement Award.
By Dave Astor
Four years after Dave Barry won our 2013 Ernie Pyle Lifetime Achievement Award, I thought I’d do a brief email Q&A with the renowned humorist. Of course, in this case, Q&A means Quips & Amusement.
NSNC newsletter: Looking back four years, how do you feel about having won the Lifetime Achievement Award?
Dave Barry: It was without question the single most important thing that ever happened to me in Hartford, Connecticut.
NSNC newsletter: Where do you hang/keep the plaque now?
Dave Barry: There was a plaque?
NSNC newsletter: Anything you want to add about column-writing (its importance, its current state, etc.) or anything else?
Dave Barry: In today’s America, more than ever, column-writing is a vital way for columnists to remain employed.
Barry formerly wrote a weekly Miami Herald column syndicated to a whopping 500-plus newspapers. He won the Pulitzer Prize for commentary in 1988, but said drolly that his most enduring achievement might be writing a column largely responsible for the movement to observe “International Talk Like a Pirate Day” each year on September 19.
The Florida resident is also the author of more than 50 books — including column collections, other nonfiction works, and novels. Two of Barry’s books inspired the popular 1990s CBS sitcom Dave’s World.
Born in Armonk, New York, in 1947, Barry went on to major in English at Haverford College and become a reporter for the Daily Local News in West Chester, Pa. — where, according to his bio, “he covered a series of incredibly dull municipal meetings, some of which are still going on.” Barry eventually became city editor, and also started a humor column.
He joined The Miami Herald in 1983 — hired by another eventual Pyle winner, 2014 recipient Gene Weingarten — and wrote his weekly column from that base for more than two decades. Barry still pens occasional comedic newspaper pieces.
Also, the humorist spent many years playing guitar in the Rock Bottom Remainders band that included other writers such as Mitch Albom, Stephen King, Amy Tan, and Ridley Pearson.
Columnist/author Carl Hiaasen — yet another Pyle prize winner, in 2010 — said Barry “remains one of the funniest writers alive.”