Dave Barry, the Miami Herald's Pulitzer Prize-winning humor columnist, plans to take an indefinite leave of absence from the newspaper starting in January.

Barry, 57, said Tuesday he wanted to spend more time with his family after a hectic summer covering the national political conventions and the Olympics. He said he may return in 2006.

"I've never not had a column in a week in all of 30 years, even when I went on vacation," Barry said. "At some point I said, 'Well, maybe it'll be okay to not do it for a while.' And I didn't want to wait until I hated it and I didn't want to wait until I thought, 'Oh, I've got no more columns to write.' "

Barry said he may write occasionally in Miami's daily newspaper. His weekly column is carried by about 500 newspapers across the country, including The Washington Post Magazine.

Barry said he intended to stay in South Florida and continue writing humor and children's books.

He also planned to finish filming the adaptation of a book, "Dave Barry's Complete Guide to Guys." It stars John Cleese and Barry as himself.

In 1988, Barry won the Pulitzer Prize for commentary, the only humor writer to have won journalism's top award.