Wiley Cash

Bestselling & Award Winning Novelist
Southern Book Prize
Travels from: Wilmington, NC

“Wiley was gracious, entertaining, and informative to a full house!” – Greensboro Bound Literary Festival

Wiley Cash is the New York Times bestselling author of four novels and the founder of This Is Working, an online creative community. He’s been a fellow at Yaddo and the MacDowell Colony, and he teaches fiction writing and literature at the University of North Carolina-Asheville. He lives in North Carolina with his wife, photographer Mallory Cash, and their daughters.

Cash’s short stories and essays have appeared in The Oxford American, Garden & Gun, Our State Magazine, and other publications, and his fiction has been adapted for the stage and film. He has taught creative writing and literature at the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill, Bethany College, the University of North Carolina-Asheville, and the University of Louisiana-Lafayette. He holds a Ph.D. in American Literature from UL-Lafayette, an M.A. in English from the University of North Carolina-Greensboro, and a B.A. in Literature from UNC-Asheville.

Published in September 2021, Cash’s novel When Ghosts Come Home was a national bestseller. The novel won the Southern Book Prize and was an Indie Next Pick and one of Amazon’z top 20 books of the year. In 2017, Cash’s novel The Last Ballad was an American Library Association Book of the Year and a Chicago Public Library Best Book of 2017. The novel received the Southern Book Prize, the Sir Walter Raleigh Award for Fiction, the Weatherford Award, and the Bloodroot Mountain Prize. His second novel, This Dark Road to Mercy, was a national bestseller and received the Crime Writers Association’s Novel of the Year in the United Kingdom. It was a finalist for both the Edgar Award for Best Novel and the Southern Book Prize. Cash’s debut novel, A Land More Kind Than Home, won the Thomas Wolfe Book Prize, the Maine Reader’s Choice Award, the Southern Book Prize, the Crook’s Corner Book Prize, the Appalachian Writers Association’s Book of the Year, the Crime Writers Association’s Debut of the Year in the UK. The novel was a finalist for the American Bookseller Association’s Debut of the Year and the PEN/Robert W. Bingham Prize. Cash has received the Pat Conroy Legacy Award from the Southern Independent Booksellers’ Alliance, the Mary Frances Hobson Prize from Chowan University, and the Appalachian Heritage Prize from Shepherd University.

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When Ghosts Come Home

William Morrow |
Novel

Winner of the SIBA Southern Book Prize for Fiction

“I loved it and devoured it with fury, straight to its blazing end.” —Lily King, author of Writers & Lovers

From the New York Times bestselling author of A Land More Kind Than Home, a tender and haunting story of a father and daughter, crime and forgiveness, race and memory.

When the roar of a low-flying plane awakens him in the middle of the night, Sheriff Winston Barnes knows something strange is happening at the nearby airfield on the coast of North Carolina. But nothing can prepare him for what he finds: a large airplane has crash-landed and is now sitting sideways on the runway, and there are no signs of a pilot or cargo. When the body of a local man is discovered—shot dead and lying on the grass near the crash site—Winston begins a murder investigation that will change the course of his life and the fate of the community that he has sworn to protect.

Everyone is a suspect, including the dead man. As rumors and accusations fly, long-simmering racial tensions explode overnight, and Winston, whose own tragic past has followed him like a ghost, must do his duty while facing the painful repercussions of old decisions. Winston also knows that his days as sheriff may be numbered. He’s up for re-election against a corrupt and well-connected challenger, and his deputies are choosing sides. As if these events weren’t troubling enough, he must finally confront his daughter Colleen, who has come home grieving a shattering loss she cannot fully articulate.

As the suspense builds and this compelling mystery unfolds, Wiley Cash delves deep into the hearts of these richly drawn, achingly sympathetic characters to reveal the nobility of an ordinary man struggling amidst terrifying, extraordinary circumstances.

The Last Ballad

William Morrow |
Novel

Winner of the Southern Book Prize for Literary Fiction

Named a Best Book of 2017 by the Chicago Public Library and the American Library Association

“Wiley Cash reveals the dignity and humanity of people asking for a fair shot in an unfair world.”

– Christina Baker Kline, author of A Piece of the World and Orphan Train

 

The New York Times bestselling author of the celebrated A Land More Kind Than Home and This Dark Road to Mercy returns with this eagerly awaited new novel, set in the Appalachian foothills of North Carolina in 1929 and inspired by actual events. The chronicle of an ordinary woman’s struggle for dignity and her rights in a textile mill, The Last Ballad is a moving tale of courage in the face of oppression and injustice, with the emotional power of Ron Rash’s Serena, Dennis Lehane’s The Given Day, and the unforgettable films Norma Rae and Silkwood.

Twelve times a week, twenty-eight-year-old Ella May Wiggins makes the two-mile trek to and from her job on the night shift at American Mill No. 2 in Bessemer City, North Carolina. The insular community considers the mill’s owners—the newly arrived Goldberg brothers—white but not American and expects them to pay Ella May and other workers less because they toil alongside African Americans like Violet, Ella May’s best friend. While the dirty, hazardous job at the mill earns Ella May a paltry nine dollars for seventy-two hours of work each week, it’s the only opportunity she has. Her no-good husband, John, has run off again, and she must keep her four young children alive with whatever work she can find.

When the union leaflets begin circulating, Ella May has a taste of hope, a yearning for the better life the organizers promise. But the mill owners, backed by other nefarious forces, claim the union is nothing but a front for the Bolshevik menace sweeping across Europe. To maintain their control, the owners will use every means in their power, including bloodshed, to prevent workers from banding together. On the night of the county’s biggest rally, Ella May, weighing the costs of her choice, makes up her mind to join the movement—a decision that will have lasting consequences for her children, her friends, her town—indeed all that she loves.

Seventy-five years later, Ella May’s daughter Lilly, now an elderly woman, tells her nephew about his grandmother and the events that transformed their family. Illuminating the most painful corners of their history, she reveals, for the first time, the tragedy that befell Ella May after that fateful union meeting in 1929.

Intertwining myriad voices, Wiley Cash brings to life the heartbreak and bravery of the now forgotten struggle of the labor movement in early twentieth-century America—and pays tribute to the thousands of heroic women and men who risked their lives to win basic rights for all workers. Lyrical, heartbreaking, and haunting, this eloquent novel confirms Wiley Cash’s place among our nation’s finest writers.

This Dark Road to Mercy

William Morrow |
Novel

The critically acclaimed author of the New York Times bestseller A Land More Kind Than Home—hailed as “a powerfully moving debut that reads as if Cormac McCarthy decided to rewrite Harper Lee’s To Kill a Mockingbird” (Richmond Times Dispatch)—returns with a resonant novel of love and atonement, blood and vengeance, set in western North Carolina, involving two young sisters, a wayward father, and an enemy determined to see him pay for his sins.

After their mother’s unexpected death, twelve-year-old Easter and her six-year-old sister Ruby are adjusting to life in foster care when their errant father, Wade, suddenly appears. Since Wade signed away his legal rights, the only way he can get his daughters back is to steal them away in the night.

Brady Weller, the girls’ court-appointed guardian, begins looking for Wade, and he quickly turns up unsettling information linking Wade to a recent armored car heist, one with a whopping $14.5 million missing. But Brady Weller isn’t the only one hunting the desperate father. Robert Pruitt, a shady and mercurial man nursing a years-old vendetta, is also determined to find Wade and claim his due.

Narrated by a trio of alternating voices, This Dark Road to Mercy is a story about the indelible power of family and the primal desire to outrun a past that refuses to let go.

A Land More Kind Than Home

William Morrow |
Novel

In his phenomenal debut novel—a mesmerizing literary thriller about the bond between two brothers and the evil they face in a small North Carolina town—author Wiley Cash displays a remarkable talent for lyrical, powerfully emotional storytelling. A Land More Kind than Home is a modern masterwork of Southern fiction, reminiscent of the writings of John Hart (Down River), Tom Franklin (Crooked Letter, Crooked Letter), Ron Rash (Serena), and Pete Dexter (Paris Trout)—one that is likely to be held in the same enduring esteem as such American classics as To Kill a Mockingbird, Of Mice and Men, and A Separate Peace. A brilliant evocation of a place, a heart-rending family story, a gripping and suspenseful mystery—with A Land More Kind than Home, a major American novelist enthusiastically announces his arrival.

The Awful Responsibility of Time: Re-Reading and Writing Under the Weight of History

The Gift of the Grind: Writing Your Way Through

This is Working – Online Creative Community

Wiley’s Upcoming Events

Honors, Awards & Recognition

New York Times Bestseller
Indie Next Bestseller
The Southern Book Prize
Thomas Wolfe Book Prize
Maine Reader’s Choice Award
Crook’s Corner Book Prize
Appalachian Writers Association’s Book of the Year
Crime Writers Association’s Debut of the Year in the UK
Pat Conroy Legacy Award
Mary Frances Hobson Prize from Chowan University
Appalachian Heritage Prize from Shepherd University

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