HarperCollins Speakers Bureau

Wiley Cash

Author of New York Times Best-Seller A Land More Kind Than Home


  • American Literature
  • Southern Literature & Culture
  • African American Literature
  • Creative Writing Workshops
  • The Role of Place in Fiction


North Carolina

Wiley Cash is the award-winning and New York Times bestselling author of the novels A Land More Kind Than Home (William Morrow), This Dark Road to Mercy (William Morrow), The Last Ballad (William Morrow), and most recently, When Ghosts Come Home (William Morrow).

A tender and haunting story of a father and daughter, crime and forgiveness, race and memory, When Ghosts Come Home delves deep into the hearts of richly drawn, achingly sympathetic characters to reveal the nobility of an ordinary man struggling amidst terrifying, extraordinary circumstances. 

Published in October 2017, 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.

A beloved storyteller, Cash is the perfect speaker for libraries, colleges and universities, and common reading programs.

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 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.

Cash 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. 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, where he serves as Alumni Author-in-Residence.

Cash lives in North Carolina with his wife, photographer Mallory Cash, and their two daughters.

Praise for Wiley Cash:

"Wiley is terrific to work with, as we knew he would be from having met him early in 2013.  He charmed everyone completely and was so generous with his time in talking with high school students and so many members of the community.  We know he had a great time in Davidson, too.  We certainly hope he will come back again in the future! He talked in detail about A Land More Kind Than Home and his experiences in writing it, as well as giving us a taste of his second novel – which people in the community are now waiting for eagerly. Wiley also did an excellent job talking with two groups of high school students about creative writing – the process, inspiration, discipline, etc.  He had the kids enthralled, and they asked lots of good questions, too."
-- Susan Walker, The Book Clubs of Davidson

“Charming, genuine, and talented, Wiley Cash is the best visiting writer Georgia Regents University has had the pleasure of hosting. He was generous with his time, engaging with students and other members of the Writers Weekend at Summerville program.”
--Anna Harris, Assistant Professor of English, Georgia Regents University

Praise for When Ghosts Come Home:


“Writing with clarity and grace, best-selling Cash is a gem of a storyteller, combining the solitary journey of a young mother’s grief and a community’s relentless battle against racial injustice. The result is a tightly crafted whodunit with true depth that readers will simultaneously want to speed through and savor.”

—Starred Booklist


“Cash creates an exquisitely detailed world that feels real and lived in . . . Although the plot alone is compelling enough to keep readers turning the pages, this is also a quietly moving look at how realistically flawed characters deal with the tragedies life throws at them. A gripping mystery with characters that will linger in readers’ minds long after they turn the last page.”

Kirkus Reviews


Praise for This Dark Road to Mercy:

“The voice is Southern and oh so charming in This Dark Road to Mercy, a crime novel that’s also a road movie and a baseball tale and a wicked twist on Sixth-Grade Father-Daughter Night.”
--New York Times Book Review

“Darkly mesmerizing.”
-- O Magazine

“A heartfelt and nuanced story, exploring the lines between fear and trust, redemption and love.”
-- Chicago Tribune

“Narrated in alternating voices, this book captures the reader’s attention from the start and never lets go. Readers who enjoyed Cash’s first book or who are fans of well-written Southern fiction will enjoy this novel.”
--Library Journal

“Exciting and suspenseful as well as moving, with a captivating heroine, this is a tremendous book.”
--The Guardian (UK)

“Cash follows his evocative debut with another striking take on Southern literature. . . . In the rhythms and cadence of the South, Cash offers a tale about family and about the tenuous link among the right choices, living with consequences or seeking redemption. . . . A story of family, blood loyalty and making choices that can seem right but end up wrong.”
--Kirkus Reviews


Praise for A Land More Kind Than Home:

"Cash serves up his absorbing Southern-fried tale potluck-style, with three narrators: Clem Barefield, a rural North Carolina sheriff investigating the mysterious death of a mentally disabled boy; the victim's 9-year-old brother, Jess Hall, who doesn't quite comprehend all the grown-up things he's observed; and Adelaide Lyle, an elder at the church where the tragedy occurred. Cash uses well-placed flashbacks in A Land More Kind Than Home to flesh out his characters (though the shady preacher remains stubbornly one-dimensional) and to illuminate a familiar truth of Southern lit: Many are the ways that fathers fail their sons. A-."
--Entertainment Weekly

"A Land More Kind Than Home is a powerfully moving debut that reads a little as if Cormac McCarthy decided to rewrite Harper Lee's To Kill a Mockingbird."
-- Richmond Times-Dispatch

"A beautifully written morality tale, narrated from a trinity of distinct perspectives."
-- Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel

"In his debut novel, A Land More Kind Than Home, Wiley Cash has written a superb story of good and evil in a small town in North Carolina."
--Shelf Awareness


Praise for The Last Ballad:

“Wiley Cash reveals the dignity and humanity of people asking for a fair shot in an unfair world. Fraught with the turmoil of social change, The Last Ballad moves inexorably toward a devastating moment of reckoning. A timely and topical portrait of a community in crisis.”
— Christina Baker Kline, author of A Piece of the World and Orphan Train

“Cash pulls no punches in this gorgeous, gut-wrenching novel, and that’s entirely as it should be for a story of desperate people. In an era when American workers are besieged as they haven’t been since the Great Depression, I can think of no more relevant novel for our times.”
— Ben Fountain, Author of Billy Lynn's Long Halftime Walk on The Last Ballad

“Inspired by the events of an actual textile-mill strike in 1929, Cash creates a vivid picture of one woman’s desperation. . . . A heartbreaking and beautifully written look at the real people involved in the labor movement.”
— Kirkus Reviews

“Beautifully and courageously told. Wiley Cash dares give voice to people lost in the margins of history, and he brings to life their inspiring fight for justice with graceful prose, honesty and intensity, and best of all, a wonderful bigness of heart.”
— Lydia Peelle, author of The Midnight Cool on The Last Ballad

“This suspenseful, moving novel is a story of struggle and personal sacrifice for the greater good that will resonate with readers of John Steinbeck or Ron Rash.”
Publishers Weekly

“With his vibrant imagination, vigorous research, and his architectural skill in structuring this novel, Wiley Cash has lifted the events of the past into the present and immortalized a time that holds valuable lessons for our country today.”
Charlotte Observer

“Wiley Cash’s third novel is a sweeping, old-fashioned saga with an inspirational but ill-fated heroine at its center… Ella May is such a rich, sympathetic character… Powerful and moving, exploring complex historical issues that are still with us today.”
— BookPage.com