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


West Virginia

Wiley Cash's debut New York Times best-seller, A Land More Kind Than Home (William Morrow), is a literary thriller about the bond between two brothers and the evil they face in a small North Carolina town, and has been met with critical acclaim since publication. His stories have appeared in Crab Orchard Review, Roanoke Review, and The Carolina Quarterly. Cash is the ideal speaker for libraries, colleges and universities, and common reading programs.

For a curious boy like Jess Hall, growing up in Marshall means trouble when your mother catches you spying on grown-ups. Adventurous and precocious, Jess is enormously protective of his older brother, Christopher, a mute whom everyone calls Stump. Though their mother has warned them not to snoop, Stump can't help sneaking a look at something he's not supposed to see -- an act that will have catastrophic repercussions, shattering both his world and Jess's. It's a wrenching event that thrusts Jess into an adulthood for which he's not prepared. While there is much about the world that still confuses him, he now knows that a new understanding can bring not only a growing danger and evil, but also the possibility of freedom and deliverance. Told by three resonant and evocative characters: Jess; Adelaide Lyle, the town midwife and moral conscience; and Clem Barefield, a sheriff with his own painful past, A Land More Kind Than Home is a haunting tale of courage in the face of cruelty and the power of love to overcome the darkness that lives in us all.

Narrated by a trio of alternating voices, in his most recent novel, This Dark Road to Mercy (William Morrow) tells the story of the indelible power of family and the primal desire to outrun a past that refuses to let go. 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.

Cash holds a B.A. in literature from the University of North Carolina-Asheville, an M.A. in English from the University of North Carolina-Greensboro, and a Ph.D. in English from the University of Louisiana-Lafayette. He has received grants and fellowships from the Asheville Area Arts Council, the Thomas Wolfe Society, the MacDowell Colony, and Yaddo. He and his wife currently live in West Virginia where he teaches fiction writing and American literature at Bethany College. He also teaches in the Low-Residency MFA Program in Fiction and Nonfiction Writing at Southern New Hampshire University.


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 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