Novelist Wiley Cash will read from his work at 7:30 p.m. on Monday, Oct. 3, at the University of Lynchburg. The reading, to be held in Hall Campus Center’s Memorial Ballroom, will be followed by a Q&A session and book signing. Admission is free and the public is invited.
Cash is the New York Times bestselling author of “A Land More Kind Than Home,” “This Dark Road to Mercy,” and “The Last Ballad.” His latest novel, “When Ghosts Come Home,” will be released on Sept. 21.
Cash’s visit is the first of two Thornton Readings to be held this fall. The readings are sponsored by the Richard H. Thornton Endowment in English, which brings established novelists, poets, playwrights, journalists, essayists, and other writers to campus.
Dr. Meghan McGuire, chair of Lynchburg’s English department, nominated Cash for the reading. She called him an “important contemporary Southern writer.” She added that, as a native of Appalachia, she appreciates the way his fiction “frequently highlights overlooked narratives and historical injustices in the region.”
Before the reading, Cash will meet with students in Dr. Kelly Jacobson’s Creative Writing: Fiction course. Jacobson, an award-winning writer and a new assistant professor of English at Lynchburg, has redesigned the class.
As she puts it, her students will focus on “the elements of contemporary literary genres within fiction, including young adult, thriller, romance, and science fiction, to name a few.”
She believes Cash’s classroom visit will do much to complement that. “Wiley Cash’s place at the intersection of literary fiction and genres such as historical fiction, Southern gothic fiction, and thriller makes him the perfect inspiration for our genre-bending writers,” she said.
“They’ll also be able to ask Cash questions about writing [and] hear from an award-winning author about his use of the same literary techniques they’ll be studying. Plus, Cash will even meet with a few of our fiction students to give them the rare opportunity to share their own works with him in order to receive feedback.”
Cash’s essays and short stories have appeared in Garden & Gun, the Oxford American, and other publications, and there have been film and stage adaptations of his work. He has received numerous awards, including the Southern Book Prize, the Thomas Wolfe Book Prize, the Pat Conroy Legacy Award, and others.
Cash earned a PhD in American literature from University of Louisiana-Lafayette, a master’s in English from the University of North Carolina-Greensboro, and a bachelor’s degree in literature from the University of North Carolina-Asheville. He has taught creative writing and literature at several colleges, including UNC-Asheville, where he is currently the writer-in-residence.
His time in the classroom is another reason McGuire nominated Cash. “He is an exceptional teacher,” she said. “I had Cash as a professor in undergrad at UNC-Asheville, and even though I was probably in the first class he ever taught — I think he’s only a few years older than me — he was an incredibly charismatic and dedicated instructor.”
For more information about the Thornton Reading series, contact Jer Bryant ’03, ’10 MA, Richard H. Thornton chair, at email@example.com or 434.544.8588.