Author Wiley Cash to receive Hobson Prize at Chowan University
Chowan University invites the community to participate in the 25th Annual Hobson Course, beginning March 25. The course will focus on the works of Wiley Cash, the recipient of the 2019 Mary Frances Hobson Prize for Distinguished Achievement in Arts and Letters, and culminate with the conferral of the Hobson Prize and Lecture on April 29.
The Hobson Prize selection committee noted, “Cash’s A Land More Kind Than Home is a testament of what it means to come from a place so beautiful, so poor, so isolated. This sense of place appears again in The Last Ballad, which is written with love and respect for the history and language of brave people who endured so much.”
Born and raised in Gastonia, NC, Cash is a fiction writer known for portraying “rural southern life and the power that secrets long kept have to disrupt” communities, families, and individuals. Cash attended the University of North Carolina at Asheville (B.A.), the University of North Carolina at Greensboro (M.A.), and the University of Louisiana at Lafayette (Ph.D.). He serves as the writer-in-residence at the University of North Carolina at Asheville and is the founder of the Open Canon Book Club and co-founder of The Land More Kind Appalachian Artists Residency.
In 2012, Cash published A Land More Kind Than Home, a novel set in a small North Carolina town. The novel appeared on the New York Times bestsellers list, which named it a Notable Book for 2012. It was also included on best of 2012 lists by Library Journal, Kirkus Reviews, Books-a-Million, and many others. It won the Southern Independent Bookseller Alliance’s Book Award for Fiction of the Year and the John Creasey New Blood Dagger Award from the United Kingdom’s Crime Writer’s Association. It was also a finalist for the PEN/Robert W. Bingham Prize and the American Booksellers’ Association’s Debut Fiction Prize.
Cash published his second novel, This Dark Road to Mercy, in 2014. A national bestseller, it was a finalist for an Edgar Award for best novel and winner of the Crime Writers’ Association’s Book of the Year. In addition, it was an Indie Next Pick, a Southern Independent Bookseller Alliance Okra Pick, an O Magazine Top Ten Title, a LibraryReads February 2014 Selection, and an Amazon Book of the Month Selection.
The Last Ballad, Cash’s most recent novel, was published in 2017. Set in a textile mill in Gastonia, NC, in 1929, the New York Times wrote, “Cash, with care and steadiness, has pulled from the wreckage of the past a lost moment of Southern progressivism. Perhaps fiction can help us bear the burden of Southern History.” His third national bestseller, it received the Southern Book Prize for Literary Fiction and the Weatherford Award for Appalachian Literature. It was a finalist for the Robert J. Langum Prize for Historical Fiction and named a Notable Book for 2017 by the American Library Association and Best Book of the Year by the Chicago Public Library.
Cash’s short stories have appeared in Crab Orchard Review, Roanoke Review, and The Carolina Quarterly. Other writings have appeared in American Literary Realism, The South Carolina Review, Garden & Gun, Saveur Magazine, and Our State. He has received grants and fellowships from the Asheville Area Arts Council, the Thomas Wolfe Society, the MacDowell Colony, the Weymouth Center, and Yaddo.
Initiated in 1995 by the Hobson Family Foundation of San Francisco, the award serves as a memorial to Mary Frances Hobson (1912-1993), a journalist and poet, who was the first woman to receive the Algernon Sydney Sullivan Award in journalism from the University of North Carolina. The annual event brings the University and community together each spring to celebrate the accomplishments of an author of the South or who writes about the South.
The prize will be conferred on Monday, April 29, 2019, at 6:00 p.m. at a dinner in the Chowan Room in Thomas Dining Hall. Following the dinner and conferral, Cash will deliver the Hobson Lecture at 7:30 in Vaughan Auditorium in Robert Marks Hall.
The Hobson Course will take place every Monday evening, beginning March 25th through April 29th. For more information, or to sign up for the Hobson course, contact Nancy Cox at 398-6211 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.