Wiley Cash, returning to his alma mater as writer-in-residence for 2016-17, will host the UNC Asheville Visiting Writers Series, bringing a variety of authors to campus for public readings and discussions. Cash is the author of two best-selling novels, This Dark Road to Mercy, which was a finalist for the Mystery Writers of America’s Edgar Award, and A Land More Kind than Home, which won the Western North Carolina Historical Association’s Thomas Wolfe Memorial Literary Award and the Appalachian Writers’ Association Book of the Year award. Cash, who earned a master’s degree at The University of North Carolina at Greensboro and a Ph.D. at the University of Louisiana-Lafayette, received an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters degree from UNC Asheville in 2015.
Reading: Sept. 22, 2016 at 7 p.m.: Reuter Center
The series begins with Ben Fountain, author of the novel Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk, scheduled to be released as a movie this fall. Fountain will offer his reading, free and open to the public, at 7 p.m. on Thursday, Sept. 22, in UNC Asheville’s Reuter Center.
Fountain’s satiric novel, Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk, set in Texas during the war in Iraq, won the National Book Critics Award and was a National Book Award finalist. The book was called “the Catch-22 of the Iraq war” by novelist and Marine Corps veteran Karl Marlantes. A movie based on Fountain’s novel and directed by Oscar-winner Ang Lee will be released in November.
Fountain, a North Carolina native who graduated from UNC-Chapel Hill and then Duke University Law School, worked as an attorney before focusing full-time on his writing. His first book, the short story collection Brief Encounters with Che Guevara, won the PEN/Hemingway Award.
Leigh Ann Henion
Reading: Nov. 10, 2016 at noon: Laurel Forum in Karpen Hall
Author Leigh Ann Henion, also a UNC Asheville alumna, will read as part of this series at noon on Nov. 10 in the Laurel Forum in Karpen Hall. She is the author of the New York Times best-selling memoir released last year, Phenomenal: A Hesitant Adventurers Guide to the Natural World. Her essays and articles have appeared in Smithsonian, Orion, and multiple editions of The Best American Travel Writing. Like Cash, Henion is a year-2000 graduate of UNC Asheville.
Reading: March 2, 2017 at noon: Laurel Forum in Karpen Hall
Camille Dungy is the author of the award-winning poetry collections Suck on the Marrow, Smith Blue, and What to Eat, What to Drink, and What to Leave for Poison, an American Book Award, and a two-time finalist for an NAACP Image Award. Her poems and essays have been widely published in anthologies and print and online journals.
Reading: April 4, 2017 at 7 p.m.: Laurel Forum in Karpen Hall
Chinelo Okparanta is the author of the story collection Happiness Like Water and the novel Under the Udala Trees, which won the Lambda Literary Ward for Lesbian Fiction and was listed as one of the best books of 2015 by NPR, Cosmopolitan, and The Wall Street Journal. Her fiction has appeared in The New Yorker, Tin House, and other publications.