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Writerly Influences: Cash on Gaines

Friday from the Archives: “The Seen and the Unseen” an interview with Wiley Cash by George Hovis from NCLR Issue 22 (2013).

Congratulations are in order to Wiley Cash being asked to speak at the unveiling of the Ernest J. Gaines memorial USPS stamp this week.

Cash reminisced about his time being a student of Gaines in an interview with George Hovis in our 2013 issue, released after Cash’s breakout debut novel A Land More Kind Than Home received much acclaim in 2012.

Hovis: What other writers have been an influence?

Cash: Ernest J. Gaines is my greatest literary influence. I’d always been a fan of his work, but it wasn’t until I studied under him in graduate school in Lafayette, Louisiana, that I realized how natural it seemed for me to model my style after his. William Faulkner is his greatest influence, so I think some of that shows up in my work as well. Other contemporary writers who have had a huge influence on me are Clyde Edgerton, Tom Franklin, Bobbie Ann Mason, and Ron Rash – especially Ron’s narrative poetry.

The interview goes into the creation of the novel’s story and characters, Cash’s upbringing in Gastonia, NC, and his first book tour. About the tour, Cash remarks, “I also had the privilege of working with and raising money for public libraries and local literacy councils in North Carolina and South Carolina, the two states that seem most like home to my wife and me.”

Read the entire interview on ProQuest or order one of the very limited copies left of the 2013 issue.