Wiley Cash -- 2013 Maine Readers’ Choice Award Recipient

October 7, 2013

Valerie Osborne
Northeastern Maine Library District Consultant
Maine State Library
(207) 947-8336 x 114

The Maine Readers’ Choice Award Committee is pleased to announce the winner for the inaugural Maine Readers’ Choice Award. The 2013 Award recipient is Wiley Cash for his debut novel, "A Land More Kind Than Home." The award was announced at the opening ceremony of the Bangor Book Festival on October 4.

The Maine Readers’ Choice Award was officially established in 2013 by the Maine State Library and the Maine Library Association with the aim of increasing awareness and reading of adult literary fiction.

“Last year the Pulitzer Prize committee did not award a Fiction Prize,” says Valerie Osborne, Committee Chair and Consultant, Northeastern Maine Library District. “Members of the library community, booksellers, publishers, authors and avid readers were outraged with the indecisiveness of this prestigious group of judges. It was out of this frustration that the Maine Readers’ Choice Award was born.”

In order to be considered, books must be published in the United States in the previous year, appeal to a wide audience and be judged by the Committee to be notable works of exceptional quality.

The Committee, which was comprised of 20 librarians, booksellers, literacy advocates, reviewers and writers, selected the following three works from an initial field of more than 40 works of fiction:

"A Land More Kind than Home" by Wiley Cash, (HarperCollins).

"The Yellow Birds" by Kevin Powers, (Little, Brown).

"Gone Girl" by Gillian Flynn, (CrownFestival).

"Our inaugural finalists perfectly express what we were looking for in an award winner,” says Committee member Mamie Anthoine Ney, director, Auburn Public Library, “'The Yellow Birds' and 'A Land More Kind' than Home are both debut novels that tell touching stories of young people deeply impacted by a war - either on foreign soil or in a rural backyard. 'Gone Girl' is one of those psychological suspense novels that draws you in and leaves your reeling. These books will definitely not disappoint.”

The final selection for this year's winner was done by the readers of Maine who were encouraged by Maine libraries and booksellers to read the three finalists over the summer months. Online voting took place in September to select this year's winner.

While Mr. Cash could not be present for the announcement he shared this sentiment. "There is no way I can express the shock I felt when I was notified that I'd won the Maine Readers' Choice Award. My book was in incredible company with 'Gone Girl' and 'The Yellow Birds'. I have no idea how I was so fortunate to be invited to that party, but I was honored to be there. To be recognized by librarians and library patrons means a lot to someone who grew up in the public library system. Thank you." To view a video of Mr. Cash's thank you acceptance (from afar!) please click on one of the following links. Visit YouTube MSL channel http://www.youtube.com/user/MaineStateLibrary - (first video)or take this link to go directly to the video: http://youtu.be/UJI1W5zGeSI

"A Land More Kind Than Home" appeared on The New York Times bestsellers list in both hardcover and paperback. The New York Times also named it an Editor's Choice and a Notable Book of 2012. The novel was included on best of 2012 lists by Library Journal, Kirkus Reviews, Books-a-Million, and many others.

"A Land More Kind Than Home" won the Southern Independent Bookseller Alliances' Book Award for Fiction of the Year and the John Creasey New Blood Dagger Award from the UK's Crime Writers' Association, and it was a finalist for the PEN/Robert W. Bingham Prize and the American Booksellers' Association's Debut Fiction Prize. Wiley's second novel, This Dark Road to Mercy, will be released by William by William Morrow Publishers in January.

Wiley 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. Wiley teaches in the Low-Residency MFA Program in Fiction and Nonfiction Writing at Southern New Hampshire University. A native of North Carolina, he and his wife currently split their time between Morgantown, West Virginia and Wilmington, North Carolina.

The Committee is hard at work reviewing titles for the 2014 Maine Readers' Choice Award. To learn more about the award, please visit www.mainereaderschoiceaward.org.