Bethany Prof Launches First Novel

Bethany College faculty member and author Wiley Cash, who held an official book-launching event at Bethany last weekend, is receiving considerable national (and even international) attention for his first novel, “A Land More Kind Than Home.”

Cash’s novel was featured in the May issue of Vanity Fair magazine, which described the work as “a nouveau Southern gothic.” Cash, called “a charming North Carolinian” by Vanity Fair, also was interviewed for a Q&A in the publication’s VF Daily.

The interviewer mentioned that when a lunch event for Cash’s book was held at actor Justin Timberlake’s restaurant, Southern Hospitality, in New York, “some girls passing by the window mistook you (Cash) for Timberlake.” The interviewer also asked Cash about a joke that he was “the Justin Timberlake of American literature.”

Cash explained, “I did a debut-author panel at the Public Library Association Conference in Philadelphia, and Barbara Hoffert from Library Journal introduced the panel, and she was at that lunch. She totally introduced me as someone who wants to be the Justin Timberlake of American literature. In the circumstances that we were in -in New York at his restaurant -that was funny. In Philadelphia, it was weird.”

The Bethany novelist added that he told the library association, “I actually had designs on being the Nicholas Sparks of American literature. That’s my real goal.”

Cash serves as an assistant professor of English at Bethany. He has landed a contract for his second novel, which reportedly will concern baseball.

Meanwhile, “A Land More Kind Than Home” was chosen as an Amazon “Book of the Month” for April. The novel is available for purchase locally at Words and Music book shop at Stratford Springs in Wheeling.

Area residents will have an opportunity to hear Cash speak of his debut novel when he gives a presentation on “A Land More Kind Than Home” for Lunch With Books at the Ohio County Public Library in Wheeling at noon Tuesday, May 29.

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Out-of-towners have discovered what folks in the Friendly City have known for 150-plus years. The beauty of the Wheeling Suspension Bridge has been recognized in the April-May issue of AARP The Magazine.

The Wheeling Suspension Bridge was one of the featured spans cited in a one-page article on “six dramatic bridges you can visit, walk across – and never forget.”

The magazine offered this description of the National Historic Landmark: “Resembling a mini Brooklyn Bridge, this 1,010-foot-long span opened in 1849, 34 years before the New York icon. Stroll halfway across the undulating walkway to view barges passing below on the Ohio River. In summer, Wheeling sponsors movies and concerts on the waterfront (free).”

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Are there old torpedoes lurking in the murky depths of the Ohio River?

We don’t know, but a steel historian, speaking at the Ohio County Public Library Tuesday, April 24, suggested that possibility.

Dr. Raymond Boothe, author of a new book tracing the history of Wheeling Steel Corp., was discussing Wheeling Steel’s contributions to the war efforts of World War II when he mentioned that the Navy needed a place to research and build rocket torpedoes during the war. The Carnegie Steel Co. plant in Mingo Junction was chosen as the site, he said.

“They (the rocket torpedoes) never really worked well” and the torpedoes sank in the Ohio River, Boothe said. “There are probably a lot still in the river,” he added.

Linda Comins can be reached via e-mail at: