The Book of Important Moments
To be published in September 2013
by Dzanc Books
eHarmony Date @ Chez Panisse
The Los Angeles Review
Let's Meet Saturday and Have a Picnic
The American Scholar Magazine
The Dangerous Gift of Beauty (96.2KB)
Arches Magazine Summer 2011
Prime Number Magazine
The Strange Detective
Your Life Should Have Meaning On The Day You Die (183.6KB)
Arches Magazine Winter 2010 Edition
Richard Wiley is author of numerous stories and the novels Soldiers In Hiding (winner of the PEN/Faulkner Award for Best American Fiction) Fools' Gold, Festival for Three Thousand Maidens, Indigo, and Ahmed's Revenge. His most recent novel, Commodore Perry's Minstrel Show, ("The best book you've never heard of!" -anonymous) was published by the Michener Series at the University of Texas Press in 2007. Commodore Perry's Minstrel Show and Indigo are now available in eBook version through Concord ePress.
Wiley was born toward the end of World War II, in Fresno, California, where his father was stationed in the army air corps. He was raised in Tacoma, Washington, where he went to Brown's Point Elementary School, Jason Lee Junior High School (the worst experience of his life), Meeker Junior High School, and Woodrow Wilson High. He stayed in Tacoma to earn his baccalaureate degree from the University of Puget Sound, where he began to take an interest in writing. After college and finding no way to avoid the draft, Wiley expected to spend a harrowing and possibly life-ending few months into the jungles of Viet Nam, but a bad right foot from a childhood car accident -- turned out to be a good right foot -- saved him.
In 1967, with the pressure of the draft no longer upon him, Wiley found himself at loose ends and, following the dictates of a radio advertisement he heard late one night when driving to the store to buy ice, he soon joined the Peace Corps. He was sent to the Republic of Korea for two years, where he taught ESL, first in the small seaside village of Taechon, and later in the provincial capital of Taejon. This experience changes his life. While learning Korean, which he did not excel at, he began to realize that language dictates reality, and also (therefore) that his American reality, coming out of English as it does, was not the only way of looking at the world.
After Peace Corps in Korea Wiley moved across the Sea of Japan to Tokyo, where he spent five years trying to excel at Japanese. He got himself a masters' degree in Japanese history at Sophia University, met his wife, Virginia Arcenas and began to write in earnest. The Wileys returned to the United States (in Virginia's case for the first time) to the University of Iowa and its Writers' Workshop, and then back to Tacoma, where Pilar, and later Morgan, were born. In the 1980s the family, not yet having had their fill of foreign locales, moved to Nigeria (for three years) and then to Kenya (for two), where the novels Indigo and Ahmed's Revenge were conceived. To date all of Wiley's books, lauded here on this Web site, have been set outside of the continental United States.
Currently Richard Wiley is a professor of English and Associate Director of Black Mountain Institute at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas.