“Mingo” author visits Montcalm High School

He talked with students about his historical fiction book focusing on the Matewan Massacre.
Published: May. 15, 2023 at 6:45 PM EDT
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BRAMWELL, W.Va. (WVVA) -An author of historical fiction book, Mingo, visited Montcalm High School Monday to teach students about West Virginian history. Jeff Barnes is an author of Mingo, a historical fiction about the mining conflict in Mingo County, West Virginia that resulted in what is known as the “Matewan Massacre.” Despite not having a writing background, Barnes’s interest in this historical account inspired him to write his own retelling – with the central focus being fictious brothers caught on opposite sides of the conflict.

“Well, I grew up in Tazewell, Virginia, my father was involved in mining when I was a kid, but really it was my fascination with the Matewan Massacre and my interest in how brothers end up in opposite sides of conflict, particularly the civil war, and I wanted to write a book about bothers who ended up on opposite sides of the mine wars,” says Barnes.

To promote his book and spread his love of West Virginian history, Barnes visited Montcalm High School and spoke to the students. There, he talked about his book, the history behind it, and even gave some writing advice.

“Well, hopefully, they will realize that there’s a lot to learn about West Virginian history that can inform them about, not only about their own state, but about our country at large...” says Barnes.

“I thought it was interesting. I’ve read a lot of historical fiction books, and I would definitely consider reading this... I’m glad I was here,” says Logan Henry, a Montcalm student.

Barnes explained the purpose of the book with a quote he once heard: “if you want to learn history, read a history book, if you want to understand history, read historical fiction.”

If you want to purchase your own copy of Mingo, Barnes says you can pick one up at the Hatter’s Bookstore in Princeton.