Winner of the Reader’s Favorite Gold Medal


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News & Reviews


What’s Next 596 (Author Jeff Barnes – “Mingo”)

WVVA – “Mingo” Author Visits Montcalm High School

PBS – Write Around the Corner with Jeff Barnes

Jeff Barnes – Derek Hunter Radio Show

Jeff Barnes – Big Time Talker Podcast


Contact W. Jeff Barnes

About the Author

JEFF BARNES was born and raised in Tazewell, Virginia, in the heart of Virginia’s coalfields. Mingo was inspired by his fascination with the Matewan Massacre and the years his father spent mining coal. Jeff graduated from the College of William and Mary, with undergraduate and law degrees. He lives and practices law in Richmond, Virginia.  This is his first novel.            

Praise for Mingo

Mingo is a realistic depiction of the Appalachian mine wars as well as a closely detailed look at the entire culture of coal versus the hifalutin culture of Richmond and the Old South. Seen through the eyes of two irresistible mountain brothers, Durwood and Bascom Matney from the coal mining community of Mingo, the issues of class, race, and unionization take on real flesh and blood. Suspense and pathos mount in a plot as relevant today as ever. Mingo is a moving and thought-provoking page turner. 

—Lee Smith, Bestselling author of The Last Girls and
Fair and Tender Ladies

An unforgettable coming of age story that sets brother against brother in the 20th century coal wars. Jeff Barnes is a natural storyteller. 

—Kelly Corrigan, New York Times bestselling author of
The Middle Place and Glitter and Glue

In his poignant depiction of the West Virginia coal-mining war, Jeff Barnes breathes life into both the hardscrabble fictional Matney family and such outsize historical figures as local hero Sheriff Sid Hatfield, fiery labor organizer Mother Jones, brutal Baldwin-Felts strikebreakers, and courageous ‘Redneck Army’ strikers willing to sacrifice their lives in the fight for humane working conditions. Mingo is a worthy memorial to these tough times in the Southern Appalachians. 

—Dean King, nationally bestselling author of Skeletons on the Zahara and
The Feud: The Hatfields & McCoys: The True Story

Mingo is like the mining of coal itself, explosive and powerful, darkness emerging into light. Barnes has found a rich seam. 

—David L. Robbins, New York Times bestselling author of War of the Rats
and Isaac’s Beacon

Family, friendship and fighting for human rights and dignity are the touchstones that bind rising talent Jeff Barnes’ Mingo together in a classic tale from the great West Virginia coal fields. Bascom and Durwood Matney, brothers bound by blood amid the 1921 Mountain State mine war, the largest American insurrection since the Civil War, take a timeless trip through homespun heroism, heartbreak and resolution. Barnes has meticulously researched those events that captured the nation’s attention a century ago and resonate still in the hearts of working people everywhere. The legendary Mother Jones, fiery Sid Hatfield, and the notorious Baldwin-Felts agency are accurately and dramatically portrayed in this classic piece of historical fiction. Barnes’ first novel is a top-shelf ‘page turner’ which holds the reader close from the emotional opening to the final, explosive conclusion.

—Larry Hypes, Bluefield (WV) Daily Telegraph

Full of detail and well-drawn characters, Mingo is a highly satisfying read wrapped in a sneaky-good history lesson.

—Paul Fletcher, Virginia Lawyers Weekly