Ken Wells / journalist / novelist / storyteller
'Ken Wells is the Cajun Carl Hiaasen'--Tom Wolfe
Up next from Ken: A tasty look at the cultural and social history of gumbo narrated by Wells as a pilgrim traveling Louisiana's Gumbo Belt and as a memoirist rummaging through the scenes of his Gumbo Life of yore. See more details below...
Novels, narrative non-fiction and anthologies
"An expert first novel..."--The New York Times
"Salty and good..."--The New York Times
"A Category 5 thriller..."--The Miami Herald
An expert "comic crime novel."--The Washington Post
"A cracking good animal story..."--The Center for Children's Books
"A terrific collection..."--Publishers Weekly
"Artful storytelling..."--Book List
"A humorous, lively tour..."--Publishers Weekly
"Highly recommended..."--Warren Buffett,
The Oracle of Omaha
"Vivid prose...heartbreaking reporting..."--Publishers Weekly
"A terrific read..."--Publishers Weekly
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*Coming February 2019 from Ken and W.W. Norton Publishers of New York ...
Gumbo Life: Tales of the Roux Bayou
A sprightly, deeply personal narrative about how gumbo—for 250 years a Cajun and Creole secret—has become among the world’s most famous soups.
Ken Wells grew up in the Cajun ramparts of Bayou Black, eating his French-speaking momma’s gumbo and living what he calls the Gumbo Life—a time when the rhythms of the day clung to rituals of a previous century and gumbo began with a chicken chased down in the yard. He later would roam the world as a journalist but never forgot his roots. In Gumbo Life, Wells returns, taking readers on a lively tour that includes visits to a coot-cooking gumbo fest, a factory producing gumbo in insane quantities, and an iconic restaurant where high-style Creole cooking and re-energized Cajun cuisine merged to change the culinary landscape. Along the way, Wells answers other burning questions—like how gumbo got to China and who won New York City’s Gumbo War. Lively travelogue and moving memoir, Gumbo Life is a celebration--of a place, a dish and the cultures that created it.
Check out Ken's April 2017 US News & World Report essay on why Louisiana's bottom-ranking in the magazine's metrics beauty pageant just doesn't add up.
*Ken's highly praised post-Katrina book, The Good Pirates of the Forgotten Bayous, is available in an updated paperback edition from Yale University Press.
* Rascal, a Dog and His Boy is now a terrific audio book!