Ken Wells / journalist / novelist / storyteller
Gumbo Life: Tales from the Roux Bayou
A tasty look at the cultural and social history of gumbo told through Wells' pilgrimage to Louisiana's Gumbo belt and the memories of his colorful bayou childhood.
Ask any self-respecting Louisianan who makes the best gumbo and the answer is universal: “Momma.” The product of an unprecedented melting pot of culinary influences, these mommas are an eclectic group, for gumbo reflects the diversity of the people who cooked it up: French aristocrats, West Africans in bondage, Cajun refugees, German settlers, Native Americans—all had a hand in the pot. What is it about gumbo that continues to delight and nourish so many? And what explains its spread around the world? (continued)
Coming Feb. 26, 2019 from Ken Wells & W.W. Norton...
"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
Novels, narrative non-fiction and anthologies
Created with Adobe Muse
*News you can use: Ken's story on literally green buildings in the June 26 Wall Street Journal.
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.
*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!
Advance praise for Gumbo Life...
"In this mouth-watering culinary memoir...is a vivid account of Wells' languid bayou childhood and the history and personalities who seasoned it. There could be no better guide to this unique American sub-culture than Bonnie’s boy from Bayou Black."--Geraldine Brooks, Pulitzer-Prize winning author of March and People of the Book.
"Like a dense, flavorful gumbo filled with tastes of the region, this is a book to savor." –Jessica Harris, author of “High on the Hog: A Culinary Journey from Africa to America.”
“Ken Wells knows gumbo, and from whence it comes. And gumbo, and its sources, are profoundly tasty things to know.” — Roy Blount Jr. , author and humorist.