ken wells website

Journalist, novelist, photographer, digital artist; musician, song writer, gumbo chef; proud native of the Louisiana bayous and citizen of the world;  fisherman, adventurer and finalist for the Pulitzer Prize...



Exciting news!

Gumbo Life: A Journey Down the Roux Bayou,

Ken's much lauded social and cultural history of gumbo, will be published in a revised and updated  paperback edition this October by

Blair, a highly regarded independent publisher of Southern-centric novels, non-fiction and poetry based in  Durham, N.C.

Watch this space for updates.


Read the fabulous

Economist review


Read my summer YA adventure

and survival novel

recommendations on Shepherd...

More news! Ken just signed a contract with LSU Press to write a book on...boudin...for the Press' Louisiana True series. Watch this space for updates.


My blog on why I write...

Meanwhile...Ken's sixth novel in collaboration with his niece, Hillary Wells...

"A mesmerizing tale of love and survival..."

--J.C. Sasser


Ken's sixth novel, Swamped!, a fast-paced young-adult survival story set in Louisiana's Great Atchafalaya Swamp, from Virginia-based Koehler Books. Ken has taken on a writing partner, his bright, talented and niece, Hillary Wells, to help with the dialogue and other writing chores. Click here for a summary of the novel.


Praise for Swamped!

“No surprise for a Wells novel, Swamped! is propelled by crisp, evo

cative writing, a delicious sense of place, and a tale that will keep you reading and break your hearts, in a good way. Read it now.” —Bryan Gruley, award-winning author of the Starvation Lake Trilogy


“An immersive, atmospheric ballad of the Great Atchafalaya, Swamped! is a mesmerizing tale of love and survival set in the most hazardous of stews—a story that deftly whispers the mysterious beauty in which nature gives and takes away. I happily drowned in this novel.”

J. C. Sasser, author of Gradle Bird


"A great and hugely entertaining novel about relentless challenges facing a couple of very different teenagers thrown together in one of the most dangerous and isolated areas of North America...A good tale told by really good storytellers."--Gary Lavergne , author of A Sniper in the Tower


                                                Read the first chapter

See Hilllary's reading of the first chapter...

                                            See a video trailer for the plot... Here  Here  B&  Here

Post a review on Amazon or Goodreads...

 Signed copies available while they last at:

 Outside & In boutique, Houma, La.

Southdown Planation Museum Gift Shop, Houma, La.












Narrative Non-Fiction  and Anthologies...


Available on Amazon...Ken's dad's memoir...with a forward by Ken

Rex Wells

The Right Place at the Right Time

A Memoir of Childhood, Family and War

written by a member of the "Greatest Generation"

Click here!





Praise for Wells' previous literary efforts...


"Wells is the Cajun Carl Hiaasen"--Tom Wolfe


"No writer brings Louisiana's wondrous bayou country to life more vividly, or with more affection, than Ken Wells..." --Carl Hiaasen


"One of the most compelling voices in fiction of the last decade..."--The Los Angeles Times


"An adventure storyteller "of the first order..."--The Atlanta Constituion


"In the tradition of Tom Wolfe, Wells writes energetic satire....” —William J. Cobb

 The Dallas Morning News





New from Crawdiddy!



Chanky-Chank Music!

The groundbreaking album from Ken and his talented musical brother, Pershing Wells, and featuring two of Cajun music's greatest fiddlers, Michael Doucet & Waylon Thibodeaux recording together for the first time ever!

Available for streaming and downloading at Amazon Music, Apple Music, Spotify and other digital-music sites.

      Sing along: lyrics here!



Listen to

our hearbreak ballad, Jessie, I'm Lost


Ken and Hillary on booktour, March 2023...

An original SwampDreams 'photopainting' from Ken...Click here to see more...

or visit






Radio & TV










Order books: Online and

favorite bookstores



In memory of my fallen friend and colleague

Danny Pearl


The rap on Wells...Hear "Mama's Cookin' Gumbo," the song Ken wrote about his momma's famous gumbo...Produced  and recorded by Pershing Wells at Digital Sac-a-Lait Studios, Houma, La.


Glossary--'envie', a craving

loup garou--the Cajun werewolf.

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Adobe Muse

updated June 2024