Ken Wells

Ken Wells

Ken Wells, novelist and journalist, grew up second of six sons on the banks of Bayou Black deep in South Louisiana's Cajun country. His father was a part-time alligator hunter and snake collector and his mother a gumbo chef extraordinaire. Wells began his journalism career covering car wrecks and gator sightings for the weekly Houma, La., Courier newspaper. He has gone on to an illustrious career: a Pulitzer Prize finalist for the Miami Herald; editor of two Pulitzer-Prize-winning projects for Page One of The Wall Street Journal where, over a 24-year period, he also roamed the globe covering the first Persian Gulf War, South Africa's transition to a multiracial democracy and many other stories. He has since worked as a senior editor for Conde Nast Portfolio magazine and spent six years at Bloomberg News as both a senior writer and editor before leaving in 2015 to pursue book writing full-time. During his spare time, Wells devoted himself to writing novels. He is the author of five well-received books of the Cajun bayous: Meely LaBauve (a 2000 Barnes & Noble Discover Great New Writers book); Junior's Leg (2001); Logan's Storm (2002); and Crawfish Mountain (2007). Tom Wolfe said of Crawfish Mountain, "Ken Wells is the Cajun Carl Hiaasen." In 2010, Knopf Young Adult published his YA novel, Rascal, a Dog and His Boy. He has also penned two non-fiction books: Travels with Barley: a Quest for the Perfect Beer Joint (2004), a travelogue through America's $75 billion beer industry; and The Good Pirates of the Forgotten Bayous, a story of blue-collar heroism in the wake of Hurricane Katrina. The Pirates, published in September 2008 by Yale University Press, won the Harry Chapin book award in September 2009. Wells is currently working on a social and cultural history of gumbo for WW Norton Publishers of New York and a young adult survival novel set in Louisiana's Atchafalaya Basin. Ken moved from Manhattan to Chicago in 2015 and divides his time these days between Chicago and a lovely little summer log cabin in the wilds of Maine. He's an avid photographer, hiker and fisherman and dabbles in blues and jazz guitar and songwriting. He cooks a pretty good Cajun gumbo. You can read more about Ken on his website,

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