One of the great joys of reading is the feeling of being transported—not just of escaping from somewhere, but escaping to somewhere. Readers of New York Times bestselling author and New Iberia boy James Lee Burke’s popular novels already know this, of course; his books featuring detective Dave Robicheaux treat New Iberia almost as its own character. Burke has become a heavy hitter in the mystery world, as one of only two authors to win two Edgar Awards from the Mystery Writers of America, for his novels Black Cherry Blues and Cimarron Rose. This year, fans of Burke—and of his creation Robicheaux—will be able to immerse themselves in the detective’s real-life hometown at the second annual Dave Robicheaux’s Hometown Literary Festival, running in New Iberia March 31—April 2. The first year was a rousing success, welcoming visitors from as far away as Europe; and this year promises to be bigger and better.
Event organizer Cathy Indest is enthusiastic about the variety of events: “We really have enough that there’s something for everyone to enjoy, and of course excellent food and music.” (It’s not really a Louisiana festival until someone brags about the food and the music.) The jam-packed schedule is especially good for book-lovers: Academic panels will discuss Burke’s work, and authors will present their own work. A talk by Margaret Wash, author of the acclaimed novel Wash, will be a particular highlight. Additionally, panelists will address the writing process and the publishing business, so anyone planning to be the next James Lee Burke can find out how to get started. Indest hopes that attendees will really feel like they’re in the New Iberia of Dave Robicheaux. Given the full weekend calendar, it’s hard to doubt that they will.
In addition to all-inclusive passes, tickets are available for individual events—and many events are free! To see a complete schedule and for more information on the festival, visit daverobicheauxliteraryfestival.com. Guided bus and boat tours will be available. For more on Burke and his books, iberiatravel.com/james-lee-burke.