The First Annual Grand Prairie Rabbit Festival

TFAGPRF My first novel, The First Annual Grand Prairie Rabbit Festival, is in stores now. Like right this minute. Seriously, if you walk into a Barnes & Noble or Borders, it’ll be out on the New Paperbacks table. If you want to keep up with events and such, join the Facebook Group. Booksellers, book-store owners, feel free to contact me at ken.wheaton@gmail.com. Don’t want to go to a bookstore, order it online from Barnes and Noble, Amazon, IndieBound, Books-A-Million and Target. Want to read, listen to or see interviews with the author. Check out Hey Brooklyn for a podcast, Bookreporter.com for a print interview and StackedUp.tv to see me hanging out in my living room.

PUBLISHER’S WEEKLY SAYS: Wheaton writes with an infectious energy, and his affection for the characters and culture is authentic without being overbearing or cheesy. Do the bon temps rouler? In Wheaton’s hands, they sure do.

BOOKLIST SAYS:“Readers need to hold onto their hats because Wheaton’s roller-coaster ride of a book has hilarious highs that plunge to soul-baring angst, then zoom back up to the top.”

THE DAILY ADVOCATE SAYS: “There are large issues on display in this book which can’t be resolved. There are smaller issues which can be resolved. … This book is a romantic comedy and a pretty good one. Wheaton keeps you hanging around to the end to find the answer. Along the way, he gives you some pretty good questions as well.

BARNES & NOBLE IN BRIEF SAYS: Chock-a-block with Cajunisms, quirky characters, and divine descriptions of food, Wheaton’s work never stumbles into cliché. Instead he delivers a accomplished debut that ends too quickly, and leaves the reader imagining a return to future festivities.

THE DAILY WORLD SAYS:The humor in Wheaton’s novel emerges from the cast of characters and their simple everyday occurrences, and when you live in the South you know how humor stares you in the face, just waiting to be written down. However, capturing that essence that is all Southern — or in this case Cajun — takes a special creative pen and Wheaton wields with aplomb. The First Annual Grand Prairie Rabbit Festival is laugh-out-loud, recognize-your-mawmaw funny.

BOOKREPORTER.COM SAYS: THE FIRST ANNUAL GRAND PRAIRIE RABBIT FESTIVAL succeeds nicely at being a light-hearted, enjoyable story yet with some challenging concepts in the background. Many of these are approached sympathetically, with approaches to racism and sexual preference immediately coming to mind. But the book focuses to a much greater extent on the ways in which Christians approach each other and also other congregations. Perhaps the greatest focus of all is the ways that people choose to view human vices.

SOME GUY ON AMAZON SAYS: An “unnecessarily convoluted and profanity-laced debut novel. . . . a disrespectful nose-thumbing of Catholicism as well as an overbearing and failed attempt at humor and graceful wittiness.”

ABOUT THE BOOK:

Welcome to Grand Prairie, Louisiana–land of confounding accents, hard-drinking senior citizens, and charming sinners–brought to hilarious life in a bracing, heartfelt debut novel simmering with Cajun spice …

Father Steve Sibille has come home to the bayou to take charge of St. Pete’s church. Among his challenges are teenybopper altar girls, insomnia-curing confessions, and alarmingly alluring congregant Vicky Carrier. Then there’s Miss Rita, an irrepressible centenarian with a taste for whiskey, cracklins, and sticking her nose in other people’s business.

When an outsider threatens to poach Father Steve’s flock, Miss Rita suggests he fight back by staging an event that will keep St. Pete’s parishioners loyal forever. As The First Annual Grand Prairie Rabbit Festival draws near, help comes from the strangest places. And while the road to the festival may be paved with good intentions–not to mention bake sales, an elephant, and the most bizarre cook-out ever–where it will lead is anyone’s guess . . .

ADVANCE PRAISE:
“You have to watch these Louisiana boys. They can drink you under the table, and some of them can write you under the table. Ken Wheaton can do both. He’s a wild one, and this is a sparkling debut.” –Luis Alberto Urrea, author of Into the Beautiful North and The Hummingbird’s Daughter

“Warmed my chest faster than a double shot of Wild Turkey and kept me laughing through the night. This is a rollicking, wonderfully irreverent debut. It’s also a charming love story with a heart as big as Louisiana. I am a huge Ken Wheaton fan.” –Matthew Quick, author of The Silver Linings Playbook

“Ken Wheaton’s fictitious story of a real small community in Grand Prairie, Louisiana, will keep you entertained and laughing out loud! Wheaton thoroughly describes the tradition and passion for the Cajun French way of life. Strap on your waders and get ready to trudge through some of the most colorful characters in the South.” –Helen Pursell, Queen of the Fifth Annual Festival Du Lapin

“A frustrated priest who smokes, drinks, and curses like a sailor, a loveable centenarian matriarch whose appetite for Crown Royal is matched only by her busy-body compulsion to counsel on any and all matters, a feisty flock of Cajun gals and gents who know how to get any ball rolling–all are unforgettable characters on a mission that’s not so holy and that gives new meaning to the notion of Southern Gothic. Add a carnival, the aroma of gumbo and fried turkey, and a little Zydeco dancing, and it’s easy to see why Ken Wheaton has produced a highly original yarn that is hilarious, beguiling, and, at times, warmly moving.” –James Villas, author of Dancing in the Lowcountry

21 responses to “The First Annual Grand Prairie Rabbit Festival

  1. I JUST FINISHED THE BOOK AND LAUGHED MYSELF JUST ABOUT ALL THE WAY THROUGH IT. I AM A SOUTHWEST, LOUISIANA NATIVE (LOVE YA LAKE CHARLES) LIVING IN HOUSTON, AND I HAVE TO SAY THAT IT WAS LIKE I LEFT MY OFFICE AND WAS WALKING RIGHT BACK DOWN THROUGH THE LOUISIANA SMALL TOWNS I TRAVELED THROUGH VISITING VARIOUS AUNTS AND UNCLES (HELLO RAYNE AND INDIAN BAYOU!). THANKS SO MUCH FOR DROPPING A PIECE OF HOME RIGHT INTO MY LAP! I HIGHLY RECOMMEND YOUR BOOK TO ANYONE WHO WILL LISTEN(AND ALSO LOVED THE GUMBO SEGMENT YOU INCLUDED… TOMATOES SHOULD NEVER EVER EVER BE IN A GUMBO! )

  2. AGREED! Don’t put tomatoes in gumbo!

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  4. Bewilderingly hilarious!!!! As a Catholic School survivor, this book was engagingly exciting. I loved it!!! Reminds me of the Harley-riding-basketball with teenage boy playing-drunken priests I remember from my youth. Lord love a duck, this book was awesome!

  5. Great read! I really couldn’t put it down. A one-day book, what more can I say.

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  9. LOVED you book! Never thought I’d see mention of “BFE” and “cool beans” in a book that I enjoyed but you sure delivered. Haven’t heard those phrases since I left New Iberia running in 1989. I laughed and cried, and you had me entertained to the very end. Can’t wait for your next one!

  10. Shantel Grace

    Your book arrived to me via the mail room of the newspaper I work for in Honolulu. Being that I’m a reporter and editor and just began graduate school, I took a huge risk starting a new novel. I mean seriously, what was I thinking? The fact is, your book has been a gem-one that I’ll place in my jewelry box and take out again only on special occasions. Well done. Congratulations. And I can’t wait for the next round.

    Mahalo and aloha,
    Shantel Grace

  11. you have made me read for fun again and remind me of my hometown eunice. love the way you write thank you. sorry on phone no caps or numbers

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  13. Kathleen Keating

    What a terrific, funny, wonderful read! As a Catholic, I’m happy to see priests who “suffer the human condition” depicted with love, humor and blunt honesty. As for the rest of Grand Prarie, well I just wanted to jump into the pages and join those folks to see what happens next.
    Thank you for a book I stumbled upon in the library that made me feel so good at the end of a pretty crappy year. Cheers!

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  16. Julie Winterbottom

    Just wanted to drop you a line to let you know how much I enjoyed your novel. When I finished it last night, I found myself feeling sad and a little irritable because I did not want my time with your wonderful characters to end. Each one is by turns hilarious, profound, and always very real. Also, having lived in Opelousas for a few months some years ago, I was thrilled when Mark wanted to go people-watching at the Walmart. I invented many errands so I could do just that.

    Anyway, I found your book via an announcement about Brooklyn’s Adult Ed lecture series. I missed your talk, unfortunately, but found your novel. Please write another one!

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  18. Alright… you have drawn me in. I’m going to have to read this now.

  19. Let me know what you think. Unless you don’t like it. Then don’t tell me!

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  21. Reading “Rabbit Festival”. You’re right. Found a recipe for Poule d’eau gumbo and not a tomato in sight!

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