Bestselling crime writer James Lee Burke was named recipient of the Louisiana Writer Award in 2002. He was honored by the Louisiana Center for the Book in the State Library of Louisiana for his extraordinary contributions to the state's literary heritage exemplified by his body of work.
The prestigious Louisiana Writer Award has been given annually since 2000 to recognize outstanding contributions to the literary and intellectual life of Louisiana.
Burke is noted for his crime novels. He is the author of the Dave Robicheaux series, which is comprised of works such as Black Cherry Blues, A Stained White Radiance and Jolie Blon's Bounce. He also wrote the Edgar Award-winning Cimarron Rose.
Burke has published a total of 25 novels, along with a number of short stories.
Burke has also been awarded a Breadloaf fellowship, 1970; Southern Federation of State Arts Agencies grant, 1977; National Endowment grant, 1977; Pulitzer Prize nomination, 1987, for The Lost Get-Back Boogie; Edgar Allan Poe awards for Best Novel, Mystery Writers of America, 1989, for Black Cherry Blues, and 1998, for Cimarron Rose; Guggenheim fellowship, 1989; Edgar Allan Poe Award nomination for best novel and Hammett Prize nominee, North American Branch of the International Association of Crime Writers, both 2003, both for Jolie Blon's Bounce.
Burke was born in 1936 in Houston, Texas. He worked as a surveyor and social worker in Los Angeles from 1962 to 1964; as a newspaper reporter in Lafayette, La., in 1964; and as an English instructor at colleges and universities, including University of Southern Illinois, University of Montana, Miami-Dade Community College and Wichita State University, as well as at the U.S. Forest Service, Job Corps Conservation Center, Frenchburg, Ky., as an instructor from 1965 to 1966.