This year marks the 35th anniversary of Robert E. Howard Days, a two-day celebration of the writings and the life of author Robert E. Howard, the creator of such characters as Conan the Cimmerian, King Kull, Solomon Kane, and many others. Held at the town of Cross Plains, Texas, on the second weekend in June, Howard Days consists of the open Robert E. Howard House & Museum, a banquet and other gatherings for food and fun, an auction of books and memorabilia, the annual Barbarian Festival, local tours, panels and discussions related to Howard, and much more.
This year Howard Days takes place on Friday and Saturday, June 11 and 12, though the museum will be open from 2 to 4 p.m. the Thursday before and it’s tradition for many of those attending the events to gather for Sunday breakfast at one of the restaurants in Cross Plains. The Guest of Honor for this year’s Howard Days Banquet is Roy Thomas who with artist Barry Windsor-Smith introduced a generation to the character of Conan when they shepherded the Conan the Barbarian comics title in 1970.
Personally, I attended Howard Days in 2018 and have to say I enjoyed myself immensely. Not only did I meet some great people, but I found visiting the region opened my eyes to aspects of Howard that I hadn’t considered before. For instance, it seems obvious the terrain around Cross Plains definitely had an influence upon Howard’s writings. If you ever attend, make sure to drop by the Cross Plains Public Library to see and purchase copies of some of Howard’s original manuscripts, and you can walk over to the post office for a souvenir stamp. Also, don’t forget that Howard Days takes a lot of people and a lot work, so keep in mind Project Pride and the Robert E. Howard Foundation, the nonprofit organizations which keep Howard Days going.
Special this year, publisher and editor Jason M Waltz, the Executive Director and President of the non-profit Rogue Blades Foundation, will be on hand at Howard Days for the release of the new book, ROBERT E. HOWARD CHANGED MY LIFE: PERSONAL ESSAYS ABOUT AN EXTRAORDINARY LEGACY. Copies of the book will be available for sale at the pavilion next to the Howard house.