Six weeks from today the faithful will gather early in the morning outside the Howard House Museum and the adjacent Pavilion in Cross Plans, Texas. While many will wake bleary eyed and hung-over or tired from a long trip, a stop by Jean’s Feed Barn will leave them fortified after a hearty breakfast and ready for Howard Days to begin.
This year’s Guest of Honor is world renowned Howard scholar Charles Hoffman. Charles is best known for a having written the Robert E. Howard: Starmont Reader’s Guide 35 with Marc Cerasini. He and Marc also edited the first two issues of the journal Cromlech, which was the very first periodical publication devoted to serious scholarship and criticism of REH. Additionally, Charles also wrote, “Robert E. Howard: Twentieth-Century Mythmaker” essay for the first volume of The Best of Robert E. Howard and numerous essays for The Dark Man and other Howard journals, not to mention contributions to his blog. Here is an excerpt from Rusty Burke’s post at the REHupa website announcing Charles as this year’s GOH:
Chuck is one of the most formidable essayists in Howard studies. His “Conan the Existentialist,” which appeared in Amra 61 (March 1974), was the opening salvo of what has come to be called “the new criticism” of Howard, criticism that took him seriously as a writer whose work had depth and substance along with the excitement and adventure. Prior to that essay, most Howard “criticism” consisted of book reviews (though some, like those of Schuyler Miller and Fritz Leiber, showed real insight) or introductions by fans who failed to take him seriously (John D. Clark famously proclaiming, “Don’t look for hidden philosophical meanings or intellectual puzzles in these yarns–they aren’t there.”). Chuck showed that Howard could not only provide rousing action, but rewarded closer reading as well. Patrice Louinet says, “‘Conan the Existentialist’ is the essay that made me want to study and write about Howard. It was a pure revelation.”
In addition to Charles, there are two full days chock full of panels, tours, swap meets and the Barbarian Festival. Below is a summary secedule of events:
Howard Days 2012 Summary Schedule
Friday June 8th
8:30 – 9 am: Coffee and donuts at the Pavilion, compliments of Project Pride
9 am – 4 pm: Robert E. Howard House Museum open to the public
9 am – 4 pm: REH Postal Cancellation at Cross Plains Post Office
9 am – 11 am: Bus Tour of Cross Plains
10 am – 5 pm: Cross Plains Public Library open
11:00: PANEL: Glenn Lord Tribute
Noon: Lunch hosted by Project Pride. Donations Welcome.
11:00 am to 4 pm: Pavilion available for REH items Swap Meet
1:00 pm: PANEL: Conan the Existentialist
2:30 pm: PANEL: Conan’s Birthday!
5:30 – 6:30: Silent Auction items available for viewing and bidding at Banquet site
6:30: Robert E. Howard Celebration Banquet and Silent Auction at the Baptist Church Family Life Center. (1 block north of the Library on Main St.)
Following the Banquet and Silent Auction: The Third Annual Robert E. Howard Foundation Awards at the Baptist Church Family Life Center.
9:00 pm PANEL: Fists at the Ice House
Afterward there will be some extemporaneous REH Poetry Reading at the Pavilion dedicated to Glenn Lord.
Saturday June 9th
9 am – 4 pm: Robert E. Howard House Museum open to the public.
9 am – 4 pm: Barbarian Festival held this year at Treadway Park, 3 blocks west of REH House
10 am – 3 pm: Cross Plains Public Library open
10:30 am PANEL: REH at the Gates of Academia
Noon to 4 pm: Pavilion available for REH items Swap Meet
Noon: The Robert E. Howard Foundation Legacy Circle Members Luncheon.
Lunch & Festival Activities at your leisure during the day
2:00 pm PANEL: The Illustrated Conan
3:30 pm PANEL:What’s Up with REH? at the Pavilion
5 pm: Sunset BBQ at the Caddo Peak Ranch
Please Note: The Robert E. Howard House Museum will be open again this year on Thursday (June 7th) from 2-4 pm. No docents on duty.
For a detailed schedule and everything you wanted to know about Howard Days, mosey on over to the REHupa website.
If you can’t make it to Howard Days this year, you can still contribate to the cause. Project Pride needs donations of Howard material for the Silent Auction. Typical donations include books, magazines, old pulps, comics, memorabilia, fanzines or other publications. Other Howard items such as t-shirts, bookmarks, wood carvings, original artwork or limited edition prints or posters are also great items to donate to the auction. Instead of selling your items on eBay, you can donate them to the Silent Auction and know the money will be supporting a worthy cause, plus it counts as a donation, so it’s tax deductible. Please send your donated items to:
P.O. Box 534
Cross Plains, TX 76443
ATTN: Howard Days Silent Auction
Make sure your name and address information is included since all donors are listed in a place of honor in the Howard Days Banquet program booklet.