Wells, actress, playwright, and author of two national bestsellers, Divine
Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood and Little Altars Everywhere, was
born in Central Louisiana, where her family has resided since 1795. She grew up
on a working plantation and attended the school of Southern Ladyhood and Roman
Catholicism. An imaginative storyteller and avid reader since childhood, Wells
suspected early on that her goals, ambitions, and expectations were much
different than those of most traditional southern women. She saw the world as
one giant colorful package just waiting to be unwrapped, and was determined to
learn and experience as much as she could as quickly as possible.
as she was energetic, Rebecca began staging plays with her siblings, cousins and
friends, eventually performing at her local community theater. Her early
experiences on the stage put Rebecca on the road to becoming the writer and
performer she is today. Once in college, she began developing a one-woman show
as well as a series of short plays.
this time of self-discovery, she began exploring the country by train, soaking
up the local oddities, dialects, and cultures unique to each place she stopped.
After her travels were finished, Rebecca enrolled at the Naropa Institute in
Boulder, CO where she studied language and consciousness with Allen Ginsberg and
Choyyam Trungapa Rinpoche and acting, movement, and voice with members of The
Living Theater, among others.
later moved to New York City to pursue her acting career and began studying the
Stanislavski method of acting, as well as a depth approach that integrates
spirituality and performance with Maurine Holbert. "I live in an actor's
body, in which the cultivation of sense memory, active listening, and the belief
that the sublime can arise out of the most common character, word, or gesture is
somewhat of a religion for me." Wells wrote several well-received plays
including her solo play, Splittin' Hairs, which was nominated for
Showtime's Excellence in American Theater and toured in 50 states, and Gloria
Duplex, which the Seattle Post-Intelligencer hailed as "one of
the glories of the decade."
commitment was not only to the stage, but to social justice as well. In 1982,
she went to Seattle, WA to form a chapter of Performing Artists for Nuclear
Disarmament. She was so taken with the beauty and grace of this part of the
country, she decided to make it her home. She currently lives on a small island
writing, however, resides in the heart of Louisiana. While many fans assume her
work is autobiographical, Wells maintains that her stories are just that --
stories. "I grew up in the fertile world of story-telling, filled with
flamboyance, flirting, futility, and fear. My work, though, is a result of my
imagination dancing a kind of psycho-spiritual tango with my own history, and
the final harvest is fiction, not memoir." Little Altars Everywhere,
which won the Western States Book Award when it was first published, and Divine
Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood, winner of the 1999 Adult Trade ABBY Award,
have given Wells a dominant place among the brightest novelists of this decade.
Little Altars Everywhere