Hemingway Days Literary Events Recall Key West’s Creative Heritage
KEY WEST, Florida Keys — A rich roster of literary events awaits readers and writers during Hemingway Days 2016, set for Tuesday through Sunday, July 19-24.
The festival celebrates the literary accomplishments and exuberant Key West lifestyle of legendary writer Ernest Hemingway, who lived on the island throughout the 1930s.
Hemingway Days opens with a museum day Tuesday, July 19, honoring Key West’s two most famous writers. Literary fans can view “Depicting Hemingway,” featuring renowned artist Guy Harvey’s original sketches illustrating Hemingway’s “The Old Man and the Sea,” at the Custom House Museum, 281 Front St. An exhibit exploring playwright Tennessee Williams’ long residence in Key West can be seen at 513 Truman Ave. Both exhibitions continue throughout the festival and beyond.
Contemporary writers star in the “Voices, Places, Inspirations” readings set for 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, July 20, at the Key West Woman’s Club, 319 Duval St. Scheduled participants include noted Irish novelist Denyse Woods, who recently bested 2,100 other writers to win the Florida Keys Flash Fiction Contest; Chuck Ball, author of “Hemingway’s Heist” among others; Steven Hull, creator of the edgy Hunter Benson series; Mandy Bolen Miles, renowned for her “Tan Lines” books and columns; and Terry Schmida, whose “True Crime” series chronicles criminal deeds in the Florida Keys.
The event is presented by Literacy Volunteers of America–Monroe County and includes a “meet-the-authors” reception.
The spotlight returns to the Custom House Museum at 5 p.m. Thursday, July 21, for a presentation titled “People and Places That Influenced Ernest Hemingway” by Nancy Sindelar, Ph.D. An internationally acclaimed Hemingway scholar, Sindelar penned “Influencing Hemingway: The People and Places That Shaped His Life and Work.” A reception follows at 6 p.m.
The next evening at 5 p.m., festival attendees can discover the little-known poetry that helped launch the literary legend’s writing career. The Key West Poetry Guild presents “The Poetry of Ernest Hemingway,” which also features guild members’ work, at the Blue Heaven restaurant, 729 Thomas St. — a site where Ernest refereed neighborhood boxing matches in the 1930s.
Held in conjunction with Hemingway Days is the Lorian Hemingway Short Story Competition. The contest recognizes the work of emerging writers and has been directed by author Lorian Hemingway, Ernest Hemingway’s granddaughter, since its inception in 1981.