KEY WEST, Fla. — In his classic novel “To Have and Have Not,” Ernest Hemingway painted a mesmerizing portrait of Depression-era Key West. During Hemingway Days 2019, scheduled Tuesday through Sunday, July 16-21, fans of the author’s work can enjoy readings, symposium presentations and film screenings on the island he called home in the 1930s.
The festival’s opening evening features a 6 p.m. Hemingway mini-symposium at Key West’s Old City Hall, 510 Greene St. Organized by the Key West Art & Historical Society, it features scholars and writers inspired by Hemingway’s work.
Presenters are moderator Kirk Curnutt, Ph.D., whose books include “Coffee with Hemingway,” discussing the 1932 short story “After the Storm” that was Ernest’s first attempt to fictionalize Key West. Brewster Chamberlin, Ph.D., will discuss Key West during Hemingway’s era, while author and publisher Robert K. Elder will unveil 99-year-old letters that reveal the literary legend’s early unrequited love.
Registration is required; for tickets, visit kwahs.org.
The “Voices, Places, Inspirations” readings, a Hemingway Days tradition, are set for 5-7 p.m. Wednesday, July 17, at Old City Hall. The evening begins with “Papa’s Poems,” a presentation of Hemingway’s little-known poetry by members of the renowned Key West Poetry Guild.
Subsequent presenters are Curnutt, discussing notable novels about Key West and their writers; Kristina Neihouse, showcasing her first novel, “Knowing When to Leave,” and her in-progress second book; and Edgardo Alvarado-Vazquez, sharing excerpts from his volumes of historical fiction, poetry and short stories.
Admission is free but registration is suggested; visit kwahs.org.
Highlights Friday, July 19, include two screenings of “Hemingway: Between Key West and Cuba” set for 11:15 a.m. and 12:15 p.m. at Key West’s Tropic Cinema, 416 Eaton St. A film by Richard Abella, the documentary examines the two islands whose places, people and cultures influenced Hemingway’s life and work for more than 30 years.
The film’s executive producers and writers, C. Michael Curry and Raul Villarreal, are to be on hand to introduce it and participate in Q&A exchanges with audience members. For tickets, visit tropiccinema.com/event/hemingway-between-key-west-and-cuba/.
Festival attendees also can view the Hemingway Collection at Key West’s Custom House Museum, 281 Front St. The highly acclaimed collection features rare artifacts and memorabilia from the author’s life, a life-size bronze memorializing him and marine wildlife artist Guy Harvey’s 59 original pen-and-ink sketches that illustrate Hemingway’s “The Old Man and the Sea.” Admission is free to those who mention Hemingway Days.
Key West visitor information: fla-keys.com/keywest or 1-800-LAST-KEY
Fans of Hemingway can enjoy readings, symposium presentations and film screenings on the island he called home in the 1930s.
Festival attendees also can view the Hemingway Collection at Key West’s Custom House Museum. Image: Carol Tedesco