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Hemingway Days to Honor Ernest’s Legacy in Key West July 21-26

Keys History
This Keys History story spotlights an historically focused attraction, event, person or place that enriches the Florida Keys

KEY WEST, Fla. — Fans of Ernest Hemingway’s literary accomplishments and exuberant Key West lifestyle can celebrate both Tuesday through Sunday, July 21-26, during the annual Hemingway Days festivities on the island he called home during the 1930s.

Scheduled highlights include a virtual symposium with presenters including Ernest’s grandson John Hemingway.

Events are to begin at 4:30 p.m. Tuesday, July 21 — the 121st anniversary of Hemingway’s birth — with a virtual symposium presentation featuring Kirk Curnutt, Ph.D., whose books include “Coffee with Hemingway.” Curnutt is to examine Hollywood’s three film versions of “To Have and Have Not,” Hemingway’s landmark novel set largely in 1930s Key West, chronicling ways the films both represented and diverged from the novel, and the challenges of bringing a Hemingway classic to the screen.

Subsequent symposium sessions are set for 4:30 p.m. Thursday, Friday and Saturday.

Thursday’s presentation is to feature John Hemingway, whose most recent book is “Bacchanalia: A Pamplona Story,” and Phil Greene, who penned “To Have and Have Another: A Hemingway Cocktail Companion.” The duo will discuss Hemingway’s life, travels and pursuits in the 1920s, offering insights into everything from bullfighting and Spain’s Fiesta de San Fermin to instructions for preparing Ernest’s favorite libations.

Key West in the 1930s and Hemingway’s connection to a 1935 Florida Keys hurricane are explored by award-winning journalist Willie Drye during Friday’s presentation; while Saturday’s event pairs Hemingway scholar Sandra Spanier and journalist Robert K. Elder to delve into Hemingway’s first short story — written when he was just 10 years old — and its discovery in Key West.

Presented by the Key West Art & Historical Society, the symposium is offered online only, and reservations are required. For reservations, costs and access information, visit kwahs.org/education/hemingway-days.

Other Hemingway Days events include a three-day marlin tournament recalling Ernest’s passion for deep-sea angling and a 5k run that salutes his sporting interests. The annual Hemingway® Look-Alike Contest at Sloppy Joe’s Bar will not take place because of the global COVID-19 pandemic but is expected to return in 2021.

Everyone attending the Key West events should follow local COVID-19 health directives, including wearing a facial covering when required.

Event information: kwahs.org or hemingwaydays.net

John Hemingway, with a bronze of Ernest Hemingway.

John Hemingway, with a bronze of Ernest Hemingway.

Hemingway called Key West home during the 1930s.

Hemingway called Key West home during the 1930s.

Artist Guy Harvey's rendition of Old Man and the Sea.

Artist Guy Harvey's rendition of Old Man and the Sea.

This article was updated on July 10, 2020 at 1:35 PM
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