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

EH 5702P not dated Ernest and Pauline Hemingway at the Hemingway's Key West home. Photograph in the Ernest Hemingway Photograph Collection, John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum, Boston.

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 Tuesday, July 21 — the 121st anniversary of Hemingway’s birth — with a Museum Day set for 9:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. at Key West’s Custom House Museum, 281 Front St. Exhibits include rare Hemingway artifacts and memorabilia, a life-size bronze of the author and 59 original pen-and-ink drawings by famed marine wildlife artist Guy Harvey that provide a visual narrative to Ernest’s “The Old Man and the Sea.” Museum admission is free with a mention of Hemingway Days.

Symposium sessions are set for 4:30 p.m. Tuesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday.

Tuesday’s presenter is Kirk Curnutt, Ph.D., whose books include “Coffee with Hemingway,” examining Hollywood’s three film versions of “To Have and Have Not,” Hemingway’s landmark novel set largely in 1930s Key West. Curnutt is to chronicle ways the films both represented and diverged from the novel, and the challenges of bringing a Hemingway classic to the screen.

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