a cat is walking in front of a house
The best-known Hemingway heritage site in Key West is the Spanish colonial villa that was home to the author. Now a registered national historic landmark, it is open to the public as the Ernest Hemingway Home & Museum. CONTRIBUTED

Ernest Hemingway left Key West in late 1939 after nearly a decade of residence, but his literary legacy can be celebrated during Hemingway Days 2024, scheduled Tuesday through Sunday, July 16-21.

On its opening and closing days, the festival spotlights a unique exhibit at the Key West Museum of Art & History, 281 Front St., that commemorates the author’s writing talent and Key West life.

Literary and history aficionados can view rare Hemingway artifacts and memorabilia, including his World War I ambulance driver’s uniform, as well as 59 original drawings by famed marine wildlife artist Guy Harvey that provide a visual narrative to Hemingway’s novel, “The Old Man and the Sea.”

On the designated days, Tuesday and Sunday, July 16 and 21, entry to the museum is free to those who mention Hemingway Days at the admission desk.

Though best known for his novels and short stories, Hemingway also wrote poetry. Festival events include the acclaimed Key West Poetry Guild’s annual showcase of the author’s little-known poetry, paired with guild members’ original poems and stories honoring him.

A tradition since 2012, the “Papa’s Poems” reading will take place on Wednesday, July 17, from 5:30 to 7 p.m. in the Carper Theater at Key West’s Tropic Cinema, 416 Eaton St.

The 1930s in Key West – the Depression era that Hemingway experienced and chronicled in his novel, “To Have and Have Not,” set primarily in the island city – is the subject of a happy-hour presentation by Cori Convertito, curator and historian for the Key West Art & Historical Society.

The presentation is slated for Thursday, July 18, at 5 p.m. at Comedy Key West, 218 Whitehead St. Tickets are required and can be purchased through a link at kwahs.org/upcoming-events.

Continuing the Hemingway literary heritage, the festival is associated with the Lorian Hemingway Short Story Competition. Established in 1981 to recognize the work of emerging writers of short fiction, it has been directed since then by Lorian Hemingway, Ernest’s granddaughter and author of books including “Walk on Water.”More information is at hemingwaydays.net.