Key West’s two most famous writers are spotlighted during a special museum day set for Tuesday, July 21, the 116th anniversary of Ernest Hemingway’s birth. “Hemingway in Key West” can be viewed at the Custom House Museum, 281 Front St., while an exhibit exploring playwright Tennessee Williams’ Key West years is on display at 513 Truman Ave. Both exhibits continue throughout the festival and beyond.
Hemingway Days’ opening evening features a presentation titled “Ernest Hemingway — Angler, Sportsman … Conservationist?” by author Timothy P. O’Brien, Ph.D., at 5:30 p.m. at the Custom House Museum. O’Brien is to examine Hemingway’s angling exploits, passion for sportsmanship and activities studying and documenting marine life. Other attractions include a reception, exhibit tour and “birthday party” for Ernest.
The festival’s leading literary event is the announcement of the winners of the Lorian Hemingway Short Story Competition at 8 p.m. Friday, July 24. Awarding $2,500 annually to emerging writers of short fiction, the competition is directed by Lorian Hemingway, Ernest Hemingway’s granddaughter and the author of critically acclaimed books including “Walk on Water.”
The awards presentation traditionally takes place at 314 Simonton St., an architectural showplace that was Ernest Hemingway’s first Key West address. Highlights include a reading of the winning story and a presentation by Tom Oosterhoudt on the property’s cultural heritage. Admission is free.
Participants include Chuck Ball, author of “Hemingway’s Heist” among others; Michael Haskins, who penned the Mick Murphy Key West mysteries; Steven Hull, known for his gritty Hunter Benson adventures; Mandy Miles, whose “Tan Lines” books chronicle Key West life; Timothy O’Brien, whose works include “The Tycoon Tackle Story: Frank O’Brien, the Tycoon Fishing Rod, and the Gilded Age of Big Game Angling”; Terry Schmida, writer of Florida Keys true crime volumes; and special guest Lorian Hemingway.
Presented by Literacy Volunteers of America–Monroe County, the free-admission event also includes a “meet the authors” reception and book signing with books available for purchase.
Though best known for his novels and short stories, Ernest Hemingway also wrote poetry. At 5 p.m. Thursday, July 23, the Key West Poetry Guild is to present a reading titled “Papa’s Poems” at the Blue Heaven restaurant, 729 Thomas St. — a site where Hemingway once refereed neighborhood boxing matches. Admission is free.