Ernest Hemingway worked hard in the mornings. And then he played.
For the Nobel Prize-winning author, that often meant fishing.
“My big fish must be somewhere,” says Santiago, the elderly Cuban fisherman in Hemingway’s “The Old Man and the Sea.”
Hemingway wrote his Pulitzer Prize-winning novel, along with “For Whom the Bell Tolls” and “The Moveable Feast,” while living in Cuba from 1939-60.
The 2014 Ernest Hemingway Festival, hosted by The Community Library in Ketchum from Sept. 3-6, will explore Hemingway’s 22 years in Cuba.
Nancy Sindelar, Ph.D., author of “Influencing Hemingway,” said the Finca Vigia (“lookout house”), Hemingway’s home in the working-class town of San Francisco de Paula, near Havana, “was a wonderful, peaceful place for him to write, for five to six hours, and he would spend the afternoon fishing.”
Festival attendees can “work” and “play,” too, because the festival will offer what the library calls “edutaining” events along with presentations by Hemingway scholars and experts, including Sindelar.
Hemingway spent his final days (post-Cuba) in Ketchum and Sun Valley, and the festival will include a dinner at the Trail Creek Cabin and cocktails at the Cornerstone Bar (both Hemingway haunts); the premiere of the exhibit “Ernest Hemingway: At Home in Ketchum” at the Sun Valley Museum of History; and a visit to the Sun Valley Gun Club (the author was an avid hunter).
Other edutainment includes a screening of the 1958 movie “The Old Man and the Sea,” filmed partly in Cuba, and a talk by Wally Collins, winner of the 2014 annual “Papa” Hemingway Look-Alike Contest, who will discuss what it’s like to be the author’s doppelgänger.
Presented in partnership with Boise State University, the festival’s scholarly programming includes “Ernest Hemingway: Citizen of the World” by Sindelar; “The Old Man and the Sea (On the Sea”) by BSU professor Mac Test; BSU graduate students reading from their work about Hemingway; and a talk by Martin Peterson, co-founder of the Idaho Hemingway House Foundation.
Ada Rosa Rosales, curator of Finca Vigia (which is now a museum), will discuss Hemingway’s former Cuban home. Rosales’ trip to Ketchum is her first visit to the U.S., and festival organizers had to send the Cuban government a special letter asking permission for Rosales to attend, said Cynthia Dillon, the library’s executive director.
Also speaking is Sean Poole, author of “Gattorno: A Cuban Painter for the World,” about artist Antonio Gattorno, a close friend of Hemingway’s. The painter and writer, who met at a party and fished together, admired each other’s work, and Hemingway wrote a monograph about Gattorno.
“They shared similar views about the roles played by art and artists socially, culturally and politically,” Poole said in an email.
Sindelar, who taught English at Hemingway’s alma mater, Oak Park and River Forest High School in Illinois, visited Cuba and other places that influenced the author to research her book.
“He spent 22 years in Cuba the longest place he lived anywhere,” she said. “I was in Cuba 20 minutes and understood why Hemingway loved it. He grew up in a suburb in Chicago, but spent summers fishing, and developed a lifelong love of the sport. In Cuba he was on this beautiful island surrounded with world-class fishing.”
The Cuban people, Sindelar said, “love Hemingway. They claim him as their writer. That’s true around the world. He had this wonderful outgoing personality that engaged a lot of people.”
Sindelar said she learned to ski in Sun Valley and worked at the Trail Creek Cabin, but at the time wasn’t a Hemingway devotee.
“I was a college student, and probably more interested in being a ski bum,” she said, laughing. “I’m looking forward this time to seeing his memorial in Sun Valley.”
Fishing, skiing —every working author needs some play time.
2014 Ernest Hemingway Festival
WHAT: Themed “Hemingway’s Cuba,” the event will feature lectures, discussions, readings, a dinner and “edutaining” activities.
WHEN: Sept. 3-6.
WHERE: The Community Library, 415 Spruce Ave., Ketchum.
COST: $45 general admission; $30 students (covers all events). Optional dinner at Trail Creek Cabin is $50.
DETAILS/REGISTRATION: Visit http://www.comlib.org (click on “Events”) or call 726-3493, ext. 123.