Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Taking a Break

I will be taking a break from speaking, touring, writing and blogging for a few weeks. I hope to resume, refreshed, in June.

Have a happy Spring!

Thursday, May 15, 2008

KC Was Great

I had a great time in KC: a large enthusiastic audience and a superb dinner afterwards.

They tell me that my talk was the best-attended event in the venue's very short history (it opened a few short weeks ago in April).

Kansas City itself was very nice; for information about goings on in KC, visit this site.

Friday, May 9, 2008

On To Kansas City!

No rest for the wicked! My Michigan tour was great, but now I am getting ready for my trip to Kansas City.

Here is some advance publicity: (original context is here)

In another book note, Valerie Hemingway, author of Running With the Bulls: My Years With the Hemingways, will speak about her book and her travels with Ernest Hemingway at 6:30 p.m. Wednesday at the Plaza Branch Library, 4801 Main St.

As Valerie Danby Smith, Hemingway worked as the author’s secretary and was with Hemingway and his wife, Mary, when they traveled through Spain, France and Cuba. She worked for the estate after his death and married Gregory, Ernest Hemingway’s son.

Hemingway will sign copies of the book purchased at the event. Otherwise, there is no charge. Call 816-701-3407 or see

Sunday, May 4, 2008

A Big Thank You to Michigan

A big "thank you" to all my new friends in Michigan. Six lectures, six cities, seven days. All were a great success. The halls were mostly packed to capacity, with lots of extra happenings.

The state library at Lansing was a spectacular venue for the kickoff. That first glimpse of the stately building blew my breath away. Dinner afterwards at the Italian restaurant where the waiter spotted me immediately from the advance publicity. He turned out to be a budding poet. There was a Polish dinner, door prizes, a packed house and a post-talk party in Hamtramck.

Grand Rapids
has a splendid library too, filled with a lively lunchtime audience.

I stayed at the historic Landmark hotel in Marquette, where I tasted the local whitefish, a delicacy, at the Spanish restaurant. My hosts were the organizers who had arranged my afternoon talk at the lovely Peter White Library opposite the hotel.

Next day we meandered down the coast road to Traverse City, true Hemingway country, where I luxuriated at the Resort and Spa. One of the board members donated the accommodation. The evening at the newly renovated Traverse City Opera House was elegant and well attended. Ernest's nephew James Sanford came with his Marian and several friends from Walloon Lake. They enjoyed themselves immensely.

The crowning glory was the final night of my tour in Saginaw. Dr. Sam Shaheen and his lovely wife Patricia, were my hosts at the Ramada Inn. Patty was the grand organizer of the Hemingway evening held at the Shaheen's newly restored Temple Theatre. After my talk, I presented the essay and short story finalists their prizes on stage. In a bar scene with live music playing 1950s hits, 26 Hemingway "look-alikes" competed for the coveted title. The winner, # 18, is off to Key West in July to further his career. A reception followed while I signed my book till my hand ached. I signed an average of seventy-five books at each venue, along with cards, posters, coasters, tee shirts and whatever else was presented.

What a fine time! What great people! Michigan is certainly a reading place. And Ernest Hemingway is one of their favorite authors.

Saturday, May 3, 2008

Home safely from 2008 Great Michigan Read

I made it back, safe and sound, from a busy but very satisfying tour. I had a great time: the people running the show were great, my driver / companion was a delight to be with in addition to being organized and able to get me to my destinations on time and relaxed. The audiences were attentive, the venues were excellent.

All in all, I have to say that Michigan was lovely, the people were nice and I can see why Ernest always had such affection for the place.

Thursday, May 1, 2008

Article in, 4/30/08

Here is another article from; this one is about the end of my tour and featured a Hemingway Look-a-like competition (!)