Friday, December 19, 2008

Book Group

There is something satisfying about discussing books with congenial fellow book lovers, so even though I am perennially pressed for time, I will leading a discussion for a local public book group on Jan 17, 2009. Details can be found here.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Photos from 4/24/08, Grand Rapids

I've been having some computer troubles and so have only now gotten around to posting these photos from my appearance in Grand Rapids as part of the Great Michigan Read.

This photo is of myself and Mike Ross. Click on the image to see it full-sized.

This one is of me in action at the lectern. Click on the image to see it full-sized.

Saturday, November 1, 2008

A Night to Remember Promo

From the Canton Repository, Canton Ohio: (full text is here)

"An Evening to Remember: A Hemingway Comes to Canton," Stark County District Library Foundation's fundraising event, will be Nov. 8 at Brookside Country Club.

Valerie Hemingway, author of "Running with the Bulls," will share stories of her life with the Hemingways. The event will begin at 6:30 p.m. with hors d'oeuvres, music by Michael Curtis, and a silent auction.

After Hemingway presents her memoir, there will be a book signing and desserts. Cost is $50 per person. Contact Mark Guyer at (330) 458-2758 or Deadline is Tuesday.

For two years after a chance meeting with Ernest Hemingway in Spain in 1959, young Irish reporter Valerie Danby-Smith traveled with Hemingway and his wife, Mary, through Spain and France.

She came by the Hemingway name by marrying Earnest's son, Greg.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Appearance in Petoskey, MI Oct 24 at 7:30pm

From the Petoskey News-Review:

Hemingway weekend — The Michigan Hemingway Society will hold the 19th annual Ernest Hemingway weekend Friday through Sunday, Oct. 24-26. Valerie Hemingway, the author’s former secretary, will describe her experiences with the Hemingway family. The historic Stafford’s Perry Hotel in Petoskey’s Gaslight District is the conference headquarters. Other activities include tours with historical reenactments, story discussions, talks on Ernest’s boating and on collecting rare books.Those interested in registration or additional information about the conference may call (231) 347-0117 or visit the Society’s Web site at

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Mention in IHT Article

There is a nice article in the IHT today, in which I have a brief quotation. The full text can be found here; my quotation is reproduced below.

"Originally, I think they came over to steal the mangoes," said Valerie Hemingway, who worked as Hemingway's assistant from 1959 until his death in 1961 and later married Gregory. "Instead of shooing them away, Ernest found things for them to do. Feed the cats, pick up the mail and give them a few pennies. And when he knew Greg and Pat were coming, he started a baseball team."

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Fringe Festival, Edinburgh Scotland

I was part of the Fringe Festival this year in Edinburgh.

I was unable to find time to blog about this myself, so I will cheat and refer you to press coverage of this event.

Here is a link to coverage from the (though they mispelled "Hemingway"). You will find the Guardian's on-line coverage here.

This is a quotation the Reuters article on my appearance at the Fringe Festival in Edinburgh, Scotland:

Decades later, Valerie Hemingway brought her memories of daiquiris in tropical Cuba and bullfights in Spain to rainy Edinburgh, Scotland's capital.

She teamed up with Scottish director Toby Gough and a Cuban music and dance group to recreate the Havana of the 1950s in a stage production called "Hemingway's Havana" as part of last week's Fringe Festival.

"Hemingway loved Cuba because it was a place where he could be anonymous," she said in an interview with Reuters.

The full text can be found here.

This is a quotation from the Times On-line about the same event:

Surrounded by gorgeous dancers and musicians from Cuba, and dressed in a glamorous beaded frock, La Hemingway is a handy raconteur who offers a tantalising taste of Cuba at that perfect moment.

The full text can found here.

There was also some coverage in an on-line publication called The List:

Hemingway spent 20 years in Havana and this well-intentioned recreation of his favourite hangout, the Floridita bar, provides a reason for his one-time secretary and daughter-in-law, Valerie Hemingway, to be the star of the show. Live on stage, she diligently delivers reminisces of Cuba and Hemingway but you can't help longing for a native Cuban to give some insight into their country and heritage.

The full text can found here.

Monday, August 18, 2008

MSU President's Lecture

I am honored to be asked to give the President's Lecture this year at my alma mater, Montana State University.

For details, visit their web site here.

Monday, June 23, 2008

War + Ink

I have been on the road for a few weeks. On May 14th I gave a talk to a packed house at the Plaza Library in Kansas City, Missouri. It was my first visit to that part of the world. I was taken around the offices of the Kansas City Star; the same building, the same newspaper where the 18 year old Ernest Hemingway was a cub reporter -- his first newspaper job, which lasted seven months until he left for Italy to join an ambulance corps in World War I. Hemingway later acknowledged that his writing owed much to what he had learned when he worked for the Star. He cited their style sheet as an excellent writer's guideline.
I spent three weeks in rainy England: London, Oxford, Yorkshire, visiting friends and family. Then, in mid-June I returned to Kansas City to attend the 13th Hemingway Society International Conference. The themes were journalism and World War I. It was titled "War + Ink." Some of the sessions were held at the Liberty Memorial War Museum, a splendid venue.

It is beautiful here in Bozeman. The summer visitors have begun to trickle through. This week friends from Italy and Portsmouth, R.I. appeared. The weather cooperated with beautiful sunshine and nothing but blue skies. As soon as they left, however, the heavens opened and there was an almighty downpour with thunder and lightening for good measure.

Till next time.

Monday, June 9, 2008

Opinion Piece by Patrica Anne Shaheen

Still on vacation, but could not resist a quick update.

Here is an interesting opinion piece by a writer in Michigan which uses one of my talks there as a jumping-off point.

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 (!)

Monday, April 28, 2008

Article in Traverse City Record-Eagle

Another nice write-up for a Great Michigan Read tour is to found here. This is the photo of me that I gave them. © Valerie Hemingway

Friday, April 25, 2008

Article in, 4/25/08

Here is another article written during my Michigan tour.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Write-up of Lansing Talk on 4/24/08

You can find a write-up of my appearance in Lansing here.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

On the Road!

I am off today on my Michigan tour. I hope to keep my blog updated as I go through my itinerary. I will have a driver / companion with me, thank God. I will try to take a few pictures as I go and post them, if I can make all the technology work!

Some day, I hope to be as adept as the Yarn Harlot. Some day.

Friday, April 18, 2008

Pre-Great Michigan Read Write-Up

On April 16th, I received a very nice write up in City pulse, which you can find here.

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Six talks scheduled for The Great Michigan Read

The Great Michigan Read, sponsored by the Michigan Humanities Council, selected Ernest Hemingway's The Nick Adams Stories as their featured book for the year June 2007 to 2008. As part of this year's festivities, I have been asked to give talks in six Michigan cities this month. Here is my schedule:

Lansing 5 p.m. Wednesday April 23rd
Hamtramck 7 p.m. Thursday, April 24th
Grand Rapids, 1 p.m. Saturday April 26th
Marquette, 2 p.m. Sunday April 27th
Traverse City, 7 p.m. Monday April 28th
Saginaw, 6:30 p.m. Tuesday April 29th

Details can be found on the Internet here.

In preparation for these appearances I have given ten interviews, with three more scheduled. The advance publicity has been very gratifying, with wide exposure and much coverage devoted to the events in the local media.

I am continually amazed at the insatiable interest in Ernest Hemingway, both the man and his writings. Michigan is one state that can claim Hemingway as its own. He spent his childhood summers at Walloon Lake (then Bear Lake) and wrote some of his earliest and best short stories about his experiences. To the end of his life he maintained a great affection for Michigan.

I am looking forward to the first trip that will take me outside the Detroit area. I have just reread with great pleasure The Nick Adams Stories, and my friend and former colleague Constance Cappel's Hemingway in Michigan as an aperitif for the Great Michigan Read feast.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Spring Fling - Calendar of Events

Today is the first day of spring, a very good day to update my blog which has been languishing since the deep winter snowy days of February.

March 12th. On my first trip to Dallas I spoke to the Mary Kay Craig Class at the Dallas Women's Club. My talk was on my life's adventures including the years I spent working for Ernest Hemingway and later for the Hemingway literary estate. The audience was most appreciative. A Mexican lunch followed in the charming club building. There have been several communications since asking when I shall return to Dallas.

March 20th. Today's Bozeman Chronicle featured a front page story discussing my recent trip to Israel to attend the Third Princeton Symposium on Ancient Jewish Burial Practices, subtitled, An evaluation of the Talpiot, (or so-called Jesus Family) Tomb in Context. Here is the link

March 29th. My much anticipated 2nd Annual Memoir Writing Workshop sponsored by the AAUW will take place from 9-12 a.m. at Montana State University, Billings. Cost of workshop is $30.00 for members and $50.00 for non members. Last year this workshop was over-subscribed with a long waiting list. We hope to accommodate all budding memoirists this year.

March 30th. University of West Virginia, E Moore Hall, my talk "The Ernest Hemingway I Knew," followed by a reception.

March 31st. University of West Virginia, Visiting speaker at writing class 9:30 a.m. Lunch with English department faculty and grad students 12:00 noon, Visiting speaker at nonfiction class 4:00 p.m. Gathering at Dr. and Mrs. David Fogarty's house 7:00 p.m.

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Tomb Tantrums and Other Musings

I've been traveling since the beginning of the year and am back in Bozeman where the snow is deep and the skiing season in full swing.

I attended a lively and most intriguing Princeton University sponsored symposium in Jerusalem mid January. A select group of scholars, archaeologists and scientists came together to discuss ancient burial practices in the Second Temple Judaism with a view to evaluating the Talpiot tomb in context. Serious scholarly presentation and discussion ensued. Since the Talpiot tomb is also identified by some as "the Jesus Family Tomb" there were predictable angry outbursts, with ruffled feathers and flying fur. The most surprising announcement of the conference came at the final session from Ruth Gat, widow of the archaeologist who first excavated the Talpiot tomb. Ms. Gat's statement left the audience momentarily speechless, then the fires of dissent rekindled until the heat became nearly unbearable. Although no conclusions were drawn, the assembly agreed that more exploration needs to be done and a motion was made to request permission from the Israeli authorities to re-open the tomb. Tune in later.