Hemingway confidante brings author's Havana to life

Wed Aug 27, 2008 3:05pm EDT
Email This Article |
Share This Article
  • Facebook
  • LinkedIn
  • Twitter
| Print This Article | Single Page
[-] Text [+]

By Anna MacSwan

EDINBURGH (Reuters) - She was a teenager from Dublin looking to make her name as a journalist when American author Ernest Hemingway entered her life in 1959.

The young Irishwoman became his secretary and traveling companion, and after his death married his son.

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.

"Somewhere he could live and write without being interfered with and bombarded for autographs."

Valerie's involvement with the family began in Madrid, the city she had moved to in search of a career in journalism. Ernest Hemingway showed up in town and although she had read little of his work, she was sent to interview him.

They hit it off and he invited her to the San Fermin Festival in Pamplona, renowned for its running of the bulls and the setting for his 1926 novel "The Sun Also Rises."   Continued...