“There are two places I love: Africa and Wyoming” – Ernest Hemingway
The great 20th century writing Ernest Hemingway had many connections to Wyoming. He completed his novel A Farewell to Arms at Spear-O-Wigwam, the Spear Family Ranch near Sheridan, in 1928, and would use his interactions with Sheridan residents for his short story “Wine of Wyoming.” He spent time at the L Bar T Ranch near Cody, working on his book Death in the Afternoon in 1930 and then To Have and Have Not in 1936. Hemingway and Martha Gellhorn married at the Union Pacific Railroad Depot in Cheyenne in 1940. He maintained a strong friendship with the Coopers (of the Laramie American Studies Cooper House). Through all his stays in Wyoming, Hemingway took advantage of the state’s fishing and hunting, leading to Hemingway-related newspaper headlines such as “Damn You…So Let’s Go Fishing” and “Burn Horse for Bait.”
In conjunction with Sheridan College and Wyoming Humanities’ multi-year National Endowment for the Humanities grant—“Creating Humanities Communities along the Hemingway Highway”—the Wyoming State Library and Wyoming Humanities have selected Hemingway’s first short story collection In Our Time (1925) as 2019’s One Book Wyoming.
This collection connects to a number of different topics—World War I, fatherhood and family, war’s impact on soldiers, humans’ relationship with nature—which will allow libraries to tailor discussions to their communities’ interests.
Wyoming Humanities will provide funds for libraries who wish to use a discussion leader. Click here to access the online application for funds. (Please note: while this is not a grant, the application uses the same online system as Wyoming Humanities’ grant applications. If a library has not created an account on that system, they will be required to do so in order before they can complete the request for funds.)
Also be sure to check out these Hemingway resources:
- WyomingHistory.org’s “Ernest Hemingway in Wyoming”
- UW Professor Caskey Russell’s Saturday University Talk “‘It’s a Good Country’: Ernest Hemingway’s Hunting and Fishing in Wyoming”
- UW Professor Jeanne Holland’s Saturday University Talk “Ernest Hemingway: Style and Substance”
- UW Professor Joy Landeira’s Saturday University Talk “Dodging Bulls and Bullets: Ernest Hemingway in Spain”
- Wyoming Reads, coordinated with the Wyoming State Library and Wyoming Travel and Tourism, will relaunch the Wyoming Reads Program to raise awareness of Hemingway’s literary contribution while working in the state. This statewide common read program celebrates the 90th anniversary of A Farewell to Arms (which was completed in the Bighorn Mountains in 1928 and published in 1929)
- Hemingway Highways Tour, created using TravelStoryGPS app, will feature sites where Hemingway lived and worked throughout the state. In addition to A Farewell to Arms, significant works in the Hemingway canon including Death in the Afternoon, have ties to Wyoming. This itinerary of 1,700 miles will be promoted to Wyoming visitors as a way to experience the diverse physical and cultural landscapes of the state.
WriterSymposiums/Workshops featuring PEN/Hemingway writers and other writers associated with the legacy of Hemingway (such as Casper native, CJ Box) will have multiple events in libraries, colleges, high schools and in remote locations (where Hemingway did most of his writing). Iraqi war veteran Kevin Powers, award-winning author of The Yellow Birds will conduct events in the Sheridan area prior to September.
- Exhibitions will take several different approaches to Hemingway’s legacy. The Ernest Hemingway Oak Park Foundation has agreed to loan their traveling exhibit to Wyoming during the grant period. The exhibit emphasizes A Farewell to Arms and Hemingway’s service as an ambulance driver in WWI. This WWI focus gives us the opportunity to establish the broader context of Hemingway’s work during the 100th anniversary of the end of the Great War. One exhibit will feature artists who interpret Hemingway’s works through their work (paintings, sculpture or other media). Another exhibit will emphasize Hemingway’s Wyoming connections. Our goal is to have at least 2 exhibits travel to 6-8 communities.
- Community Forums, principally run by Saturday U, will feature an interdisciplinary emphasis to extend themes in Hemingway’s work to broader cultural discussions. Another potential forum includes speakers (along with a preview) from the Florentine Films production team (Ken Burns documentary film company) associated with the multi-part Hemingway documentary set to be released in 2020.
PerformingArts will emphasize an interdisciplinary engagement with Hemingway’s legacy. Original music interpretations (such as a proposed operatic interpretation of The Old Man and the Sea by an SC music instructor), as well as theatrical performances (such as Carol Hemingway’s Hemingway on Stage), will be performed in conjunction with other events