HPMEC Hosts Reading Retreat

Thursday, April 13, 2017
Valerie Hemingway (center) and the participants of the Hemingway-Pfeiffer Reading Retreat.(courtesy photo)

Valerie Hemingway served as the guest speaker at a dinner hosted by the Hemingway-Pfeiffer Museum on Saturday night, April 1. During her visit to the region, Hemingway spoke of her time as the private secretary of writer Ernest Hemingway and as the wife of Ernest’s youngest son, Gregory.

'Valerie Hemingway met Ernest by chance in Spain in 1959 and travelled through Europe with him and his wife Mary,” HPMEC director Adam Long explained. “Ernest was working on The Dangerous Summer, which tells of the Spanish bullfighting season of 1959. She later spent time in Cuba with the Hemingways during his final years, when his health had begun to decline.”

Following his death, Mary asked her to organize Ernest’s papers for the John F. Kennedy Library in Boston. She also became a part of the family when she married Gregory.

Valerie told stories from her time with the Hemingways and signed copies of her book Running with the Bulls.

“Valerie has a unique perspective on Hemingway,” Long added. “She knew him personally, and she spent years studying his papers. She shared her perspective graciously and with humor. It was a great evening.”

The dinner was a part of the Hemingway-Pfeiffer Museum’s annual Reading Retreat.

“Participants spent the months leading up to the retreat reading three novels, and then gathered in Piggott on Saturday to discuss the books,” Long explained. “Faculty of A-State served as discussion leaders.”

That evening the reading retreat ended with the dinner, which was open to the public.

HPMEC is an Arkansas State University Heritage Site located at 1021 West Cherry Street in Piggott. Tours are offered on the hour from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Monday through Friday and 1 to 3 p.m. on Saturday. Those wanting additional information may contact the museum at 870 598-3487 or visit them online at http://hemingway.astate.edu/

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