Hemingway Conference at Santa Fe College July 20-22, 2017

Hemingway Conference at Santa Fe College July 20-22, 2017


“There was a long white beach with coconut palms behind it. The reef lay across the entrance to the harbor and the heavy east wind made the sea break on it so that the entrance was easy to see once you had opened it up. There was no one on the beach and the sand was so white that it hurt his eyes to look at it.”

That tropical scene from his book “Islands in the Stream” is one that would have been familiar to the Nobel Prize-winning American author, Ernest Hemingway. From the 1930s to 1960, Hemingway lived and worked in Key West and in Cuba, writing short stories, the novel “For Whom the Bell Tolls,” and drawing inspiration from both places for three of his best-known books, “To Have and Have Not,” “The Old Man and the Sea” and “Islands in the Stream.”

Santa Fe College is recognizing the significance of Hemingway’s years in those two locations by inviting Hemingway scholars and experts to gather in Gainesville for a three-day conference on “Hemingway:  Between Key West and Cuba.” The conference-which coincides with the 80th anniversary of the publication of “To Have and Have Not” and includes a celebration of Hemingway’s birthday will be held July 20-22, 2017, at the Northwest Campus. Conference presenters will explore Hemingway’s life on both islands and the numerous books and short stories he authored while living in the tropics.

“The unique thing about this conference is the focus on Key West and Cuba,” said SF Cultural Programs Coordinator Raul Villarreal, who is co-directing the conference with SF Associate Vice President for Advancement Michael Curry. “The Hemingway Society is considering having its conference in Cuba for the first time in 2020 and we hope the conference here in Gainesville can help pave the way for that to happen.” Founded in 1980 by a group of Hemingway scholars, the Hemingway Society administers the Hemingway Foundation and works to advance studies of the author’s works through publications, biennial conferences and scholarships.

Speakers from the USA and Cuba who have been invited to participate in “Hemingway:  Between Key West and Cuba” include:

  • Valerie Hemingway, Ernest Hemingway’s secretary from 1959 to 1960 and author of “Running With the Bulls:  My Years With the Hemingways.”
  • Dr. Larry Grimes, Professor Emeritus of English at Bethany College, West Virginia, a founding member of the Hemingway Society and author of “Hemingway, Cuba, and the Cuban Works.”
  • Dr. Sandra Spanier, professor of English at Pennsylvania State University and general editor of the Hemingway Letters Project.
  • Gladys Rodriguez Ferrero, former director of the Hemingway Museum in Havana, an expert on Hemingway’s life in Cuba.
  • Lisa Sisler, coordinator of college composition and English-writing lecturer at Kean University in New Jersey, a family member of Dick Sisler who is mentioned in “The Old Man and the Sea.”
  • Kirk Curnutt, professor and chairman of the English Department at Troy University’s Montgomery Campus in Alabama, author of three books about Hemingway including “Ernest Hemingway and the Expatriate Modernist Movement.”
  • Nicholas Reynolds, author of “Writer, Sailor, Soldier, Spy: Ernest Hemingway’s Secret Adventures, 1935-1961.”

Santa Fe College and UF students, faculty and staff can attend the panels for free by registering before July 14. To register please call 352-395-5355 or e-mail

The full registration fee of $125 includes access to all panels, the special planetarium presentation, Hemingway’s birthday celebration, Valerie Hemingway’s presentation and the closing reception. The $75 attendee fee includes access to the panels, Valerie Hemingway’s presentation and the closing reception. Space at the conference venues is limited, so we encourage people to sign up as soon as possible.

For more information and registration, visit the conference website at:

You may also email Raul Villarreal at or 352-395-5355.