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February 27, 2014 9:57 am

A literary lion, close-up

Valerie Hemingway (right) will be in Powell and Cody March 4-5 to talk about her famous father-in-law (left) and her memoir, ‘Running with the Bulls: My Years with the Hemingways.’ She was married 21 years to Ernest Hemingway’s youngest son, Gregory. Valerie Hemingway (right) will be in Powell and Cody March 4-5 to talk about her famous father-in-law (left) and her memoir, ‘Running with the Bulls: My Years with the Hemingways.’ She was married 21 years to Ernest Hemingway’s youngest son, Gregory. Courtesy photo

Daughter-in-law of Ernest Hemingway to speak, promote book in Powell, Cody

Valerie Hemingway heard the final roars of a famed literary lion, and has been dealing with the echoes of that for more than half a century.

Hemingway will share her insights on author Ernest Hemingway and sign copies of her memoir in Powell and Cody on Tuesday and Wednesday. She married one of the famed writer’s sons after Ernest Hemingway committed suicide.

As a featured author for the Northwest College Writers Series, Hemingway, 72, will give a 7:30 p.m. reading on Tuesday from her 2004 memoir, “Running with the Bulls: My Years with the Hemingways” in NWC’s Hinckley Library. Admission is free. Books will be available for purchase and signing.

In Cody, she’ll participate in a 7:30 p.m. reception at the Chamberlin Inn Wednesday. Ernest Hemingway stayed at the Chamberlin Hotel in 1932; the guest register still bears his name. During his stay there, he completed and mailed the manuscript for “Death in the Afternoon,” fished the Clark’s Fork River and frequented the Irma Hotel bar.

Tickets to the reception are $50 apiece and will be used to defray the cost of the NWC humanities field studies trip to Paris in May. They can be purchased by calling 754-6120 or This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .

Marrying a Hemmingway

Following the author’s death in 1961, she worked for the Hemingway estate in Cuba, Key West, Ketchum and New York — gathering and organizing all the author’s papers for presentation to the Kennedy Library.

She came by the Hemingway name by marrying — and divorcing 21 years later — Gregory, Ernest’s youngest son, who wrote a best-selling book in 1974 titled “Papa: A Personal Memoir.” Like his father Gregory Hemingway, would marry four times.

He had a distant relationship with his father for most of his life, would cross-dress at times and was known to steal his wife’s clothing when upset. After the couple, who had four children, divorced, he had gender reassignment surgery and sometimes used the name Gloria. He died in 2001.

Valerie Hemingway has taken her experiences with the Hemingway family and crafted this memoir. She is in demand as a speaker, has traveled to almost every state and extensively on the international lecture circuit. This spring alone, in addition to Park County, she will also be speaking in Montana, Pennsylvania, New York, Louisiana and Venice, Italy.

“Valerie’s memoir is a great story of a young journalist from the perspective of a woman establishing a career during that time,” Michael Konsmo, English instructor and NWC Writers Series director, said. “Her story is every bit as unique as her connection to Ernest.”

This observation is backed up by author and explorer David Quammen’s critic of her memoir: “This is a startling, complicated book … told by a woman with a wonderful voice of her own.”

Insight into the influence and impact that shaped Hemingway’s voice can be found on the memoir’s jacket: “In name a personal secretary, but in reality a confidante and sharer of the great man’s secrets and sorrows, Valerie literally came of age in the company of one of the greatest literary lions of the 20th century.”

The late Norman Mailer contributed to the book’s criticism with “(It) is one of the best books on Hemingway that I have read, and it has material to be found nowhere else on Ernest, Mary and Greg Hemingway.”

For two decades, Valerie Hemingway worked in publishing and public relations in New York City, including two years as a fiction reviewer for Publishers Weekly. Her articles have appeared in Saturday Review, The New York Times and Smithsonian magazine. She lives in Bozeman, Mont., and is a contributing writer for Distinctly Montana.

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