The Minister spoke to the press regarding the number of U.S. scholars who attend each edition of the event and how their interest in the life of the winner of the Nobel Prize for Literature also brings them closer to the social and cultural life of the island.
What made Hemingway fall in love with our country, he noted, were the characteristics of the people, as “he was an enemy of formalities and here he found a suitable setting for his work, without the usual protocol of other big capitals. This spontaneity is multiplied in the cultural level of our people, in the way that they appreciate the arts in general and literature in particular.”
He highlighted the role of Hemingway as a bridge between two cultures, “today more than ever because once Americans are able to travel to Cuba freely, a great incentive will be to discover what it was the writer found here, what he saw in our people that made him established himself here and take to Cuba as a second home.”
The opening day of the conference began with a tribute to René Villareal, Hemingway’s butler at his Finca Vigía home, and who the bestselling author called his Cuban son.
Villareal was the confidant of the famed writer for 14 years, but their relationship dated from his childhood, when in 1939 the Pulitzer Prize winner rented the property because in it he found the peace to write.
The tribute was followed by the presentation of the book, The Last Lion, by Argentine Professor Richard Koon, which in six parts takes a journey through the life of the remarkable writer from his childhood in Illinois until his death in Idaho.
Koon noted that the research for the book had taken some four decades and it brought together the testimonies of people who in various ways were linked to the life and work of Hemingway, including the Catalan artist Joan Miró and the writer Rafael Alberti.
The program for the coming days of the event, which ends Sunday, includes celebrations for the 80th anniversary of the first edition of Green Hills of Africa, and the 90th anniversary of the publication of his book of short stories In Our Time.
A panel entitled, Hemingway and Martha Gellhorn: In love and war, led by Professor Sandra Spanier, University of Pennsylvania, and the book launch of Hemingway: the unknown, by Cuban Enrique Cirules, will also feature.
Fotos con pies y créditos:
Ricardo Koon, author of the book The Last Lion. Photo: Padrón, Abel