Ernest Hemingway


Hemingway old and young: Standing beside a portrait at his Cuban home, c.1953.

Born on 21st July, 1899, in Cicero, Illinois, Ernest Hemingway was one of the most significant American authors of the Twentieth century.

While he was at high school, Hemingway worked on his school newspaper, Trapeze and Tabula, and after graduation, determined to be a successful journalist, he went to work for the Kansas City newspaper.

In 1918, Hemingway served in World War I as an ambulance driver in the Italian Army. He was awarded the Italian Silver Medal of Bravery after sustaining some serious injuries. While he was in hospital in Milan, he met and quickly married a nurse named Agnes von Kurowsky. However, not long afterwards she left him for another man. His devastation at her deceit provided the impetus for the first of his most respected work, including A Very Short Story and later, A Farewell to Arms.
Although he was still injured and mentally scarred from his wartime experiences, Hemingway, at the age of 20, took a job at the Toronto Star. He became their foreign correspondent and moved to Paris. While reporting on the Spanish Civil War in 1937, Hemingway gathered material for his next novel, For Whom the Bell Tolls. Later, when the United States entered World War II in 1941, Hemingway continued to work as a journalist, and witnessed the D-Day landing.

In 1951, Hemingway wrote The Old Man and the Sea, his most famous book, which went on to win the Pulitzer Prize and, in 1954, he then won the Nobel Prize in Literature. By this time he was struggling hard to cope with the depression he’d suffered after his time in the war, and his old injuries were beginning to make him seriously ill. He wrote his last work, A Moveable Feast, a memoir of his years in Paris, before retiring to Idaho.

On July 2nd, 1961, Ernest Hemingway lost his battle with depression, and committed suicide in his Ketchum home. Ernest Hemingway left a cool body of work that will forever ensure his place in the greatest of American novelists.

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Dr Kathryn Bates is a graduate of archaeology and history. She has excavated across the world as an archaeologist, and tutored medieval history at Leicester University. She joined the administrative team at Oxford Open Learning twelve years ago. Alongside her distance learning work, Dr Bates is a bestselling novelist, and an itinerant creative writing tutor for primary school children.

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