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Michigan Hemingway Society Conference Focuses on Author’s Return Home from World War I in 1918

Activities scheduled for October 5-7 in Historic Bay View & Petoskey

(PETOSKEY, Mich)—The Michigan Hemingway Society is once again hosting its annual literary and history conference, October 5-7 at The Terrace Inn in the Northern Michigan Chautauqua community of Bay View. The theme for this year’s conference is “Hemingway and WWI” as 2018 is the centennial of his return home from Europe where he was wounded on the delta of the Piave River in Italy and then hospitalized in Milan.

Dr. Verna Kale, Assistant Research Professor in English at the Pennsylvania State University, is this year’s Keynote Speaker. She will address the group Saturday evening on “Changing Landscapes: Hemingway, Michigan, and the Great War.” Dr Kale is an Associate Editor of the Cambridge edition of The Letters of Ernest Hemingway. She has also published a critical biography, Ernest Hemingway, and serves on the board of directors of the Hemingway Society, the advisory board of the Hemingway Review, and is a co-administrator of the Hemingway Society Facebook page.

The conference will open on Friday, October 5 with a reception, followed by welcome remarks from MHS President Chris Struble and a kick-off program featuring John Cohassey, historian and author of Hemingway and Pound: A Most Unlikely Friendship (as well as several other books and articles).

John will share his latest research and conclusions on an important aspect of Hemingway’s background in his paper entitled “Distant Guns, Remembered Words: Hemingway and the American Civil War.” He will explore the fascinating path of influence from one major war to the next, in which young Hemingway would feel compelled to participate.

Saturday’s breakfast will be followed by a panel discussion on “Michigan as Rehabilitation,” focusing on Hemingway’s reasons for returning “Up North” to recover from his wounds, both physical and mental.

Lunch will be offered (but not included in the registration fee) at The Terrace Inn or at locations in and around the Petoskey area, depending upon attendee’s choice of afternoon activities, including:

  • Tours of Bay View featuring WWI memorabilia;
  • George Colburn’s documentary Young Hemingway & His Enduring Eden;
  • Self-guided tours of the historic Hemingway plaques in Petoskey, especially the new statue of young Hemingway;
  • Self-guided driving tours to Horton’s Bay, Greensky Church, etc.

A special reception for attendees only will be offered mid-after Saturday at Smiles Cottage in Bay View, hosted by Tracy Datlin and family. “Smiles” was a world-famous song credited with boosting morale in the Great War. Composted by Lee Roberts and lyricist J Will Callahan of Bay View, it sold over 5 million copies.

Saturday evening’s banquet will be preceded by a presentation of the newest historic Hemingway Tour plaques, followed by Dr. Kale’s keynote address.

After Sunday’s breakfast, the Society will host its annual general membership meeting and offer reports from the board of directors. A new and fun event will be a rousing game of “Hemingway Jeopardy,” hosted by Susan Lightcap and Diane Fox.

Plans are being finalized for Sunday afternoon outing to Pigeon River Forest (no extra charge and open to the public). A return visit is in order, as the CCC building there has recently been saved from the bulldozer and made into a Hemingway history center. Previously the director’s residence, the building now houses a Hemingway exhibit along with themed rooms depicting the history of lumbering in the area. Participants will be asked to bring Hemingway-related books they can donate to help stock the shelves there. Pigeon River is also one of the new Historic Hemingway Plaque locations. It should also be noted that this is the 100th anniversary of the re-introduction of elk to this area of Michigan, something surely Hemingway would have been proud to support.

The cost to attend the conference is $180 per person for members and $220 per person for non-members. If you join the Society now, your conference fee will be reduced by $40 per person. Register online here: 2018 Michigan Hemingway Conference.

Reservations for The Terrace Inn must be made by calling 231-347-2410 or emailing and mentioning the Michigan Hemingway Society conference. Rates range from $129 to $189 (plus 5% hotel tax), with a special discounted rate of $99 on the Thursday night prior and/or the Sunday night following the conference. The room block rate at this 38-room historic boutique inn extends until September 27. (PLEASE NOTE: BECAUSE THE GUEST ROOMS ARE CURRENTLY RESERVED AS PART OF THE CONFERENCE BLOCK, ONLINE AVAILABILITY WILL SHOW AS FULL…PLEASE CALL OR EMAIL FOR RESERVATIONS).

Founded on the shores of Lake Michigan in 1875, Bay View has maintained its historic buildings, homes and charm. Hemingway was very familiar with this community when he lived in Petoskey for that last time. Throughout the weekend, attendees will tour some of the old Victorian buildings and cottages, exploring their architecture and learn the detailed history of the community.

Membership in the Michigan Hemingway Society is $20 per calendar year for an individual, $30 for a family (two adults at the same address) or $10 for students. Benefits include a reduced fee for the annual MHS weekend conference, a printed copy of the MHS newsletter and periodic email updates of MHS news.

The Michigan Hemingway Society has been active since 1983 and was incorporated officially as a non-profit organization in 1993. Made up of university professors, writers, high school teachers, fly fishers, journalists and all kinds of other people who are interested in exploring the life and body of literature created by this Nobel prize-winning author, The Michigan Hemingway Society’s group volunteer energies have been focused ad hoc, on such events as its annual Hemingway weekend, the membership newsletter and maintaining the organization’s website and Facebook page.