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Hemingway in Italy: Richard Owen in dialogue with Ian Thomson
Thu 15 June 2017, 19:00 – 21:00 BST
Hemingway is most often associated with Spain, Cuba and Florida, but Italy was equally important in his life and work. This book tells how, throughout his life, Hemingway visited Sicily, Genoa, Rapallo, Cortina in the Italian Alps, but most of all loved Venice and the Veneto. He first visited during the First World War (the background to A Farewell to Arms) and later after the Second World War (Across the River and Into the Trees). When Men Without Women was published some reviewers said he was fundamentally a reporter preoccupied with bull fighters, bruisers, touts, gunmen, soldiers, prostitutes, hard drinkers and dope fiends, but he also wrote sensitively and passionately about love and loss against an Italian backdrop. He returned to the country again and again, the landscape and people he met inspiring some of his most famous work. The fifteenth century Ca' Erizzo at Bassano del Grappa, where the American Red Cross ambulances were based, is now a museum devoted to Hemingway and the First World War.
Taking inspiration from his most recent book, Hemingway in Italy, Richard Owen will discuss with Ian Thomson about how Italy belongs as a key influence on Hemingway’s writing, and why the Italians themselves took Hemingway and his writing to heart.
Richard Owen was the Rome correspondent of the Times for 15 years. He was previously the paper’s correspondent in Moscow, Brussels and Jerusalem, and also served as Foreign Editor. Owen has written several works of non-fiction including Crisis in the Kremlin: Soviet Succession and the Rise of Gorbachov, Letter from Moscow and Lady Chatterley’s Villa: DH Lawrence on the Italian Riviera.
Ian Thomson is an award-winning biographer, reporter, translator and literary critic. He has translated the Sicilian crime writer Leonardo Sciascia, Death of an Inquisitor and Other Stories (Harvill, 1990) and in 2002 he was awarded the Royal Society of Literature’s W.H.Heinemann prize for Primo Levi: A Life (Hutchinson, 2002). He writes for a variety of newspapers and journals, including the Observer, Spectator, Guardian, Financial Times, Times Literary Supplement, London Review of Books.