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Author of Running with the Bulls
A chance encounter in Spain in 1959 brought young Irish reporter Valerie Danby-Smith face to face with Ernest Hemingway. The interview was awkward and brief, but before it ended something had clicked into place. For the next two years, she devoted her life to Hemingway and his wife, Mary, traveling with them through beloved old haunts in Spain and France and living with them during the tumultuous final months in Cuba. Read More >
Hemingway has evoked the magic and the pathos of Papa Hemingway’s last years in Running with the Bulls, published by Ballantine Books in 2006. The account of what she enjoyed, and what she endured, during her astonishing years of living as a Hemingway, Running with the Bulls fully captures the mystique of one of our greatest authors.
As his secretary in Spain, France, and Cuba, after the author's death Hemingway worked for the Hemingway Estate in Cuba, Key West, Ketchum, and New York—gathering all of the author’s papers and organizing them for presentation to the Kennedy Library.
She came by the Hemingway name by marrying—and later divorcing—Gregory, his youngest son. For two decades she 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, Ski Magazine, and Smithsonian Magazine. She is a contributing writer for Distinctly Montana, where her most recent piece from Spring 2012 features her interview with George Keremedjiev, founding director of the American Computer Museum in Bozeman, an extraordinary resource that is associated with the Smithsonian Museum in Washington D.C.
A frequent lecturer on the international circuit, she has appeared in Canada, South America, several European countries, and Israel. She has conducted memoir writing workshops under the auspices of the American Association of University Women.
Hemingway was invited to Medellin, Colombia, under the auspices of the US State Department to give eight days of talks at the Centro Colombo Americano. This was followed by appearances in Málaga and Pamplona, Spain, the latter to mark the 50th anniversary of Ernest Hemingway’s last visit to the town he had put on the international map with his first popular novel The Sun Also Rises (1926).
The 50th anniversary of Ernest Hemingway’s death (by suicide on July 2nd, 1961) prompted a great demand for her talks all over the US with many interviews in US and foreign media, including an interview with the BBC Radio 4 that has been aired a number of times.
Valerie Hemingway was a visiting scholar in the Honors Department of Montana State University, Billings for the Spring 2012 semester.
In May 2012 her memoir, Running with the Bulls: My Years with the Hemingways, was optioned by an Irish film company. Read Less ^
In prose of brilliant clarity and stinging candor, Valerie evokes the magic and the pathos of Papa Hemingway's last years. Swept up in the wild revelry that always exploded around Hemingway, Valerie found herself dancing in the streets of Pamplona, cheering bullfighters at Valencia, careening around hairpin turns in Provence, and savoring the panorama of Paris from her attic room in the Ritz. Read More >
From lunches with Orson Welles to midnight serenades by mysterious troubadours, from a rooftop encounter with Castro to numbing hospital vigils, Valerie Hemingway played an intimate, indispensable role in the lives of two generations of Hemingways. This memoir, by turns luminous, enthralling, and devastating, is the account of what she enjoyed, and what she endured, during her astonishing years of living as a Hemingway." Read Less ^
"Valerie's presentation was absolutely wonderful!! We had a super turnout for the event - 106 people. She received tons of press from our local newspaper as well as the Detroit paper. Her talk was fabulous and she was delightful to work with. I can't thank you and Melissa enough for the opportunity to have her at our library."
"Valerie was absolutely wonderful. Everyone loved her. I can’t say enough about how glad we are that she was at our event!"
"What a truly wonderful memoir. Thank you so much for you insight into the man and his family, and into the events of your own interesting life. Providence had you at the right place at the right time often to become such a vital piece of literary history."
"She was very knowledgeable and endearing. She conveys the sense of "having been there" without aggrandizing her role or even her presence; it inspires the trust of her audience."
"Valerie was fabulous yesterday. We had 500+ people and it was very well received. Few written questions, so she took some ad lib ones and all were well answered. Lots of compliments to me afterwards. What a charming woman. Reading her book, it's clear she has had a more amazing life than she even told about."
"Things went beautifully. Her program was wonderful and she was so gracious when meeting and talking to people that wanted to ask questions and visit with her. It was the perfect way to end the season."
"Our event with Valerie was INCREDIBLE. She was fabulous -- gracious, charming, endearing -- and our Library supporters loved her. I have heard rave reviews from everyone. Her unique perspective into the life of Ernest Hemingway was beautifully presented. I can't thank you enough. She made our first fundraiser a memorable one, indeed!"
"I am still hearing rave reviews whenever I see someone who was at your presentation! You delighted the attendees with your beautiful stories about your fascinating life. The event proved to be just what the committee had hoped for and we have you to thank for that!!"
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