"There is nothing to writing. All you do is sit down at a typewriter and bleed."

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Ernest Hemingway (July 21, 1899—July 2, 1961) was an American author and journalist. He is perhaps best known for his novel The Old Man and the Sea (1951), but wrote several other novels that have became a major part of the American literary canon. He won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1954.

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Hemingway was born in Cicero, Illinois to Clarence and Grace Hemingway. The family also spent a lot of time at their cabin in northern Michigan, which is where Hemingway came to appreciate the outdoors.

In high school, Hemingway covered sports for his school newspaper. He then went on to work for the Kansas City Star, where he learned the concise writing style that he became known for as a novelist. He is quoted as saying, "On the Star you were forced to learn to write a simple declarative sentence. This is useful to anyone. Newspaper work will not harm a young writer and could help him if he gets out of it in time."

In 1918 during World War I, Hemingway signed on as an ambulance driver in Italy. Injuries landed him in a Milan hospital, where he met nurse Agnes von Kurowsky. She accepted a marriage proposal from Hemingway, but later left him for another man. This experience became the foundation for "A Very Short Story," and later A Farewell to Arms.

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While spending time at home recuperating from his injuries, Hemingway took trips into northern Michigan to find solitude. These trips became fodder for the short story "Big Two-Hearted River."

Soon, Hemingway met Hadley Richardson, who was to become his first wife. They moved to Paris, and Hemingway worked as a foreign correspondent for the Toronto Star. While in Paris, he met many of the famous artists and thinkers that have come to be associated with that era— F. Scott Fitzgerald, Ezra Pound, Pablo Picasso and James Joyce. He also frequently traveled to Pamplona, Spain during this period.

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In 1925, Hemingway took the trip that would become the basis for the novel The Sun Also Rises. The book became a symbol for the pervading disillusionment in post-war expatriate communities.

Not long after the publication of The Sun Also Rises, Hadley and Heminway divorced partly as a result of an affair that Hemingway had with Pauline Pfeiffer. The two had a son and settled in Key West, Florida, taking their summers in Wyoming. During this time, Hemingway completed his novel A Farewell to Arms, solidifying his stature as one of America's greatest writers.

Hemingway later reported on the Spanish Civil War and in 1937, met fellow war correspondent Martha Gellhorn. Soon after, Hemingway divorced Pfeiffer and married Gellhorn. During this period, he also gathered material for his novel For Whom the Bell Tolls, which was later nominated for a Pulitzer Prize.

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After serving as a war correspondent during World War II and divorcing and remarrying yet again, Hemingway wrote The Old Man and the Sea in 1951. The novel went on to win a Pulitzer Prize.

In 1954, Hemingway was awarded the Nobel Prize in literature.

Always an adventurer, even during his later years, he traveled to Africa and survived multiple plane crashes. He then wrote a memoir of his time in Paris, A Moveable Feast, and retired to Idaho. After being treated for several conditions including high blood pressure and depression, he committed suicide in 1961.

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Additional Info

  • Birthday Date: Monday, 21 July 2014
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