Lorian Hemingway

Major Works

  • A World Turned Over: A Killer Tornado and the Lives It Changed Forever  (non-fiction) (2002)
  • Walk on Water: A Memoir (1998) non-fiction
  • Walking into the River: A Novel (1992)

Biography of Lorian Hemingway

Walk on Water, a memoir by Lorian Hemingway

Walk on Water, a memoir by Lorian Hemingway

Lorian Hemingway is the granddaughter of Ernest Hemingway. She lived in the Florida Keys, the setting for her memoir, Walk on Water.  This autobiography was published by Simon and Schuster, who also published her first novel Walking Into the River.  The novel is the story of Eva and depicts a “woman’s tragic surrender into the family cycle of alcoholism and her courage to prevail.”   Like the main character Eva, Lorian Hemingway had a drunken mother and an abusive stepfather.  Her Aunt Freda was the family member to whom she was the closest. Hemingway describes herself as a “dark child.”  Her parents divorced when she was six. A rebellious teenager, she ran away and contacted her father, Gregory, who was Ernest Hemingway’s youngest son.  He suffered severe depression,  and, as she discovered,`liked to dress in women’s clothes.”

By early adulthood, Hemingway herself had been in jail, had been raped, spent time in drug rehab, sold drugs, and stolen cars.  She married and had a child in the 1970s, but drinking and her obsession with fishing continued.  Deep-sea fishing became a  passion, and in 1980 she founded a tournament in Key West. A “bombastic, conscience-free, ego-driven alcoholic,” she fished the Big Two-Hearted River on assignment for a magazine, but her drinking nearly ruined the trip.  Hemingway tells at the end of her memoir of her stay in an alcohol treatment center in January, 1988, and her joy at finally “being free” of the addiction.

Her newest work of non-fiction, A World Turned Over: A Killer Tornado and the Lives It Changed Forever, depicts the tornado which in 1966 struck the Candlestick Shopping Center in South Jackson, Mississippi, near where Hemingway had been living as a child.  The storm flattened buildings and killed fourteen people. Hemingway’s  family had just moved away from a house across the road from the shopping center, so Hemingway, a child at the time, missed the disaster. However, all her life she has remembered  the storm, and in 2000,  she went back to learn about it from childhood friends who were there. She tells the story  first in her own words and then in the words of the survivors whom she had interviewed.

Lorian Hemingway is also the director of the Lorian Hemingway Short Story Contest which she founded in 1981. The Lorian Hemingway Short Story Competition is open internationally to unpublished authors and offers a first prize of $1,000, as well as a second and third prize of $500 each.She has written for publications such as Rolling Stone, the New York Times Magazine, The Seattle Times, and The Chicago Tribune. She now lives in Seattle, Washington.

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