Michigan Hemingway Society

2011 Fall Conference - Oct 14-16



The Michigan Hemingway Society will hold its 22nd annual weekend conference October 14-16, 2011, at the Odawa Hotel in Petoskey. The MHS is thrilled to announce that the keynote speaker this year is Paula McLain, author the New York Times bestseller The Paris Wife. Ms McLain’s presentation will be at 2 pm Saturday October 15th at the Crooked Tree Arts Center (Note Location Change). Admission to hear this noted author is included as part of the conference for attendees, and tickets will also be available to the public for $10. (Contact the Crooked Tree Arts Center at 231-347-4337 or for ticket information.) Ms McLain will be at McLean & Eakin Booksellers after her talk to sign copies of her book.

Friday evening’s program will be based on the theme, “Hemingway’s Waters: Exploring the Depths” and will feature Fred Svoboda explaining the contents of Nick Adams’ backpack as described in Hemingway’s “Big Two Hearted River.” Ken Marek will follow with an overview of the importance of water in Hemingway’s work, concluding with a reflective essay on one of his own fishing trips to the Fox River, which was the area that inspired the “Big Two Hearted River.”

Saturday evening will feature a panel of three outstanding northern Michigan writers, Michael Delp, Anne-Marie Oomen and Aaron Stander, discussing “Water as Inspiration.” These authors have written numerous books, short stories, essays or poems in which the natural world of rivers, lakes, and woodlands is a significant feature.

This year’s conference will also include a writing contest based on the theme, informal tours to local EH sites, and book dealer Steve Ruebelman’s tantalizing collection of Hemingway-related used books.

Those interested in registration or additional information about the conference may contact Nancy Nicholson at 231-347-0117 or email her at

Paula McLain - 2011 Conference Keynote Speaker

Paula McLain We are thrilled to announce that Paula McLain, the author of the best-selling novel The Paris Wife, will be our keynote speaker Saturday afternoon, October 15, at 2 pm at the Crooked Tree Arts Center in Petoskey. (Note Location Change)

Admission to the event is included with conference registration or can be obtained by purchasing a $10 ticket ahead of time at the Crooked Tree Arts Center. The Paris Wife captures a remarkable period of time—Paris in the twenties—and an extraordinary love affair between two unforgettable people: Ernest Hemingway and his wife Hadley.

In Chicago in 1920, Hadley Richardson is a quiet twenty-eight-year-old who has all but given up on love and happiness—until she meets Ernest Hemingway and finds herself captivated by his good looks, intensity, and passionate desire to write. Following a whirlwind courtship and wedding, the pair set sail for Paris, where they become the golden couple in a lively and volatile group of expatriates that includes Gertrude Stein, Ezra Pound, and F. Scott and Zelda Fitzgerald.

But the hard-drinking and fast-living café life does not celebrate traditional notions of family and monogamy. As Hadley struggles with jealousy and self-doubt and Ernest wrestles with his burgeoning writing career, they must confront a deception that could prove the undoing of one of the great romances in literary history.

Paula McLain received an MFA in poetry from the University of Michigan, has taught at Central Michigan University and has been a resident of the artists’ colonies Yaddo and MacDowell.  She is the author of two collections of poetry, as well as a memoir, Like Family, and a first novel, A Ticket to Ride. She lives in Cleveland with her family.

Ms McLain will be signing copies of the book at McLean and Eakin Booksellers (307 East Lane Street, Petoskey) between 3:30 and 5:00 pm on the day of the presentation

Fred Svoboda and Ken Marek - Friday Evening

On Friday evening, October 14, the opening program will feature Fred Svoboda and Ken Marek.

Fred Svoboda Ken Marek Fred Svodoba will begin the festivities by displaying and demonstrating the type of equipment Nick Adams carried on his hiking, camping and fishing trip in the story “Big Two-Hearted River.”

Ken Marek will follow by focusing on the conference theme “Hemingway’s Waters: Exploring the Depths,” offering an overview of the importance of water in Hemingway’s work, with an emphasis on EH’s remarkable ability to draw on his experiences in northern Michigan as he created great fiction. Ken will conclude by reading a reflective essay on one of his many trips to the Fox River near Seney, which was the area that inspired “Big Two-Hearted River.”

Michael Delp, Anne Marie Oomen and Aaron Stander - Michigan Writers Panel

The Saturday evening program of this year’s MHS Conference will feature three outstanding northern Michigan writers, Michael Delp, Anne Marie Oomen and Aaron Stander, in a panel discussion on “Water as Inspiration.” The writers will respond to questions from the moderator, react to each other’s responses, and possibly comment on water as inspiration in Hemingway’s work and/or Hemingway’s influence on their work. Each writer will read a relevant poem or prose passage from his or her work, and the audience will have an opportunity to ask questions at the end of the program. Books by the panelists will be on sale after the program, and the authors will be available to sign books.

Mike Delp is the author of at least six chapbooks (pamphlets) of poetry, and his poetry and prose have appeared in numerous anthologies and publications. Three of his books, Under the Influence of Water: Poems, Essays and Stories, The Coast of Nowhere: Meditations on Rivers, Lakes and Streams, and The Last Good Water: Prose and Poetry, 1988-2003, explore the wonders of lakes, rivers and streams and the importance of protecting these precious resources. Whether he is writing in prose, poetry or some combination thereof, Delp’s writing on water is always lyrical and compelling.

Anne Marie Ooman

Anne Marie Oomen has authored four books, including two memoirs Pulling Down the Barn: Memories of a Rural Childhood, and House of Fields: Memories Of a Rural Education, and an award-winning play Northern Belles. Her collection of poetry, Seasons of the Sleeping Bear, and her recent collection of essays, An American Map, address the importance of water in depth and with beautiful imagery. She also has penned fine essays on water in the anthologies Fresh Water: Women Writing on the Great Lakes, and Michigan: Our Land, Our Water, Our Heritage.

Aaron Stander has published five acclaimed mystery novels which focus on the life and work of Ray Elkins, a northern Michigan sheriff. Four of these novels, Summer People, Color Tour, Deer Season, and Shelf Ice, are set in north-western lower Michigan. Of Color Tour, Doug Stanton, author of New York Times bestseller In Harm’s Way, says, “Stander evokes these north woods and Lake Michigan with a poet’s eye, and the dramas of the human heart with a detective’s wry, unflinching touch.” The natural world of sand dunes, woodlands and Lake Michigan becomes virtually a character in these haunting tales.

Aaron Stander
Tours - Saturday

Saturday morning after breakfast the choices are shopping (always enjoyable in Petoskey’s Gaslight District), or several designated car tours. The different tours will be led by board members and will conclude with lunch at a restaurant in that vicinity. All will return to Petoskey in time for Ms McLain’s keynote presentation. Among the choices will be: a trip to Horton Bay; a sightseeing tour to Walloon Lake; a tour to Greensky Hill Cemetery; a walking tour of EH-connected sites in Petoskey with a visit to the History Museum; and a narrated tour from Petoskey to Cross Village. Sign-up will be at Friday evening’s check-in at the MHS desk at the Odawa. Spaces will be limited.

Writing Contest

Our contest is open to all attending the 2011 MHS Weekend. The weekend theme, “ Hemingway's Waters: Exploring the Depths,” stresses the inspirational nature of the famous author’s interaction with the natural world, reflected in many of his most famous works.

         • Nick Adams wades the “Big Two-Hearted River” in northern Michigan.

         • Santiago the aged Cuban fisherman wages an epic battle with a great marlin in the Gulf Stream in The Old Man and the Sea.

         • Frederic Henry swims the Tagliamento River, escaping the killing fields of the First World War in northern Italy in A Farewell to

         • Jake Barnes and Bill Gorton fish for trout and tell bad jokes in northern Spain in The Sun Also Rises.

         • Colonel Cantwell and Renata kiss (and more!) in a Venetian gondola in Across the River and Into the Trees.

         Your assignment, should you choose to accept it: write an equally memorable short-short story or essay in Hemingway’s style, stressing what you see as a parallel role for water in your piece. Make your piece no longer than two double-spaced pages, 12-point Times New Roman type. Submit it by breakfast on Saturday – no exceptions. Please put your name in the envelope in which you’ve placed your entry – but not on the entry itself. Winners (first, second and third places) will be announced at Sunday breakfast and the winners invited to read their stories. Our excellent prizes are gift certificates to McLean & Eakin Booksellers - $25, $15, and $10. Please note this final important point: your story or essay MUST INCLUDE A FISH!

Used Books Sale

Steve Ruebelman, our excellent friend and seller of used books, will be present as always with tempting offerings. Steve, with his wife and partner Marlene, searches the entire year for rare and interesting items to offer our membership at our annual conferences.  In addition to books by and about Hemingway and his contemporaries, the Ruebelmans bring us an exciting selection of ephemera, art, photography, periodicals, and memorabilia.  They are always willing to share their expertise about identifying our own authentic collectibles and first editions as well.  We look forward to enjoying the results of their knowledgeable gleaning and their generous spirits at each meeting.

Conference Headquarters and Accomodations

Booking the venue for our conference is always challenging. Our attendance numbers preclude some locations, and scheduling costs and conflicts for this popular resort area are other issues that determine our final selection.

The Odawa Hotel will again serve as our conference headquarters in 2011, and is located at 1444 Spring St, Petoskey, MI 49770.
We have been most pleased with the Odawa for their willingness to meet our financial needs, and for their congenial attitude and overall service. Their casino is at a different location. A reminder that room reservations are separate from your conference registration fee.

The Odawa’s room fees have remained the same as last year’s. They are holding a block of 43 rooms and 4 suites from Thursday October 14 to Monday October 18, so you may come early or stay late to enjoy Hemingway country. The rates for the rooms are Sunday thru Thursday $68, Friday and Saturday $77. The rates for the suites are Sunday thru Thursday $98, Friday and Saturday $107. These rates are based on single/double occupancy with a $15 charge for additional adults. The Odawa will hold these rooms at this price until September 14, 2011, one month before the conference begins. To book your room, call 231-347-6041, and ask for the “Hemingway Society 2011 Conference” special conference rate.

If you wish to inquire about other nearby lodging instead please call 800-845-2828 or see on the web.

Click HERE for the 2011 Conference Registration Form

Fall Conference Schedule - October 14-16, 2011

Friday evening:
06:00 pm - Reception at the Odawa with “hearty hors d’oeuvres” and cash bar
08:00 pm - President Mike Federspiel will welcome everyone and announce the program. Fred Svoboda will open with
                   a demonstration of Nick Adam’s backpack, followed by Ken Marek who will focus on the conference theme
                   of “Hemingway’s Waters: Exploring the Depths”.

Saturday morning:
09:00 am - Breakfast at the Odawa - Writing Contest entries due.
10:00 am - Optional tours or free time.

Saturday afternoon:
Lunch on your own.
02:00 pm - 03:00 pm - Paula McLain, author of The Paris Wife presenting at the Crooked Tree Arts Center (Note Location Change).
03:30 pm - 05:00 pm - Book signing by Paula McLain at McLean and Eakin.

Saturday evening:
05:30 pm - Appetizers and cash bar at the Odawa.
06:30 pm - Dinner.
08:00 pm - Panel discussion with Michael Delp, Anne Marie Oomen and Aaron Stander on “Water as Inspiration.”

Sunday morning:
09:00 am - Breakfast at the Odawa.
10:00 am - Contest winners announced and winning entries read.
10:30 am - Information about the 2012 International Hemingway Conference in June.
                   A brief general membership meeting will follow and conclude the conference.

2012 MHS Fall Conference

There will be no MHS Conference in the Fall of 2012. Next June MHS will host the 15th Biennial Hemingway Society Conference in Petoskey-Bay View. We therefore encourage you to attend the MHS Fall Conference in October of this year and then the international Hemingway Society conference in June of 2012 (see

2012 International Hemingway Conference Plans

As all of you must know by now Petoskey and Bay View will be the site of the 15th Biennial Hemingway Society Conference, hosted by the Michigan Hemingway Society. The planning committee and Michigan Hemingway Society board of directors have been working diligently to ensure that we show our guests as much of the Northern Michigan experience as possible.

We are thrilled to be holding our meetings and academic sessions on the campus of the Bay View Association, an intact Victorian Chautauqua community where the Hemingway family members attended various activities. The Hemingway Society has visited many places in the world with connections to Hemingway’s life or to his work, but the participants will never have seen anyplace which is still so much the same as it was during the early part of the 20th Century.

The Victorian ambience, with modern conveniences, can extend to one’s accommodations as well by booking with our partners, The Perry Hotel, The Bay View Inn, or The Terrace Inn, or by renting a cottage on the Bay View grounds. Our friends at the Odawa Hotel are also offering us a conference rate, and there are a few B & B’s in the area, along with all major hotel chains. See the conference web site at or access it through the Hemingway Society page at

While it is too soon for the entire detailed schedule to be complete the major activities have been scheduled. The opening reception will be held at The Perry Hotel on Sunday, June 17, 2012, and afterward everyone will have the opportunity to attend the Bay View Music Festival opening Vespers Concert, a stunning variety program by professional musicians. The city of Petoskey will offer street entertainment and downtown activities on Monday evening to complement the opening of an exhibit and the premiere of a documentary on the history of the Little Traverse Bay area. We will also inaugurate the Hemingway’s Petoskey walking tour based on a ‘trail’ of historic markers and plaques. Our week will provide many tours including one to Horton Bay and a sunset cruise beneath the Mackinac Bridge.

Thanks to the generosity of Mr. Ernest Mainland and the Little Traverse Bay Historical Society, conference attendees will have the opportunity to visit Windemere Cottage. Schedule sign-up sheets will be available during conference registration. Mr. Mainland will also be hosting a benefit reception before the start of our conference as well as auctioning two overnight visits of two nights each at the Cottage Annex. Links for these activities will be available on the conference website .

Other events are still in the planning stages, but there will be something very special offered for the PEN/Hemingway Award fundraiser. The Hemingway Society and Foundation administers the annual PEN/Hemingway Award for the best first book of fiction, an award that is presented at the Kennedy Library in Boston each spring. The Society works closely with the Hemingway collection at the library encouraging excellence in writing, one of the main charters of the organization. The award was founded by Mary Hemingway as a tribute to her husband’s memory and literary legacy. For more information, see the welcome page at

The closing reception and banquet will be on Friday evening at the beautiful Bay Harbor Yacht Club, a very grand facility where Ernest never ate. The Yacht Club is a new Victorian-style structure, but the views of sky and water are those that Hemingway compared to the Bay of Naples. Sunsets seen from there are breathtaking, and an evening of fine food among like-minded friends will be a lovely close to our week in Petoskey and Bay View.

…It does not, however, have to be the close to your Up North experience. On Saturday after the conference ends the Michigan Hemingway Society will offer a tour of Hemingway sites in Michigan's Upper Peninsula. Hemingway fished the Fox River and described it eloquently under the pseudonym “The Big Two-Hearted River.” Visits to that area are magical. Our hotel partners have agreed to extend conference room rates for those wishing to stay over for the tour.

Keep watching the conference web site ( for updates, and remember that even if you are a member of the Michigan Hemingway Society you must be a member of the international Hemingway Society to attend the conference. You might consider joining now if you haven’t, so that you will begin receiving The Hemingway Review magazine and receive mass E-mailings that alert members to updates in scheduling or other changes. Scholars and Hemingway aficionados from all over the world are going to be in Northern Michigan in June, 2012. Plan on being a part of this amazing week!

2012 MHS Tour of Michigan's Upper Peninsula

On Saturday, June 23, the Michigan Hemingway Society will offer an optional post-conference bus tour to Seney, Michigan, and other related Hemingway sites in Michigan's Upper Peninsula. The proposed all day tour will cross the famed Mackinac Bridge, and then parallel the rail route that Hemingway took from St. Ignace in 1919.

At Seney visitors will have ample time to see the spot where the young Ernest disembarked, the Fox River, and also the exhibits in the museum. Hemingway fished the Fox and described it eloquently as the “Big Two-Hearted River.” A visit to the Seney National Wildlife Refuge (one of the first in the United States) will afford opportunity to see the same wildlife Hemingway saw during his visits to the UP.

The second leg of the trip will be along scenic US 2, which Hemingway and Otto "Toby" Bruce followed westward in 1947 after Ernest's last trip to Walloon Lake and Petoskey. The route is dotted with white sand dunes along the Lake Michigan shore and offers choice photo opportunities. Lunch will be provided, and participants will return in time to dine in their favorite Petoskey restaurant. This trip is open to conference attendees, Michigan Hemingway Society members, and anyone else who is interested. Contact Janice Byrne at to have your name placed on the preliminary passenger list. Complete plan trip details and application form will be posted on the MHS web site when available.

MHS Membership

The MHS membership year runs from January through December, and we encourage you to renew your membership at the beginning of each calendar year. However, if you have not yet sent in your 2011 membership dues, you could still do so and save money on your conference fee this fall. Membership is $20 per calendar year for an individual, or $30 per year for a family (two adults at the same address). We also encourage you to support our organization by becoming a patron at $50 or more per year.

Click HERE for a Membership Form

Mailing List

Paper, printing, and postage costs increase every year. If you can help us by reading your newsletter online at our website ( so that we can cut back on our mailing costs, please let us know. Contact me (Nancy Nicholson – MHS, Box 922, Petoskey, MI 49770 or email if you wish your name removed from the mailing list.

MHS List-Serv

From time to time we offer news or announcements via e-mail on our MHS list-serve, hosted by Michigan Tech and Board Member Jack Jobst. The list-serve may also be used by any member to offer questions, make announcements, or to initiate discussions. If you are not a member of the list and would like to sign up, send an e-mail to In the subject line write subscribe mihemsoc-L

Ernest Hemingway, A Life in Michigan (DVD)

A limited number of these DVD's are still available. The DVD includes Michigan sites of his stories and life, interviews of scholars and family as well as many historical photos. Created by Central Michigan University, Michigan Council for the Humanities, and the Michigan Hemingway Society (a CMU/WCMU-TV/PBS production). To order, please send $25 (includes shipping and handling) to: Nancy Nicholson - P.O. Box 922 - Petoskey, Michigan 49770