One lucky writer will win a chance to write in Ernest Hemingway’s studio — surrounded by six-toed cats.
Anybody can tour the house in Key West, Fla., where Ernest Hemingway lived in the 1930s. Now a new contest is offering one lucky and talented writer a chance to work in the studio where Hemingway wrote.
The winner of the Florida Keys Flash Fiction Contest gets to spend up to 10 days of writing time in the studio at the Ernest Hemingway Home & Museum at 907 Whitehead St., plus 21 nights at a residency cottage at The Studios of Key West.
The prize also includes $1,500 for air travel, a $500 debit card for meals and incidentals, a VIP pass to local attractions and admission to events at the Hemingway Days Festival, July 19-24. The stay must take place between July 5 and 31.
Entries of no more than 500 words may be submitted via the website fla-keys.com/flashfiction by March 31. Check the site for rules and eligibility.
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Hemingway, winner of the 1954 Nobel Prize for literature, wrote some of his most famous works in Key West, including “The Green Hills of Africa,” “The Snows of Kilimanjaro” and “For Whom the Bell Tolls.”
But if you’re allergic to cats, this might not be the contest for you. The Hemingway estate is home to a number of six-toed cats, like one the writer owned. According to the museum’s website, there are currently 40-50 cats in residence; some descended from that original white cat, named Snow White.
Contest sponsors include the Hemingway Home & Museum, The Studios of Key West, the Key West Literary Seminar and the Florida Keys & Key West tourism council. The contest’s final judge is a representative of the literary seminar.
Built in 1851, the home was extensively renovated in the 1930s by Hemingway and his wife Pauline, with improvements including a then-rare in-ground pool. They divorced in 1940, but many of their belongings remain in the house. Operated as a museum since the 1960s, it is a popular Key West attraction and is open daily for visitors. More information: hemingwayhome.com/general/