Finding his muse in Northern Michigan
"Of the place where he had been a boy he had written well enough."
- The Snows of Kilimanjaro
In 1972, English Professor Philip Young of Pennsylvania State University helped us to understand the importance of the activities and sequence of events that made up Ernest Hemingway's summers in Michigan as a boy and young man. This documentary and education project builds on Professor Young's insights and sets out to deliver a sense of place where the author Ernest Hemingway remembered his youthful experiences by recreating himself as "Nick Adams."
The "Young Hemingway" project was launched to coincide with the 2012 biennial conference of the International Hemingway Society (www.HemingwaySociety.org), meeting for the first time in northern Michigan. The conference sessions held in the historic summer community of Bay View (www.bayviewassociation.org) focused on the young Hemingway's early observations and writings - as does the documentary.
The documentary and its media education components are being presented by Contemporary Learning Systems (CLS), an East Lansing-based non-profit company. Its production partner, Starbright Media Corporation (SMC), based in Petoskey, Michigan, is contributing all overhead costs to the project. George Colburn, a historian and SMC's executive producer, will direct the production of "Young Hemingway." See www.StarbrightMediaCorp.com.
Thanks to the generosity of Ernest H. Mainland, nephew of Ernest Hemingway, and heir to "Windemere," the family cottage on Walloon Lake built for the Hemingway family in 1899, will provide the documentary with an authentic setting for taping interviews and location scenes, Colburn noted.
The "Young Hemingway" project received a generous grant in 2012 from a Harbor Springs resident allowing the project to move forward with interviews of leading Hemingway scholars attending the Hemingway Society conference. The project now has approximately one-half of its production budget in-hand, according to Dr. Colburn. Previous grants from the Meijer Foundation, Boyne USA, the Bay Harbor Foundation, Petoskey Area Visitors Bureau, the Wally Kidd Family Trust, Charlevoix County History Preservation Society, Stafford's Perry Hotel, City Park Grill, First Community Bank, Arlington Jewelers and Petoskey Yesterday made possible SMC's research and development activities and videotaping at Pennsylvania State University. The university library houses the Hemingway Letters Project and its first volume in the 16-volume letters series, Hemingway in Michigan, was published in late 2011 to excellent reviews by Cambridge University Press. The second volume was published in October 2013.
CLS expects that funding will become available for SMC to finish a 60-minute documentary by June 2014. CLS will then make classroom-friendly modules of the program available to schools, colleges and universities nationwide as course supplements for teachers of Ernest Hemingway's writing. The documentary and educational modules will also be available for purchase by individuals.