Lizzy Welby of Kentish Town, London, won the Lorian Hemingway Short Story Competition, the literary highlight of Key West’s 34th annual salute to Ernest Hemingway that ended Sunday.
Welby, a scholar and academic writer, earned $1,500 and publication for her story “The Breakers.” The piece was judged the best of 938 American and international submissions in the competition that supports the efforts of emerging writers of short fiction.
Lorian Hemingway, Ernest Hemingway’s granddaughter, said Welby’s story focused on the aftermath of a shipwreck off the west coast of France, and the Breton islanders who must deal with it.
“It is an exquisitely rendered story about the people on the island faced with the bodies that are washing ashore and the ritual that they perform for those who have drowned,” said Lorian Hemingway, an author who has directed the competition since it began more than three decades ago.
“It’s one of the most moving, beautifully written stories that I have ever read in the (competition’s) 34 years,” Hemingway said.
Welby, who is researching a sympathetic feminist study of Ernest Hemingway’s short fiction, said winning the award connected with the late author’s legacy felt like “a wink from the fates.”
“I entered because I knew that the Lorian Hemingway competition offers writers the chance to write in ways that do not necessarily comply with the ‘rules’ of short story writing,” said Welby. “I feel so privileged that she and her team understood so completely what I was trying to say.”
Hemingway Days celebrates the literary legacy and exuberant lifestyle of Ernest Hemingway, a Key West resident from 1931 until late 1939. During that time, he penned classics including “For Whom the Bell Tolls,” “Death in the Afternoon” and “To Have and Have Not.”
Other festival events included the “Papa” Hemingway Look-Alike Contest, drawing 131 men to compete at Sloppy Joe’s Bar where Ernest Hemingway often drank with friends.
Wally Collins, a 68-year-old white-bearded restaurateur from Phoenix, Ariz., won the look-alike challenge on his sixth attempt — even triumphing over his oldest son Matt Collins.
For more information on Hemingway Days, visit www.fla-keys.com/hemingwaymedia
For more information on Lizzy Welby, visit www.eastanglia.academia.edu/LizzyWelby
For more information on the Florida Keys, visit: www.fla-keys.co.uk