Kansas City has borne its fair share of writers who have gone on to local and even national prominence. Yet no local writer is perhaps as famous as Ernest Hemingway, a literary icon whose works have left a lasting impression on all who read his extraordinary works.
Few know that Ernest Hemingway began his career at the Kansas City Star, 18 years old and fresh out of high school. He spent six and a half months pounding the pavement in search of stories, and left on April 30, 1918, to join the Red Cross ambulance service as World War I ravaged parts of the globe. Hemingway covered a variety of topics for the Star, including a human-interest piece on a soldiers’ dance.
The lead reads as follows:
Outside a woman walked along the wet street lamp-lit sidewalk through the sleet and snow. Inside in the Fine Arts Institute on the sixth floor of the YWCA Building, 1020 McGee Street, a merry crowd of soldiers from Camp Funston and Fort Leavenworth fox trotted and one-stepped with girls from the Fine Arts School while a sober-faced young man pounded out the latest jazz music as he watched the moving figures. In a corner a private in the signal corps was discussing Whistler with a black haired girl who heartily agreed with him. The private had been a member of the art colony at Chicago before the war was declared.
Kansas City–influenced scenes are said to appear in several Hemingway works, including For Whom The Bell Tolls, The Sun Also Rises, and Across the River and into the Trees.
Notable contemporary writers are numerous in Kansas City. In 2009, three authors were honored with the Thorpe Menn Award, sponsored by the Kansas City Branch of the American Association of University Women, is distributed annually to a local author who exhibits literary excellence. Honorees included John Mark Eberhart for his poetry collection Broken Time, Matthew Eck for his debut novel The Farther Shore, and Donna Trussell’s poetry debut What’s Right About What’s Wrong: Poems.
Other notable local writers include Charles Gusewelle, a Kansas City Star columnist and essayist who has published several books; Joel Goldman, an attorney and author of Kansas City-based crime fiction; and Whitney Terrell, whose debut novel The Huntsman was named a notable book by The New York Times and the best book of 2005 by The Christian Science Monitor.
© Katy Ryan from Moon Kansas City, 1st Edition