Les Standiford, director of the Creative Writing Program at Florida International University and author of numerous books, both nonfiction and fiction, will be the speaker on Sunday, March 14, when the Ernest Hemingway Home & Museum is dedicated as a national Literary Landmark.
Standiford is the author of the John Deal novels and in recent years has written highly regarded works of historical nonfiction, starting with "Last Train to Paradise," which chronicles the building and destruction of Henry Flagler's Overseas Railway, connecting the Florida Keys to the mainland for the first time.
The railroad was destroyed when a Category 5 hurricane crossed the Upper Keys on Labor Day 1935. Hemingway was in the Keys at the time and went to Islamorada immediately afterwards to help in rescue and clean-up efforts. He was outraged at the deaths of hundreds of World War I veterans who were working on a New Deal highway program in Islamorada -- a rescue train was sent too late -- and wrote about the event in a piece for The New Masses.