The Custom House
281 Front St, Key West, FL 33040
Join Ted Geltner, author of Blood, Bone and Marrow: A Biography of Harry Crews, as he presents “Hemingway & Harry’s Way,” July 18, 2017 at 6 p.m. at the Custom House. Geltner will delve into Harry Crews’ devotion to Hemingway, first as an aspiring writer, later as a teacher of the craft, and foremost as a risk-taking novelist.
Harry Crews was the son of a tenant farmer who, despite a childhood of desperate poverty and little education, developed an unbreakable desire to write that would eventually take him to unimaginable heights. He was a mule driver, a Marine, a boxer, a carnival barker and a motorcycle racer, all-the-while developing the voice and the life experience that he would eventually use to invent a new strain of American fiction. That voice emerged in the late 1960s, when, starting with The Gospel Singer, he created a fictional world that would come to be known as the Dirty South and change the shape of Southern literature. The troubled life he lived was as unpredictable and sensational as his fiction. He fought his demons with whiskey, drugs, and his fists, and woke up many mornings behind bars or in the gutter. His journalism and film work introduced him to famous friends and collaborators, from Elvis to Madonna to Charles Bronson to Sean Penn. But it was the drive to write, always present, deep in his bones, which would pull him through in the end.
In Blood, Bone and Marrow, Ted Geltner is the first to tell the Crews story as a full-length biography. Geltner got to know Crews while working as a journalist and interviewed the legendary writer many times in the years leading up to his death in 2012. He had conducted more than 100 interviews with family, friends, colleagues and contemporaries who offered insight into the life of his subject. In addition, Geltner spent hundreds of hours in the vast Crews archives, which includes correspondence, notes, screenplays, unpublished writing and other materials from a fifty-plus year career. The result is the story of a life ultimately saved by writing, and one that left the world with a unique and magnificent body of work.
“Harry Crews was a uniquely gifted and haunted storyteller. Novelist, journalist, memoirist―he made each form his own in a way no one else had before or since. The pages that follow in this absorbing biography detail this and reach into the guts of the experiences that formed him and gave him a voice that was sad, brutal, and funny. Harry said that when it came to writing the truth about himself―or anything for that matter―he was not as interested in facts as he was in memory and belief.” —Michael Connelly, bestselling author
Please join us for a champagne reception after the presentation.