Kansas City’s Famous Reporter

By | October 22, 2010

You know him as the author of “A Farewell to Arms”, “For Whom the Bell Tolls” and “The Old Man and the Sea.” But are you aware of the fact that Nobel Prize-winning author Ernest Miller Hemingway once worked for a newspaper in Kansas City?

That’s right, folks, Before he became famous, a young Hemingway left Oak Park, Illinois to work as a cub reporter for the Kansas City Star. He was only 18 years old when he joined the paper in October 1917. While his stay was short, Hemingway learned a lot from Star editor C.G. “Pete” Wellington whom he credited for changing his wordy style. He also embraced The Star Copy Style, a writing guide that greatly influenced his style.

His six months at the Star taught him important writing lessons, namely, to use short sentences, to use short paragraphs, to be vigorous in writing, and to write positively. This led to his distinctive writing style that was marked by realistic characters, economy and understatement.

When World War I broke out, Hemingway left the Star to work as an ambulance driver. The war left him seriously wounded and he returned home the following year. However, his experiences there became the basis of his novel “A Farewell to Arms” that he finished when he returned to Kansas City for the birth of his second son.

In his lifetime, Hemingway wrote seven novels, six short story collections, and two non-fiction works. His style influenced many writers of the 20th century and his works are considered classics of American literature. For that, he won the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1954.


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