Dateline: April 30, 2000
I recently got to see Michael Palin in person to promote his book and series Michael Palin's Hemingway Adventure (May 3rd & 10th on PBS). The former Monty Python member and currently the world's most famous tourist gave some readings, talked about Hemingway's life and why he choose him as the topic for another travel series, and fielded some questions afterwards from the audience.
Palin's previous novel, Hemingway's Chair, had been about a man obsessed with the writer. In researching Hemingway's life, Palin discovered he had been a great traveler, not unlike Palin himself these days. Palin had first encountered the works of Ernest Hemingway in the mid-1950s at the age of 16 while at boarding school. He had been particularly moved by Hemingway's take on the war which was very different than most writers of the period and "spoke very directly to me." It wasn't until 1994 that Palin returned to Hemingway as the subject for a book, the aforementioned Hemingway's Chair, and that planted the seed of eventually retracing the man's footsteps across the planet.
Palin was a bit tired of being escorted on his travels by a film crew, and his original idea was to just have a still photographer (Basil Pao) with him this time to help illustrate the book. However, the BBC got wind of his plans and eventually persuaded him to make this another travel series with the requisite entourage of camera and sound men.
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