Hemingway in Havana

Hemingway in Havana


As with every programme that radio producer Susan Marling makes, there’s an intense feel for the place that she visits. Her previous programmes have often been about areas of the world that inspired painters but now she’s turned her attention to the years in which the writer Ernest Hemingway lived in Cuba.

The programme opens with the sound of a heaving ocean breaking on the shore and we soon discover that chatting with local sailors and the ownership of a beloved fishing boat called Pilar became the inspiration for Hemingway’s The Old Man and the Sea. Marling talks with Valerie Hemingway, the woman who worked as the writer’s secretary before marrying his son, and to the team who now maintain his house on a hill near Havana — it’s just as it was when he left it in 1960. A year later he committed suicide and the Cuban government turned it into a museum.

This intimate look inside his home is top-quality radio and paints just as powerful a picture of Hemingway as it does of his Havana hideaway.


Susan Marling visits Finca Vigia, the writer's former home in Cuba where he spent 20 years of his life. The presenter learns about a partnership between the Cubans and conservators and academics from America that has allowed the house and many of Hemingway's letters, manuscripts and books to be preserved. First aired in 2011.

Cast & Crew

Presenter Susan Marling
Producer Susan Marling