Thursday 8 December 2016

Mother of Behan's son who became a Hemingway wife

Ulick O'Connor tells why he chose not to reveal the secret of Brendan Behan's child in his biography

Published 14/02/2010 | 05:00

CONFESSIONS: Valerie Hemingway, daughter-in-law of the writer Ernest Hemingway
CONFESSIONS: Valerie Hemingway, daughter-in-law of the writer Ernest Hemingway

Recently, Valerie Hemingway, wife of Gregory Hemingway (son of the writer Ernest Hemingway), gave a fascinating talk at the RDS about her book Running with the Bulls, which is an account of her life with the Hemingway family. As a young woman, Valerie had been personal assistant and confidant of the famous writer Hemingway and accompanied him and his wife when they lived in Spain, France and Cuba.

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I met Valerie in New York in the Seventies where she was most helpful to me. I discovered she was a Dublin girl, educated at Dominican College, Drumcondra. She had been a Newsweek researcher before I met her, but had since acquired the prestigious position of a public relations executive for Guinness-Harp, New York. She had important contacts, some of whom she was kind enough to put me in touch with. It was through her that I was invited to John Huston's 70th birthday party and placed at a table between Richard Burton and Elizabeth Taylor.

In Running with the Bulls, Valerie gives an account of her relationship with Brendan Behan, by whom she had a son in New York in 1962.

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