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  • Premiered: 
    April 5, 2021
    (Click date to see TV listings for that day)

  • Network: PBS
  • Category: Series
  • Genre: Biography
  • Type: Live Action
  • Concept: 
    22nd Ken Burns multi-part documentary, following Country Music 
  • Subject Matter: Historical
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Plot Synopsis

Directed and produced by Ken Burns and Lynn Novick, HEMINGWAY is a three-part, six-hour documentary that examines the visionary work and the turbulent life of Ernest Hemingway, one of the greatest and most influential writers America has ever produced. Interweaving his eventful biography -- a life lived at the ultimately treacherous nexus of art, fame, and celebrity -- with carefully selected excerpts from his iconic short stories, novels, and non-fiction, the series reveals the brilliant, ambitious, charismatic, and complicated man behind the myth, and the art he created. In three two-hour episodes, the series tracks the meteoric rise and tragic fall of the author who, in his final years, suffered from chronic alcoholism, traumatic brain injuries and serious mental illness. In 1961, at the age of 61, Hemingway died by suicide, leaving behind an unparalleled body of artistic work and a complicated emotional legacy for those closest to him.

Narrated by long-time collaborator Peter Coyote, the series features an all-star cast of actors bringing Hemingway (voiced by Jeff Daniels), his friends and family vividly to life. Through letters to and from his four wives -- voiced by Meryl Streep, Keri Russell, Mary-Louise Parker and Patricia Clarkson -- HEMINGWAY reveals Hemingway at his most romantic and his most vulnerable, grappling at times with insecurity, anxiety and existential loneliness.

Episodes include:

"A Writer (1899-1929)" (Monday, April 5, 2021 from 8-10pm): Hemingway, yearning for adventure, volunteers for the Red Cross during World War I. He marries Hadley Richardson and moves to Paris, publishes "The Sun Also Rises" and finds critical and commercial success with his second novel, "A Farewell to Arms."

"The Avatar (1929-1944)" (Tuesday, April 6, 2021 from 8-10pm): Hemingway, having achieved a level of fame rarely seen in the literary world, settles in Key West with Pauline Pfeiffer but can't stay put for long. He reports on the Spanish Civil War and begins a tempestuous romance with Martha Gellhorn.

"The Blank Page (1944-1961)" (Wednesday, April 7, 2021 from 8-10pm): Hemingway follows the Army as they advance through Europe. Afterwards, he tries to start a life with Mary Welsh, but is beset with tragedies. He publishes "The Old Man and the Sea" to acclaim but is overcome by his declining mental condition.


Production & Distribution

  • Produced by Florentine Films
  • Produced by WETA