Hemingway’s Widow: About The Author
Timothy Christian graduated as a Commonwealth Scholar in law from King’s College, Cambridge. He has had a number of law jobs over the last thirty years: law professor and Dean at the Faculty of Law at the University of Alberta, visiting professor in Japan and Taiwan, advocate before all levels of the Canadian court system, Chief Federal Negotiator settling claims and negotiating Treaties with First Nations peoples on behalf of Canada; labour arbitrator and mediator.
After the death of his second wife, he became a single father and balanced his work obligations with caring for his eight-year-old daughter. He journaled and wrote short stories to keep himself centered. Now that his children are launched, he has stepped aside from his demanding law practice, to devote himself to writing. He is married to an abstract artist, Kathryn Dykstra, and lives in a Mediterranean micro climate on Vancouver Island’s beautiful Saanich Inlet. Sometimes he moors his boat in the cove in front of his home and watches the golden orange sunset shimmer across the water.
He has published two non-legal pieces. The first, “We Gave Our Boys and We Gave Ourselves”, is an account of his seven great uncles and great grandfather who served in WWI (Engraved: Canadian Stories of World War One, Seraphim Editions, 2014). The renowned Hemingway scholar, H.R. Stoneback, has said of this piece:
ABOUT “We Gave Our Boys . . .” A remarkable piece,….What a record of the War through one family! History enough for a Faulknerian Trilogy! I admire your navigation of the treacherous waters of family history…. Your paternal Great Grandfather Rice–some character, I would like to have known him. The story of your Grandpa’s wounding. Your great uncle Sid, the one you were lucky to know. The family puzzles. And so many wounds, so much loss, so much endurance. You speak of the ‘unreachable, unchangeable past’. In this piece, you reach it. And the only way we can change the past is through an act of memory or remembrance which is another name for love.H.R. (Stoney) Stoneback
The second, “Across the Seine from Notre Dame: Finding Aline Mosby”, is a creative nonfiction account of scenes from the life of Aline Mosby, the first female journalist allowed to report from Khrushchev’s U.S.S.R. (Brought to Light: More Stories of Forgotten Women, Seraphim Editions, 2015). (Recently, Christian was happy to discover an interview Aline Mosby did with Mary Welsh Hemingway).
Gerard Loughran, a retired foreign correspondent and bureau chief for United Press International in Paris, and friend of Aline Mosby said:
A most imaginative take on her life and career. What a fine piece about someone you never met. Your research turns up someone very, very close to the woman I knew.
I think you have got into Aline’s psyche, weaving the highlights of her career into an imagined reconstruction of her motivations and outlook on important things in one’s life.
The idea of a meal with a close sister, allowing Aline to recap and answer questions (without the author having to smuggle them in), is a neat one and I liked the ending when the sister sleeps and she is left alone as always in her beautiful flat.
Both pieces are based on significant archival research. They were each published in Seraphim Editions collections of stories edited by Bernadette Rule.
Through his varied career, Christian has learned something about storytelling and fact finding. He brings these skills to Hemingway’s Widow. Believing in the particularity of place, he has travelled widely to get a feel for the places where Mary and Ernest lived or visited: London, Paris, Pamplona, Madrid, St. Jean de Luz, Biarritz, Venice, Torcello, Fossalto de Piave, Cortina, Key West, Havana, Finca Vigia, Cojimar, Ketchum, Walker, and Bemidji. He plans to visit Kenya and Murchison Falls to complete his research.
Christian has studied the Hemingway papers (including Mary’s diaries, journals and correspondence) held at the JFK Presidential Library in Boston. He has interviewed Professor H.R. Stoneback about his memories of his friend, Mary, and also Valerie Hemingway about her experiences as Ernest’s secretary, and as Mary’s assistant after Ernest’s death.
Christian brings his legal knowledge to bear in assessing several issues: the investigation to determine if Hemingway should be court-martialed; the marriage, divorce and estate laws in effect in Cuba at the time of Ernest’s marriage to Mary, and the signing of his will; Mary’s effort to obtain an injunction prohibiting the publication of A. E. Hotchner’s Papa Hemingway. These issues are considered in straight-forward English and made understandable to the lay-person.