EXCLUSIVE BY JULIAN BROUWER IN NEW YORK
TRAGIC literary genius Ernest Hemingway had to turn down a prestigious invitation to be a guest at the inauguration of President John F Kennedy – because he was locked in a secure mental hospital.
Hemingway was a huge fan of JFK’s beautiful wife Jackie and thought she and her husband would brighten up the turgid world of American politics.
His friendship with the glamourous political couple began just before Kennedy became America’s first Irish Catholic president.
The revelations are made in the biography of the First Lady, “What Jackie Taught Us” by Tina Flaherty.
In the best-selling book, Hemingway’s biographer A.E. Hotchner recalls visiting Hemingway in January 1961, “in his secured room in the psychiatric section of St. Mary’s Hospital in Rochester, Minnesota.”
The fascinating page turner is being released to mark the 20th anniversary of Jackie’s death.
While Hotchner was visiting Hemingway at the hospital, the writer “received a telegram from President-elect Kennedy inviting Ernest and his wife, Mary, to be his personal guests at the impending inaugural.”
Hemingway told Hotchner he felt a strong connection to Jackie, and that “he admired the young couple and thought that they would be a good tonic for the country and freshen up the bad taste of current politics.”
But the troubled writer asked Hotchner to help him compose a reply declining the invitation, which Hotchner telegraphed to the White House.
Hemingway, who compared Jackie to his long-suffering first wife Hadley, told Hotchner: “I hope Kennedy does not follow my own bad example, that he will keep Jackie and her demonstrated virtues solidly at his side.”
Six months after turning down the Kennedy invitation, Hemingway blew his brains out with a shotgun.