Hanns Ebensten

Article excerpt

When my parents moved to Key West, Fla., in 1997, they acquired some highly unusual neighbors: Hanns Ebensten, the gay travel pioneer and author--who died July 24 at age 82--and his partner of over 40 years, Brian Kenney. The elderly couple would walk past our house on their way home from the market, smartly attired in colonial chic--linen suits, boaters, and bow ties--pulling a red Radio Flyer wagon filled with provisions. They were witty, charming, and slightly otherworldly, like characters out of Henry James. Their home was quite literally filled wall-to-wall with books.

They took an interest in me as a young gay journalist, having me over for tea when I was in town. I'd find them reclined in their garden, reading, but ready to chat about authors' personal lives. To them, writers were the true celebrities, not movie stars. Hanns would recommend authors to read: Balzac and Proust for the human condition, Graham Greene for all things travel, Cyril Connolly for his essays. …


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