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Female Playwright Haunted by Hemingway!

'Brain Hemingway' Returns to Edinburgh Festival Fringe with a Moving New Script and Updated Staging


EDINBURGH, UK - "Brain Hemingway," the hit show that was a cult favorite of the 2022 Edinburgh Festival Fringe, is back this year with a brand-new and improved script. Written by Erin Murray Quinlan and directed by Paul Boyd, this darkly funny and moving play explores the challenges of mental health faced by artists, particularly ones whose worst feelings about themselves manifest as a Nobel Prize-winning dead author.

"Brain Hemingway" tells the story of a blocked playwright who is haunted by the subject of her last theatrical flop: Ernest Hemingway. As the playwright tries to make a deadline, Hemingway does everything in his power to realize that she is, above all else, a hack and an imposter. The play surprised audiences with its strange premise but touching execution, and was hailed as a brave exploration of the struggles faced by artists who grapple with mental health issues.

Why Ernest Hemingway? “I don’t think people realize this is a true story,” says writer Erin Murray Quinlan. “Maybe not in the literal sense as far as a Papa-haunting goes, but the reviews I read in the play, and the awful things the Hemingway character says to me, are all actual things men said to me when I was researching Ernest Hemingway for another show. And then over time I started saying those things to myself. And during lockdown, that was not good.”

The play was a resounding success at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe in 2022, drawing critical acclaim and attracting buskers, other Fringe artists, and even Hemingway scholars to Greenside’s Ivy Studio. This year’s script updates are based on Murray Quinlan’s experiences there. “I didn’t know what to expect from audiences last year,” she says, “And people laughed, people tapped their toes, that was all fantastic. But I didn’t think I had any right to hope for other people to find catharsis in my story, and when that’s what happened, I was just so moved. I wanted to expand on those moments.”

Murray Quinlan’s husband Evan returns to star as the acerbic and commanding Ernest Hemingway. “I feel a little bad hurling zingers at my wife,” he says, “But then again its fun to be mean, and heck, she wrote all of them.” Directed by Paul Boyd, (Lyric Theatre Belfast's go-to man for years of Christmas spectaculars), and with Sarah Langley’s choreography, "Brain Hemingway" promises to deliver an even more entertaining and impactful experience for audiences.

"Brain Hemingway" will be playing at Greenside @ Nicholson Square Fern Studio at 17:30 from August 4-12, 14-19, and 21-26. Tickets are now available, and audiences are encouraged to book early to avoid disappointment. Contact for press inquiries and interview requests.

Here's what some of the critics had to say about "Brain Hemingway":

“Superb musical numbers, sitcom-ready performances… Refreshingly difficult to pin down." -The Scotsman

"The perfect Fringe play. " -Mark Aylward, Three Pint Productions

“Came away incredibly happy after seeing this." -Graeme Rendall

“An amusing look at the creative struggle." -The Roaming Reader

For more information and to book tickets, please visit


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