Like me, you may have first discovered Willa Cather through My Antonia. Perhaps, you learned to love her style and prose, the dark irony and the sense of place. She captured a story that was both difficult to stomach and even harder to put down. It delves into aspects that are so true-to-life for us in modern society, with hunger, suicide and deprivation paired with the (perhaps more basic) longings to return to a past that’s long gone, a sense of place that we can never recover.
My Antonia may have sparked our love for Willa Cather, but it only serves to entice us into the true depths of her works. We get a few glimpses of why she is so important — particularly today…
- Great Writer: Willa Cather is now recognized as one of the greatest writers of the 20th century.
- Regional: She captures a sense of place, as she immerses us in the Nebraska landscape. It’s why she is seen as a master in regional literature.
- Woman Writer: Willa Cather made a living as a journalist long before she turned to fiction. Notably, she worked for McClure’s Magazine, in New York — it was her second job out of college.
- Award-Winning: She was a Pulitzer-Prize winning author for One of Ours, her novel about war. (My Ántonia was nominated but did not receive the prize.)
- Body of Work: Willa Cather has made her place on the literary stage, with a body of works that includes novels, poetry, and short fiction.
Her presence as a notable author on the stage of American literature is impressive and unforgettable. And, the controversy abounds far beyond the pages of her books into her life.