Willa Siebert Cather, 1873 - 1947

portrait of Willa Cather
Portrait by Carl Van Vechten (1936)

Born: 7 December 1873, near Winchester, Virginia
Died: 24 April 1947, New York City

Originally named Wilella, Cather moved to Nebraska before she was ten, living on a ranch for a year before moving to Red Cloud. Her mother wanted to raise a young lady, Willa wore boys' clothes and cropped her hair. She graduated from Red Cloud High School in 1890 and went to Lincoln to study at the University of Nebraska with a goal of becoming a physician. She edited the school magazine and wrote drama reviews for the local paper, when her short story "Peter" was published in a Boston magazine she realized that writing would be her career. She moved to Pittsburgh to become editor of Home Monthly, then taught high school English for five years. Stories written during this period caught the attention of the owner of McClure's magazine, in 1906 she moved to New York City to join the staff and eventually was named managing editor. Another author, Sara Orne Jewett of Maine, convinced Cather to stop emulating Henry James and use her own voice to explore the Nebraska prairies. This led to great success for O Pioneers!, The Song of the Lark, and My Ántonia (1913, 1915, and 1918). Her 1922 novel One of Ours, based on letters home from a cousin fighting in World War I, won the Pulitzer the following year. Her 1927 book Death Comes for the Archbishop was honored by the American Modern Library as one of the 100 best English-language novels of the twentieth century.

Biography from Wikipedia and GradeSaver

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