Willa Cather was an American author and novelist. Cather is considered one of the most notable American writers of the early 20th century, known for her novels about life on the Great Plains. She won the Pulitzer Prize in 1923 for her One of Ours, set during World War I.
Willa Sibert Cather was born in Back Creek Valley, Virginia. She grew up in rural Nebraska, which influenced her writing. Cather attended the University of Nebraska, initially planning to be a physician.
She became a regular contributor to the Nebraska State Journal and decided to change her major and ultimately earned a bachelor's degree in English.
After graduating in 1894, Willa Cather moved to Pittsburgh as a writer for various publications and worked as a school teacher for approximately 13 years. Later she settled in New York and was a managing editor for McClure's Magazine.
After immersing herself in journalism, she gained recognition for her articles and essays.
Willa Cather published her debut novel Alexander's Bridge in 1912. The book explores themes of ambition, love, and the complexities of human relationships. Although it is not as well-known as some of her later works, it showcases Cather's early talent for vivid characterization and lyrical prose.
Her most notable works include O Pioneers (1913), My Ántonia (1918), and Death Comes for the Archbishop (1927). Cather's novels often explore themes of the human spirit, the relationship between individuals and the land, and the challenges faced by pioneers and immigrants in America.
Willa Cather traveled widely and often spent summers in New Brunswick, Canada. She experienced much negative criticism for her conservative politics and became reclusive, burning some of her letters and personal papers, including her last manuscript.
In 1943, Willa Cather was chosen as a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, recognizing her outstanding contributions to the literary world. The following year, in 1944, she was honored with the prestigious gold medal for fiction from the National Institute of Arts and Letters, an award given once a decade for an author's accomplishments.
Willa Cather died of a cerebral hemorrhage at the age of 73 in New York City.