Willa Cather: Biography

Willa Cather

07 dec 1873

Willa Cather was the recipient of the legendary gold medal for fiction awarded by the National Institute of Arts and Letters. This award is given only once in a decade for an author’s achievements and Cather’s talent is well explained from this.

Born on 7 Dec, 1873, Willa Cather (as originally called) lived in Virginia, Nebraska and Red cloud. Cather was an intelligent, out spoken and talented girl who had the habit of listening to stories at her young age. Although she wanted to become a physician, she sort of identified her destiny when her essay got published in Thomas Carlyle. She started to concentrate on writing and even as a full time student; she used to produce four columns per week for the Nebraska State Journal.

Cather’s talent fetched her job of a Managing editor for a women’s magazine named ‘Home Monthly’ published in Pittsburgh. The job took most of her time that she could hardly concentrate on her own works. While Cather was teaching English in a local school earlier, she had published, ‘April Twilights’, ‘The Troll Garden’ and a collection of short stories.

Based on the advice of her mentor Sarah Orne Jewett, Willa Cather left her job at the magazine and started her full time writing career in fiction. Cather’s first novel, ‘Alexander’s Bridge ‘appeared serially in McClure’s as ‘Alexander’s Masquerade’ in 1912. Her novel, ‘One of Ours’ bagged her Pulitzer Prize. Her autobiographical fame, ‘My Antonia’ was considered one of her best novel.

For Cather’s contribution, she was elected a Fellow of American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 1943. But during her later years, Cather received negative criticism for her conservative politics and this made her to destroy her last manuscript.

Willa Cather who lived with huge fame died of cerebral haemorrhage at the age of 73 in New York.