Willa Cather was a Pulitzer prize winning novelist and short story writer. Her work centered on pioneer life in the Nebraska prairies and southwestern deserts.
As a child, Willa Cather moved with her family from Virginia to Nebraska, first to a farm and then to the small town of Red Cloud. She went to college at the University of Nebraska to become a scientist but instead decided to become a writer.
After graduation (1895), she moved to Pennsylvania where she taught English and Latin at a high school while writing short stories on the side. In 1906, she moved to New York and began to write articles and stories for a living. She worked as an editor at McClure’s magazine and became a professional writer.
Though she grew up in a time when it was sometimes hard for women to become successful writers, Willa Cather became one of America’s best novelists. Her most famous books, including O Pioneers (1913) and My Antonia, explored themes of farming, family life, and community in her home state of Nebraska. She wrote about immigrants and pioneers, especially about the strong bond between farmers and their land. Other works by Ms. Cather include: Death Comes for the Archbishop and A Lost Lady.
Cather wrote twelve novels and many short stories. She won the Pulitzer Prize for literature in 1922 for One of Ours, a book about a farm boy who left Nebraska to fight in World War I. She was elected to the American Academy of Arts & Letters in 1938.