We invite journalists, editors, bloggers, and the public to visit our virtual Press Room often for the latest newsworthy information about our activities, events, and announcements.
Please browse the sub-sections that follow for contact information, buzz about Cather, her ongoing relevance, links to our social media, and the work of the National Willa Cather Center in Red Cloud, Nebraska.
Catherine Pond, Marketing Coordinator: cpond@WillaCather.org
The National Willa Cather Center
413 North Webster Street
Red Cloud, NE 68970
To reach us during office hours, please call: (402) 746-2653 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
@WillaCatherFdn (National Willa Cather Center)
This selection of images is available to the the press, and others, with permission and proper crediting. Please contact Catherine Pond for additional information or other image needs that you may have.
Why Willa Cather, Why Now?
In 2023, Willa Cather will become the first Pulitzer Prize winner and twelfth woman represented in the National Statuary Hall Collection of the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C.
Willa Cather (1873-1947) is an author of complex American stories, Cather wrote from a perspective and in a style that had not been represented in literature previously. When she was nine, Cather and her family traveled west from Virginia to Webster County, Nebraska. The region had been largely settled by the Kitkehahki band of the Pawnee tribe who had farmed and hunted buffalo along the Republican River for centuries—and where the displaced Pawnee Nation still considers to be the center of the universe. Moving to Red Cloud exposed Cather to new ethnic groups and childhood experiences. Through her lifelong learning and many interests, she would come to explore, shape, and write about these and other new and interesting worlds throughout her life.
A self-made woman, Cather wrote about the homestead experience; the settlement and growth of middle America through the arrival of diverse immigrant groups during the late-nineteenth century; the escape of an enslaved individual in pre-Civil War Virginia; the impact of the Great War; the convergence of Indigenous, Hispanic, and Euroamerican cultures in desert southwest; and the pursuit of artistic success. Her work remains the subject of scholarly inquiry and is still read by people worldwide.
The following points are illustrative of Cather's importance as an American writer active in the first part of the 20th Century, but whose work and influence resonate into the 21st Century:
- Cather took regional stories—with universal themes—and elevated them to a national and international readership (while also elevating Nebraska in her love for it, and its people).
- Cather’s writing details and explores the complication of precise historical moments.
- Cather’s writing endures, and is still widely read and critiqued. It has been translated into over forty languages.
- Cather, not an especially political writer, evoked the cultural and political times her characters know.
- Cather’s career began with stunning success in journalism—several years as managing editor of the leading monthly magazine of the day, McClure’s—which she left to write fulltime in 1912.
- Cather was a self-made woman who did not conform to societal norms; she was urbane and urban, ironically given her largely western subjects, for she made New York City her home from 1906-1947 for most of her life.
- Cather was the first American writer to use the Great Plains as a detailed setting for fiction; she taught her readers how to see the prairie-plains. She built worlds.
- Cather’s evocation of the American Southwest, with its mix of diverse cultures—Indigenous, Hispanic, and other Euroamerican—is singular in her work. She did the same with seventeenth-century New France in Shadows on the Rock.
- Cather was an unspoken ally and presence within the LGBTQ+ community of her day.
- Cather was above all a creator: of her own career, of her persona, and of literary worlds.
Media Coverage of the Willa Cather Sculpture
- "Willa Comes Alive," Nebraska Stories, Nebraska Public Media [video about the Littleton Alston and his creation of the Willa Cather sculpture: updated in spring 2022 with sculpture casting process]
- "Willa Cather Statue for U.S. Capitol Entering Final Casting," by Aaron Bonderson, Nebraska Public Media, September 15, 2022
About the National Willa Cather Center
Located in the heart of downtown Red Cloud, the National Willa Cather Center was completed in 2017 as a successful historic adaptive reuse project that also incorporates the Red Cloud Opera House (restored in 2003). It contains an archive, museum, gallery, and study center owned and operated by the Willa Cather Foundation.
Founded in 1955, the Willa Cather Foundation operates the National Willa Cather Center and promotes Willa Cather’s legacy through education, preservation, and the arts. It also maintains the largest collection of historic sites related to any American author, including the following places that featured in Cather’s life or literature:
- Willa Cather Childhood Home (a National Historic Landmark)
- Red Cloud Opera House
- Burlington Depot
- Farmers and Merchants Bank
- Baptist Church
- Grace Episcopal Church
- St. Juliana Falconieri Catholic Church
- J.L. Miner House
- Dr. Gilbert McKeeby House
- Pavelka Farmstead (part of our “Country Tour”)
- Willa Cather Memorial Prairie
Programs and services include regular guided historic site tours, conservation of the 612-acre Willa Cather Memorial Prairie, and organization of year-round cultural programs and exhibits at the restored Red Cloud Opera House. The Collections & Archives at the National Willa Cather Center are available for research and significant archival and digital collections related to the life, work, and family of Willa Cather. Programs include the annual Willa Cather Spring Conferences and biennial International Cather Seminars, which aim to foster appreciation and scholarship of Cather's life, time, and work. Several scholarship programs are available to educators and students and the Foundation also publishes the Willa Cather Review—a leading source for Cather-related news, features, and scholarship.
About Red Cloud
A rural and vibrant community of just over 1,000 people in south-central Nebraska on the Kansas border, Red Cloud is the place where Willa Cather spent her formative years. Red Cloud appeared as a regular setting in Cather's work—in particular O Pioneers! (1913), The Song of the Lark (1915), My Ántonia (1918), One of Ours (1922), A Lost Lady (1923), and Lucy Gayheart (1935). Even though Cather lived on the east coast for decades, and New York for most of her life, she often returned to Red Cloud to visit friends and family.
Other Notable Media Coverage
Willa Cather & the National Willa Cather Center
- "Ways of Reading: On the Road With Tim Youd's 100 Novels Project," Tulsa Kinney, Artillery, July 12, 2022
- "Looking at Willa Cather's Lesbian Partnership and Domestic World," Melissa J. Homestead, Literary Hub, May 18, 2022
- "Literary Enthusiasts to Gather for 67th Annual Willa Cather Spring Conference," Newswires, May 16, 2022
- "Finding Inspiration in Willa Cather's Belief in the Necessity of Art," Ladette Randolph, Literary Hub, March 7, 2022
- "Lingua Franca Teams Up With Willa Cather Center for International Women's Day," Alexandra Polkinghorn, Women's Wear Daily, March 8, 2022
- "Willa Cather's Quietly Shattering War Novel," Alex Ross, The New Yorker, July 7, 2020
- "Of Willa Cather's Lasting Love of the Frontier," Catherine Seiberling Pond, Literary Hub, December 8, 2018
- "A Walk in Willa Cather's Prairie," Alex Ross, The New Yorker, September 25, 2017
- Red Cloud is Working On Different Projects to Revitalize Their Downtown, Rissell Ventura, NTV ABC, May 28, 2022