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New Ántonia Stories!

New Ántonia Stories!

Friday, September 28, 2018

As we began celebrating the hundredth anniversary of the publication of Cather’s My Ántonia in the first 2018 issue of the Willa Cather Review, we asked thirty widely varied readers—fans, scholars, neighbors, students, Cather and Pavelka relatives, and many others—to send us their Ántonia stories, telling us why this beloved novel is important to them. (To download the Winter 2018 issue, click HERE.) As these stories arrived in my mailbox, I was amazed and delighted and moved by them. I was surprised by how different they were, and by how they spoke to each other. It was like sitting in on a lively and heartfelt conversation. I wanted to hear more—and perhaps to chime in with my own story.

As our year of celebrating Cather’s great novel continues, we want to keep that conversation going. So we’re asking you to send us your own Ántonia story, telling us why this book is special and important to you. For the remaining months of the centenary year, we’ll publish those stories, right here on our website. Your personal story may be as long or short (average length is about 400 words) and as formal or informal as you like. We want to hear your voice, as we begin a second hundred years of conversation about My Ántonia. Send your story, and any questions you might have, to me, at annrom3@verizon.net.

See below, for our first new story in this online series, from a young Mexican immigrant woman now attending college in the U.S. More stories will follow—including yours, we hope!

Ann Romines, Issue Editor, Willa Cather Review

A New Road, by Katerine Avila-Pastor

A New Road, by Katerine Avila-Pastor
A New Road, by Katerine Avila-Pastor

I came across My Ántonia a year after graduating high school. At the time, I was frustrated with my lack of opportunity. As a young immigrant woman, numerous obstacles stood between me and a higher education—documentation being the greatest. It took me two years of paperwork and multiple jobs to find the financial and legal stability to enter college. I used American literature—specifically Willa Cather—to counterbalance my growing frustration read more . . .

Ántonia Takes Me Home, by Joshua Doležal

Ántonia Takes Me Home, by Joshua Doležal
Ántonia Takes Me Home, by Joshua Doležal

Around the time I began my sophomore year as an undergraduate, I saw a cartoon that summed up how I felt. It was four portraits of a young man with a simple caption: The Four Years of College. In the first he looked clean-cut, serious, collar buttoned over a tie. In the sophomore portrait he had shoulder-length hair, a long beard, and hoop earrings. He mellowed as a junior, hair cropped to his ears but still falling into his face READ MORE . . .

My Ántonia Story, by Will Fellows

My Ántonia Story, by Will Fellows
My Ántonia Story, by Will Fellows

A golden memory: that dull midwinter weekend almost forty years ago when, as a twenty- something college student, I was handed a paperback of a strangely titled novel, its author unfamiliar. Urged to give it a try, I was soon transfixed by the story, the characters, the narrative voice, the qualities of the prose, the vanished era it evoked. And, before long, by an unaccountably strong desire to know as much as I could about the READ MORE . . .