Spring Conference Line-Up Announced

The Willa Cather Foundation hosts their 61st annual Willa Cather Spring Conference, June 2–4, 2016! As the world remembers the sacrifices made during the Great War, the conference will explore the war’s impact not only on Willa Cather’s life and war-era writings but on those of her literary contemporaries, as well as the legacy of the war on American culture.

Dr. Pearl James will deliver this year’s keynote address, kicking off a weekend of lectures on the conference theme. James is the author of The New Death: American Modernism and World War I, which examines the work of Cather, Fitzgerald, Hemingway, and Faulkner in context of the war. She has published and presented extensively on World War I-era literature, modernism, and the visual culture of World War I, including as part of a series presented by the National World War I Museum in Kansas City.

The conference also features Karen Gettert Shoemaker, author of the 2016 “One Book One Nebraska” selection The Meaning of Names, who will discuss her novel and sign copies of her book. Other activities include an invitational art exhibit, Summer Snow: A Celebration of Landscape, as well as an artists’ reception; music of the World War I-era and dance instructors Nick Hernandez and Maja Peci teaching the basics dance steps from the 1910s; a World War I luncheon, featuring recipes designed to help the war effort; showing of a WWI documentary; Telling War Stories: The Rhetoric of the Great War, a curated exhibit featuring the objects and texts of the war era, including six paintings on loan from the Herbert Hoover Presidential Library and Museum; visits to historic Cather sites; WWI-era poetry and drama readings; and a concluding banquet and Keep the Home Fires Burning, a performance of music of the Great War, by Sarah Young.

Founded in 1955 and headquartered in Red Cloud, the Willa Cather Foundation is a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit organization dedicated to promoting the legacy of Pulitzer Prize-winning author Willa Cather through education, historic preservation, and the arts. The conference keynote, select panel discussions, and all exhibits are free and open to the public through the support of Humanities Nebraska, the Nebraska Arts Council, and the Nebraska Cultural Endowment. For more information, visit or call toll-free 866-731-7304.