Cather Weekend on Governors Island
August 19-20, 2017
The Willa Cather Foundation (WCF) is partnering with the Empire State Center for the Book in New York to present exciting programming related to renowned author and former New York resident Willa Cather. Join us to learn more about the WCF’s new museum and archive, the National Willa Cather Center, as well as our programs, events, and publications. We’ll be offering Willa Cather books and other merchandise as special giveaways. Information on a self-guided walking tour of Cather’s New York City will also be available throughout the weekend. You can find the WCF at Governors Island Quarters 4B – Nolan Park, from 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. on Saturday, August 19 and Sunday, August 20.
Saturday, August 19th
11:30 p.m. – Willa Cather’s Life in Letters
When Willa Cather was nine years old, her family moved from Virginia to Nebraska. Early years in Webster County and in Red Cloud did much to shape the life and imagination of Willa Cather. Through short excerpts from her letters, guests will discover Cather’s life through her own words. We begin with a curious young girl on the plains of Nebraska, embark on her quest to establish herself professionally in Pittsburgh and New York, and listen as she later reflects on all her worldly success.
1:30 p.m. – Willa Cather, Poet: Making Herself Born
Before Willa Cather went on to write the novels that would make her famous, she made a mark as a poet. Her first book, April Twilights (1903), was a collection of poetry and her poems were published and reprinted in national magazines and in anthologies. Cather significantly revised and expanded her first book in a 1923 edition entitled April Twilights and Other Poems. This presentation by Cather scholar Robert Thacker will draw on readings of her poems and short excerpts from her letters. We will share “new” Cather poems that were published in the Everyman’s Library Pocket Poet series of April Twilights and Other Poems.
2:30 p.m. – Selected Readings from The Song of the Lark
The Song of the Lark (1915) is the story of an artist’s growth and development from childhood to maturity. More particularly—and decidedly more rarely—it traces the development of a female artist supported by a series of male characters willing to serve her career. Inspired by Willa Cather’s own development as a novelist and by the career of an opera diva, The Song of the Lark examines the themes of the artist’s relationship with family and society, themes that would appear in virtually all of Cather’s fiction.
3:30 p.m. – Selected Readings from My Ántonia
Willa Cather’s My Ántonia (1918) is one of the most significant American novels of the twentieth century. Set during the great migration west to settle the plains of the North American continent, the narrative follows Antonia Shimerda, a pioneer who comes to Nebraska as a child and grows with the country, inspiring a childhood friend, Jim Burden, to write her life story. The novel is important both for its literary aesthetic and as a portrayal of important aspects of American social ideals and history, particularly the centrality of migration to American culture.
Sunday, August 20th
11:30 a.m. Willa Cather’s Life in Letters
1:30 p.m. Selected Readings from The Song of the Lark
2:30 p.m. Selected Readings from My Ántonia
Visit www.WillaCather.org to learn more or call 402-746-2653.