Willa Cather: December Author Birthday

Author Willa Cather, born on Dec 7, 1873, is considered one of the 20th century’s greatest writers. Explore some of her novels, read more about this influential author, or check out some “read-alike” books if you enjoy her writing.

Novels by Willa Cather | About Willa Cather | Read-Alikes

Novels by Willa Cather

O Pioneers! book jacket

O Pioneers!, Willa Cather’s second novel, depicts the life of Alexandra Bergson, the daughter of Swedish immigrant farmers. A strong woman, she struggles to save her farm in Nebraska in this realistic portrayal of prairie life at the turn of the 20th century.

Another classic, My Ántonia tells the story of Ántonia’s life on the Nebraska prairie as told by her childhood friend, Jim. An immigrant, Antonia matures into a strong and courageous woman with the pioneer spirit, surviving hardship and betrayal.

One of Ours won the Pulitzer Prize in 1923. This novel by Cather explores the life of Claude Wheeler, a Nebraska farm boy alienated from his family. He enlists during World War I and ends up on the bloody battlefields of France.

Willa Cather wrote other novels, short stories, and poetry. Find more of Cather's books in the library.

About Willa Cather

 A Pictorial Memoir book jacket

Willa Cather: A Pictorial Memoir by Lucia Woods and Bernice Slote depicts Cather’s life through images. Over 160 illustrations and photographs are here, including original photos commissioned for this book, family pictures, and archival materials.

In Willa Cather: Double Lives, Hermione Lee writes about Cather’s life and work, exploring the complexities and conflicts in these two realms.

Janis P. Stout places the author in cultural context in Willa Cather: The Writer and Her World. The author combines biography with textual analysis to examine this important writer.


The Living book jacket

If you like to read Willa Cather’s work, check out some of these novels with similar themes.

Set in the Pacific Northwest during the late nineteenth century, The Living by Pulitzer Prize-winner Annie Dillard depicts two pioneer families struggling to survive frontier life.

In The Country of the Pointed Firs, published in 1896, Sarah Orne Jewett tells the story of a female writer seeking seclusion in a small coastal town in Maine. Vibrant in its depiction of the culture and dialect of New England at the time, this book is considered Jewett’s masterpiece.

Kent Haruf depicts modern small-town life on the prairie in Plainsong. This New York Times Notable Book covers the lives of seven residents of Holt, Colorado – two high school teachers, two young brothers, a pregnant teenage girl, and two bachelor farmers. Over the course of one year, these people face their problems, from school bullies to separation to loneliness and undergo great changes.