Willa Sibert Cather

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Willa Sibert Cather was an early twentieth century writer. She wrote about the qualities of courage, sensitivity, and perseverance. Most often, her novels and short stories took place in rural townships. She was born sometime in 1873, in her grandmother's house. She was named after an Aunt Willela who had died; however, she chose to believe that her name was derived from her grandparent's names. She was the first child of Charles Fectigue and Mary Cather. Willa was the oldest of the seven children.

In 1877, Willa and her family moved out of Virginia to Nebraska. The Cather family had been living in Virginia for four generations. When she was nine, her father bought a ranch near Red Cloud, Nebraska. Willa was excited with this change, because she was free to roam outdoors. Willa would often listen to old ladies, and hear of their immigration from Bosnia and Sweden. There were no schools near the ranch, so Willa studied at home.

A neighbor taught her Latin, and Willa would practice English skills by reading the classics to her grandmother. When Willa was in her teens, the family moved out of the ranch and into the village, where she attended Red Cloud High School. She attended the University of Nebraska, and graduated in 1895. As a student she worked as a journalist, copy editor, critic, and fiction writer. When she graduated, she moved back east to Pennsylvania. It was here where she worked on a Pittsburgh newspaper named The Library. She also taught English in a high school. Willa published 'The Dance at Chevalier's,' and four other short stories under a pen name of Henry Nicklemann. Another major publication for her was in April 1900, when 'Eric Hermannson's Soul,' was published in Cosmopolitan magazines. In 1903, The April Twilights, a collection...