‘My Ántonia’ 100 years later: Events to explore themes of novel in today’s culture

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‘My Ántonia’ 100 years later: Events to explore themes of novel in today’s culture

Cather Illustration
The Willa Cather Archive with the Willa Cather Foundation is planning a yearlong series of events to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the publication of 'My Ántonia.' The illustration is from the first printing of the novel in 1918.

Willa Cather’s seminal “My Ántonia” was published Sept. 21, 1918, and cemented her as an American literary giant.

In celebration of the book’s 100th anniversary, the University of Nebraska-Lincoln’s Willa Cather Archive has partnered with the Willa Cather Foundation and a handful of community organizations to host events throughout the year across the state.

Willa Cather

Andrew Jewell, editor of the archive and professor of University Libraries, said each event will revisit a theme from the book that is relevant to society in the present and will feature a variety of formats, from a panel discussion on religious differences to a tour of the prairie depicted in many of Cather’s books. Each event is named with a quote from the book, and the themes and formats were chosen by Jewell and Emily Rau, assistant editor of the archive, in conjunction with the community partners helping to host across the state. The series is supported by a grant from Humanities Nebraska.

The purpose is not only to promote the study of Cather’s life and works within the larger community, Jewell and Rau said, but also to highlight the continued relevance of “My Ántonia” as a story that confronts contemporary issues, including immigration, religious difference, gender, class and environmental preservation.

“The issues that concerned her still concern us,” Jewell said.

The first event, “The prayers of all good people are good: Human Connection Across Religious Difference,” is a panel discussion, and is slated for 7 p.m. Feb. 1 at the Trinity Episcopal Cathedral, 113 N. 18th St., in Omaha.

All events are open to the general public, but may require admittance fee and registration. More information on each event can be found here. The following is a list of events:

  • “Legends and stories nestled like birds in its branches”: The Changing Ecology of the Great Plains, March 23 and April 7, Iain Nicolson Audubon Center at Rowe Sanctuary, Gibbon.

  • “Black Hawk, the new world in which we had come to live”: Stories from the Red Cloud community, coinciding with the Willa Cather Foundation’s 63rd annual Willa Cather Spring Conference, May 31-June 2, National Willa Cather Center in Red Cloud

  • “She was nearly as strong as I”: Being Woman in the Workplace, Aug. 8, 2018, co-hosted by the Panhandle Business and Professional Women, Scotts Bluff Country Club, 5014 Ave. I, Scottsbluff.

  • “What a tableful we were at supper”: My Ántonia Birthday Feast, Sept. 21, co-hosted with Community Crops, Peter Pan Park, north 33rd St., in Lincoln.

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