63rd Annual Willa Cather Spring Conference (Red Cloud)
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“Here at Last is an American Novel”: Celebrating 100 Years of My Ántonia RED CLOUD, NE | MAY 31–JUNE 2, 2018

5/31/2018 to 6/2/2018
When: Thursday, May 31, 2018
Where: National Willa Cather Center
413 North Webster Street
Red Cloud

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“Here at Last is an American Novel”: Celebrating 100 Years of My Ántonia

RED CLOUD, NE | MAY 31–JUNE 2, 2018

When critic Randolph Bourne heralded My Ántonia as the arrival of the “American novel,” in 1918, he could not have known the many ways the novel would remain relevant to today’s American experience. As we celebrate the centennial anniversary of My Ántonia’s publication, we invite paper proposals that examine the life and writings of Willa Cather with a focus on My Ántonia and its reputation as a most “American novel.”

As we examine My Ántonia's legacy during its centenary, the Willa Cather Foundation is pleased to welcome Nina McConigley as our keynote speaker. McConigley is the author of the story collection Cowboys and East Indians, which won the 2014 PEN Open Book Award and a High Plains Book Award. She was born in Singapore and grew up in Wyoming. She holds an MFA from the University of Houston and an MA from the University of Wyoming. McConigley was named by Glamour Magazine as one of "50 Phenomenal Women Making a Difference" in 2014, and her book was named one of 2014's Best Prize Winning Books by O, Oprah Magazine. She has been a fellow at the Bread Loaf Writers' Conference and has been nominated for a Pushcart Prize and for The Best New American Voices. Her work has appeared in The New York Times, Orion, Salon, Virginia Quarterly Review, American Short Fiction, and The Asian American Literary Review among others. She lives in Laramie, Wyoming, and teaches at the University of Wyoming and at the Warren Wilson MFA Program for Writers.

Saturday evening, we look forward our conference banquet and to a Red Cloud Opera House performance by John Reed-Torres, a self-taught, against the grain pianist and composer born and raised in South-Central Los Angeles. In fifth grade, an ice cream wagon rolled by, playing Scott Joplin's "The Entertainer." Reed-Torres was hooked and began teaching himself piano. Since his performance beginnings in front of friends and family, he has become nationally known as a performer and composer. He has performed in Old Town Music Hall and Orange County Ragtime Society, the West Coast Ragtime Festival, the Blind Boone Festival, and the Sutter Creek Ragtime Festival.  In Red Cloud, we are looking forward to Reed-Torres performance of the works of John William "Blind" Boone," a program which will be fashioned after the late-1880s programs given by Boone throughout the Midwest, including in the Red Cloud Opera House. Saturday night banquet and performance are sold as a separate ticket! 

We're also planning a number of experiences, activities, and surprises—including parlor games, music from around the world, kolache-making, exhibits from our museum collection, and so much more! Please join us!