I don’t know how Random House got around the legal issues, but for the first time a selection of Willa Cather’s letters is going to be published!

For decades scholars have bemoaned the fact that in her will, Willa Cather forbade the publication of her letters. Some believe that this restriction has had a negative impact on scholarship as well as on popular enthusiasm for Cather’s works. It has certainly withheld from the public a more well-rounded understanding of this great American writer.

The expected publication date is April 16, 2013

A literary event: the first publication of one of America’s most consistently admired and studied writers. Willa Cather, wanting only her work to speak for her, clearly forbade the publication of her letters in her will. But now, over sixty-five years after her death, her literary reputation as secure as a reputation can be, the letters have become available for publication. Here then are 564 letters, nearly 20 percent of the entire cache, from the funny reports of 1880s Red Cloud life she wrote as a teenager, through her college years at the University of Nebraska, her time as a journalist, then novelist, in Pittsburgh and New York, to the letters of the 1940s when she despaired of her aging body and the events of WWII. The voice is strikingly consistent with the voice of her fiction: confident, elegant, detailed, open-hearted, concerned with profound ideas, but at the same time unfiltered, full of small fibs, emotional outbursts, inconsistencies, and the joys and sorrows of the moment. A deep pleasure to read, this volume is certain to find an excited audience among scholars and readers alike.

The publication of this book will be a boon for readers and scholars of Willa Cather and you can bet I’ll be standing out front of my local bookstore the morning this book releases to get my copy.

The Selected Letters of Willa Cather 
Edited by Andrew Jewell and Janis Stout
Random House/Knopf, expected April 16, 2013
Hardcover, $37.50
ISBN: 0307959309 (ISBN13: 9780307959300)


  1. Right? And today I just came across news that there's going to be a mystery novel published in January featuring Willa and Edith Lewis as amateur sleuths. It's a great time to be a Cather fan! Well, perhaps other than when she was a live and there was actually a chance of meeting her. 😉

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