Cather Short Stories

The Willa Cather Short Story Project

In addition to being a Pulitzer Prize-winning novelist, Willa Cather also wrote short stories. Over the years I’ve read some of her short stories but never seem to follow-through on reading as many as I’d like to (which is ALL OF THEM).

So, I’m setting out to read one short story a month beginning in February 2019. I’d love to have the company of other readers on this reading journey — for the whole thing, or dipping in here and there.

The Willa Cather Short Story Project on

Phase I: Reading the Vintage Classics Collected Stories

The initial goal is to read the 20 stories in the Vintage Classics edition of Cather’s short stories. Most of the stories in this collection are those Cather published in book form.

Table of contents/reading schedule:

First edition of The Troll Garden by Willa Cather with dust jacket
First edition with dust jacket


Youth and the Bright Medusa by Willa Cather
First edition with dust jacket


First edition with dust jacket


The Old Beauty And Others, first edition with dust jacket



  • The Enchanted Bluff, July 2020 (reminder)|(response)
  • Tom Outland’s Story, August 2020 (reminder)|(response)
  • Willa Cather’s Unfinished Avignon Story, an article by George N. Kates, September 2020 (reminder)|(response)

Phase II: Short Fiction on the Willa Cather Archive & Library of America

After the initial portion of this goal is finished in September 2020, We’ll turn to Cather’s short fiction collected on the Willa Cather Archive (WCA) website. There are currently 57 entries on the site going back to Cather’s writing as a student at the University of Nebraska. In fact, many of the stories listed above are presented in full on the WCA so you can read them online. I’ll also consult the Library of America Series No 57 which includes Cather’s uncollected stories. I’ll create a new reading list/schedule from these two resources.

Isn’t it curious that both of these resources involve the number 57? Considering I’ll turn 57 in 2023, perhaps that is the year I’ll finish this reading project.

What to join me?

I’ll post a reminder of which story to read on the second Wednesday of the month and will aim to provide some background or context for the story. Then on the fourth Wednesday of the month, I’ll post my response to reading the story and invite you to share your thoughts in the comments or leave a link to your comments if you write a blog post. (You do not have to have a blog to participate.)

Or don’t join me! Go full steam ahead and read all of Cather’s short fiction at a fast clip. The point is to read Willa Cather with pleasure for yourself.

Happy reading!

6 replies


  1. May Reminder! The Willa Cather Short Story Project #4: Coming, Aphrodite! • Chris Wolak
  2. June Reminder! The Willa Cather Short Story Project #5: The Diamond Mine • Chris Wolak
  3. 2020 Reading Plans • Chris Wolak
  4. April 2020 Reminder for the Willa Cather Short Story Project • Chris Wolak
  5. May 2020 Reminder for The Willa Cather Short Story Project • Chris Wolak
  6. Join me at the First Ever Virtual Willa Cather Spring Conference! • Chris Wolak

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