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.

Go to Phase I

Go to Phase II

Read with me: How it works

The Willa Cather Short Story Project on

Phase I

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.

Reading schedule for Phase I:

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
Five Stories by Willa Cather Book cover design by Alvin Lustig (Source: Cooper Hewitt Collection)
Book cover design by Alvin Lustig (Source: Cooper Hewitt Collection)

Phase II

Phase II: Short Fiction on the Willa Cather Archive

We’re going digital for Phase II and will read Cather’s uncollected short fiction on the Willa Cather Archive. An “uncollected” story just means it was not included in a published book collection of short stories during Cather’s lifetime.

All of the stories currently listed on the WCA’s short fiction page were published in magazines or journals. Some date back to Cather’s writing as a student at the University of Nebraska. If you look at the complete list of stories on the archive, you’ll notice they do include stories we read in Phase I. If you have the time, it might be interesting to re-read those stories again to see the development of Cather’s themes and writing style.

Reading schedule for Phase II

Feel free to join in for one, some, or all of these stories:

  1. January 2021 “Lou, the Prophet”
  2. February 2021 “Peter”
  3. March 2021 “A Tale of the White Pyramid”
  4. April 2021 “The Son of the Celestial”
  5. May 2021 “The Elopement of Allen Poole”
  6. June 2021 “The Clemency of the Court”
  7. July 2021 “The Fear that Walks by Noonday”
  8. August 2021 “On the Divide”
  9. September 2021 “A Night at Greenway Court”
  10. October 2021 “The Princess Baladina—Her Adventure”
  11. November 2021 “Tommy, the Unsentimental”
  12. December 2021 “The Count of Crow’s Nest” (Parts I and II)
  13. January 2022 “Wee Winkie’s Wanderings”
  14. February 2022 “The Burglar’s Christmas” (signed “Elizabeth L. Seymour”)
  15. March 2022 “The Strategy of the Were-Wolf Dog”
  16. April 2022 “A Resurrection”
  17. May 2022 “The Prodigies”
  18. June 2022 “Nanette: An Aside”
  19. July 2022 “The Way of the World”
  20. August 2022 “The West Bound Train”
  21. September 2022 “Eric Hermannson’s Soul”
  22. October 2022 “The Dance at Chevalier’s (signed “Henry Nicklemann”)
  23. November 2022 “The Sentimentality of William Tavener”
  24. December 2022 “The Affair at Grover Station” (Parts I and II)
  25. January 2023 “A Singer’s Romance”
  26. February 2023 “The Conversion of Sum Loo”
  27. March 2023 “Jack-a-Boy”
  28. April 2023 “El Dorado: A Kansas Recessional”
  29. May 2023 “The Professor’s Commencement”
  30. June 2023 “The Treasure of Far Island”
  31. July 2023 “The Namesake”
  32. August 2023 “The Profile”
  33. September 2023 “The Willing Muse”
  34. October 2023 “Eleanor’s House”
  35. November 2023 “On the Gulls’ Road”
  36. December 2023 “The Joy of Nelly Deane” 
  37. January 2024 “Behind the Singer Tower”
  38. February 2024 “The Bohemian Girl”
  39. March 2024 “Consequences”
  40. April 2024 “The Bookkeeper’s Wife” 
  41. May 2024 “Ardessa” 
  42. June 2024 “Her Boss”

How it works

Read with 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, whatever that looks like for you.

Happy reading!

16 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
  7. August 2020 Reminder for The Willa Cather Short Story Project • Chris Wolak
  8. Phase II of the Willa Cather Short Story Project • Chris Wolak
  9. "Lou, The Prophet" Response Post #WCSSP2 • Chris Wolak
  10. Reading Notes (supplemental), 2/26/21 | The Writerly Reader
  11. "A Tale of the White Pyramid." March 2021 Reminder • Willa Cather Short Story Project • Chris Wolak
  12. "A Tale of the White Pyramid" Response Post WCSSP2 • Chris Wolak
  13. "A Son of the Celestial" Willa Cather Short Story Project • April 2021 Reminder • Chris Wolak
  14. Reading Notes, supplemental (5/27/2021) | The Writerly Reader
  15. "The Elopement of Allen Poole" • June 2021 Reminder • Willa Cather Short Story Project
  16. "The Clemency of the Court" • July 2021 Reminder • Willa Cather Short Story Project • Chris Wolak

What do you think? Leave a comment and let's talk!

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: