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American Inspiration Author Series

Benjamin Taylor with Chasing Bright Medusas: A Life of Willa Cather

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With support from: Lowell Institute
Date and time
Tuesday, January 09, 2024
6:00pm - 7:00pm Add to Calendar

Celebrating one of America’s greatest female novelists, this biography brings to life Willa Cather -- her artistry and endurance, her immigrant family and the prairies on they lived, and her trailblazing success as a journalist and writer.

In the early 20th century, Willa Cather leapt into the forefront of American letters with the publication of her novels O Pioneers! (1913), The Song of the Lark (1915), and My Antonia (1918). At the time, she was well into middle age. Her success followed years of working in journalism in Nebraska, brief spells of teaching, and editorial work on magazines. Chasing Bright Medusas is her story told by of another mature and highly accomplished writer, the award-winning biographer Benjamin Taylor, a lifelong lover of Willa Cather’s work. Taylor’s elegant exploration of her artistic endurance and of her early years and family, bring us back in time to portray vividly the challenges of being an immigrant family, a woman, and a literary trailblazer -- one the greatest authors of the twentieth century.

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Benjamin Taylor received a 2021 Award of the American Academy of Arts and Letters. His memoir 'Here We Are' was published by Penguin Books in May 2020. His previous memoir, 'The Hue and Cry at Our House', received the 2018 Los Angeles Times/Christopher Isherwood Prize and was named a New York Times Editors’ Choice; his 'Proust: The Search' was named a Best Book of 2016 by Thomas Mallon in The New York Times Book Review and by Robert McCrum in The Observer (London). Taylor is a past fellow and current trustee of the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation and serves as president of the Edward F. Albee Foundation.
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Mary Beth Norton is the Mary Donlon Alger Professor of American History Emerita at Cornell University. Her highly acclaimed books include '1774, In the Devil’s Snare', 'Founding Mothers & Fathers', 'Liberty’s Daughters', and 'The British-Americans'.

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