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Starkville Reads to present three programs on “My Antonia”

May 17, 2011

For Starkville Daily News

This June, Starkville Reads will present three programs on Willa Cather’s novel “My Antonia.” All are open to the public free of charge and will take place at the Starkville Public Library.
On June 14 at 7 p.m., Dr. Courtney Bates will present “Becoming Cather’s Ideal Reader,” a discussion of Cather’s biography, her works as a whole, and this particular novel. She recently published an article entitled “The fan letter correspondence of Willa Cather: Challenging the Divide between professional and common reader.” She received a B.A. degree at Mount Holyoke College and a Ph.D. in English with a focus on Cather, Twain, and other writers of the late 19th and early 20th centuries from Washington University in St. Louis, Mo. In the fall of 2011, she will be a faculty member in the English Department at Findlay College in Findlay, Ohio.
On June 21 at 7 p.m., Dr. Bonnie O’Neill will lead an interactive discussion of “My Antonia”; those attending are encouraged to read the novel and bring questions and comments. Dr. O’Neill received a B.A. from Hamilton College and a M.A. and Ph.D. from Washington University. She is an Assistant Professor of English in the MSU English Department. She has published essays on Ralph Waldo Emerson, Walt Whitman, and Fanny Fern and is currently working on a book examining the interrelationships of celebrity, teaching, and authorship in 19th century America. In 2008 she was a panelist for a Starkville Reads program on Jack London’s “Call of the Wild.”
On June 29 at 10:30 a.m., Dr. Noel Polk will lead an interactive discussion of the novel; those attending are encouraged to read it and bring questions and comments. Dr. Polk, Professor Emeritus of English at MSU, is editor of the “Mississippi Quarterly” and is a well-known scholar on the works of William Faulkner and Eudora Welty. Among his books are “Children of the Dark House: Text and Context in Faulkner”; “Eudora Welty: A Bibliography; and Faulkner and Welty and the Southern Literary Tradition.” A member of the board of Starkville Reads, he has presented various programs for the organization.
Starkville Reads has donated numerous copies of “My Antonia” to the Starkville Public Library, Starkville High School, and the Senior Center, where they may be checked out. The novel is also available for purchase at Book Mart and at Barnes & Noble.
Starkville Reads is grateful for grants from the Starkville Rotary Club, the Starkville Area Arts Council, and the City of Starkville and for individuals who contribute in support of our programs. Those wishing to make a tax-deductible contribution may mail a check to Starkville Reads, P.O. Box 80100, Starkville, MS 39759.
For further information on the organization or on the three programs on Cather’s works, visit

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