QS Book Club – April 7, 2014

Monday, April 7, 2014

Willa Cather: Sapphira and the Slave Girl presented by Linda Spalding.

One of the great twentieth century American writers (My Antonia, Death Comes to the Archbishop, etc.,) Cather had a Canadian association, as for many years she lived for the summer months in New Brunswick. Sapphira and the Slave Girl is Cather’s last novel.

Our presenter, Quadrangle member Linda Spalding, is the author of six books of  fiction and non-fiction and her most recent novel, The Purchase, which is also in part about slavery, won the 2012 Governor General’s Literary Award for fiction.

Linda writes, “As a midwesterner, I’ve always been interested in Willa Cather, and was delighted when Ramsay invited me to speak about one of her books. I had not known about her last novel, Sapphira and the Slave Girl, nor had I known that Cather was born in Virginia and lived there as a child before moving to Nebraska with her parents. Having written a book (The Purchase) about the landscape of slavery in antebellum Virginia, I was intrigued and bought a copy of Sapphira. I must say it isn’t one of her finest, but it is an interesting study in many ways, particularly for the time it was written – 1940. I gather it is based on a family story, and, while it may make us uncomfortable in places, I hope the book club will be intrigued by it. ”


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