© 2023 Iowa Public Radio
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations
89.1 KNSZ (Ottumwa) and 91.1 KICW (Ottumwa) are off air due to a power outage.

Willa Cather's classic novel was both ahead of its time and of its time

Published in 1918, Willa Cather's My Antonia, tells the story of Antonia Shimmerda, the daughter of Bohemian, or Czech, immigrants to the United States. The family moves into a sod house on a farm outside of Red Cloud, Nebraska where they struggle to survive. We follow Antonia through her childhood on the farm, working as a hired girl in town, and later as a wife and mother.

In this episode of the Talk of Iowa Book Club, host Charity Nebbe is joined by expert readers to discuss the book's descriptions of the Nebraska plains, observations of the immigrant families that were drawn to the area, and the prejudices and class differences at play in these small towns.


  • Cecilia Rokusek, Director and CEO of the National Czech & Slovak Museum and Library in Cedar Rapids
  • Melissa Homestead, Professor of English at the University of Nebraska and director of the Cather Project 
  • Leo Landis, State Curator, State Historical Society of Iowa 
Charity Nebbe is the host of IPR's Talk of Iowa
Matthew was a producer for IPR's River to River and Talk of Iowa