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Though she was born in Philadelphia, Mildred Walker did much
for Nebraska. She was educated at Wells College (BA) and the University of
Michigan (MA), where she won the Hopwood Award.
She was a highly regarded
chronicler of the modern American West and New England. Her novels,
which were very popular in the 50's and 60's, have been reissued as Bison
Books from the
University of Nebraska Press, several edited and introduced
by poet Ripley Hugo, widow of Richard Hugo. She once said,
"I began writing in my early teens and by now it has become a
way of life. Growing up in a parsonage, surrounded by books
(and sermons) made me aware of the
excitement and power of words and drew me inevitably toward
writing. ... Some inborn sense of
'place' moved me to try to show, in narrative form, the effect of the
natural world on human beings."
Of her work, writer Charlotte
Zoe Walker (no relation) says, "Her novel Winter Wheat is a
classic, a bit in the vein of Cather's My Antonia.
But my favorites are If a Lion Could Talk
(about the relationship between a missionary and a
community of Indians), and The Body of a Young Man."
Mildred Walker lived in Portland, Oregon, where
she passed away May 27, 1998.