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Mildred Bennett Award

About the Award

Mildred Bennett

The Mildred Bennett Award recognizes an individual who has made a significant contribution to the fostering of the literary tradition in Nebraska. Its purpose is to remind us all of the literary and intellectual traditions that enrich our lives and mold our world. The Mildred Bennett Award is presented at the Nebraska Book Festival or the Celebration of Nebraska Books/Annual Meeting of the Nebraska Center for the Book.


Please nominate now for the 2024 Mildred Bennett Award. The deadline is August 15, 2024. Nominations received after the deadline will be considered for the 2025 Mildred Bennett Award. Individuals are welcome to nominate themselves.

To submit a nomination please use the Mildred Bennett Award Nomination Form


The award was first presented in 1991 by the Nebraska Center for the Book on the occasion of the first Nebraska Literature Festival. The award recognized inspired leadership and service on behalf of Nebraska literature, highlighting how the recipient follows the example of Mildred Bennett. The award seeks to heighten awareness and interest in Nebraska’s literary heritage and to enrich the lives of Nebraskans and readers everywhere.


Willa Cather Foundation, – Mildred Bennett, the charismatic founder and long-time President of the Willa Cather Pioneer Memorial and Educational Foundation, could have literally stepped out of a Willa Cather novel. Like some of Cather’s heroines, Mildred was a strong, fiercely independent, intelligent woman, who loved the land and planted her roots deeply in the soil of Webster County, Nebraska. Mildred Bennett, during her lifetime, was recognized as a foremost authority on Willa Cather by literary organizations and universities across the land. Her research and voluminous correspondence with scholars world wide are an important part of the growing archives related to Cather and the early immigrant experiences and history that is held by the Willa Cather Foundation. Willa Cather’s letters and many Cather family possessions continue to be added to this auspicious and growing collection.

Award Recipients

Go to the comprehensive list of winners, dating back to 1991.

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