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The Art of the Short Story: Megan Mayhew Bergman on How Strange a Season with Leigh Newman

March 31, 2022

Award-winning author Megan Mayhew Bergman (Almost Famous Women, Birds of a Lesser Paradise) returns with an evocative and engrossing collection about women experiencing life’s challenges and beauty. In How Strange a Season, Bergman portrays women who wrestle with problematic inheritances: a modern glass house on a treacherous California cliff, a water-starved ranch, and an abandoned plantation on a river near Charleston. Author and editor Leigh Newman, who writes about women navigating the wilds of male-dominated Alaskan society in her exhilarating debut collection, Nobody Gets Out Alive, joined Bergman for a discussion of short story craft and our turbulent, intimate relationship to the natural world.

Photos by Kelsie Lynn Bennett

In Conversation

  • Megan Mayhew Bergman_by Nina Subin - Eliana Cohen-Orth

    Megan Mayhew Bergman

    Megan Mayhew Bergman

    Megan Mayhew Bergman is the author of Almost Famous Women and Birds of a Lesser Paradise. Her short fiction has appeared in two volumes of The Best American Short Stories and on NPR’s Selected Shorts. She has written columns on climate change and the natural world for the Guardian and the Paris Review. Her work has been featured in the New York Times, the New Yorker, Tin House, Ploughshares, Oxford American, Orion, and elsewhere. She teaches literature and environmental writing at Middlebury College, where she also serves as director of the Bread Loaf Environmental Writers’ Conference. She lives on a small farm in Vermont.

    Photo Credit: Nina Subin

  • Leigh Newman_by Nina Subin - Eliana Cohen-Orth

    Leigh Newman

    Leigh Newman

    Leigh Newman is the author of Still Points North, a memoir about growing up in Alaska which was a finalist for the National Book Critic Circle’s John Leonard Prize. Her stories have appeared in Harper’s, the Paris Review, Tin House, McSweeny’s Quarterly Concern, One Story, and Electric Literature. In 2020, she was awarded the Paris Review’s Terry Southern Prize, a Best American Short Story, a Pushcart Prize, and an American Society of Magazine Editors’ Fiction Prize for her work in the Paris Review. Previously, she cofounded the indie press Black Balloon/Catapult where she still works as editor-at-large. Her essays, book reviews and general musings have appeared in the New York Times; Bookforum; Vogue; Real Simple; O, the Oprah Magazine; and other publications.

    Photo Credit: Nina Subin