Author Megan Mayhew Bergman Discusses "Fiction as an Agent of Social Change" at Southern Vermont College

November 14, 2012

Author Megan Mayhew Bergman delivered a lecture, entitled “Fiction as an Agent of Social Change,” at Southern Vermont College on Tuesday, December 4, 2012. Free and open to the public, the lecture took place in the College’s Everett Theatre at 2:10 p.m.

“Many – if not nearly all – novels present some form of social critique,” according to Bergman, “though some works tackle social issues in more overt fashion.” In her lecture, Bergman discussed the importance and risks of writing socially-conscious work. She addressed questions about why authors take on social issues, how, and to what varying levels of success, and she asked what aspiring writers might need to keep in mind for socially-conscious works. A reception and book signing followed in the Burgdorff Gallery, where attendees spoke with Bergman who will also signed copies of her recently released book, Birds of a Lesser Paradise. This event was the second lecture in the College’s 2012-2013 “Look Within, See Beyond: Stories of Empowerment and Change” Lecture Series.

A former member of SVC’s composition faculty and Bennington College's literature faculty, Bergman’s short stories have twice been nominated for the Pushcart Prize. Her stories have appeared in The New York Times, Best American Short Stories 2011, New Stories from the South 2010, Oxford American, Narrative, Ploughshares, One Story, and elsewhere.

Raised in Rocky Mount, N.C., Bergman now lives on a small farm in Shaftsbury, Vt., and teaches literature at Bennington College. In 2007, Bergman received a fellowship from the Millay Colony for the Arts, and she has been a fiction scholar at Bread Loaf. After writing Birds of a Lesser Paradise, Bergman said, “I wanted to explore modern motherhood, the pull of biology on our lives, and our relationship with animals. The stories take place in urban gardens, veterinary clinics, Southern diners, prison farms, swamps, and the coast of Maine. It’s a book for animal lovers, people with a sense of humor, mothers and daughters.”

Among the lectures in the series, take special note that, on Tuesday, February 12, Vermont Poet Laureate Sydney Lea will deliver a lecture, entitled “Poetry: Another Way of Knowing.” For more information on  lectures, contact SVC’s Office of Communications at 802-447-6388 or