Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Heather Brittain Bergstrom

Heather Brittain Bergstrom has won fiction awards from The Atlantic Monthly, The Chicago Tribune, Narrative Magazine, and others, and a story was named a distinguished and notable story for The Best American Short Stories in 2010. Her short fiction has been published in several literary journals and anthologies. She holds an MFA in creative writing.

Bergstrom's new book is Steal the North, her debut novel. From a Q & A at the author's website:

Q: Your protagonist’s mother runs away from her hometown and the fundamentalist Baptist Church. Do you have a personal connection to the church?

A: I grew up in two different Baptist churches, the second one being far more fundamentalist. I have many anecdotes. I remember, as a teenager, rafting down the Snake River in a long dress. Girls weren’t allowed to wear pants, let alone swimsuits, even for outdoor activities. Each year on the Fourth of July, families gathered at the church to watch apocalyptic movies. I was educated through the tenth grade in an unaccredited basement academy by deacons’ wives, some of whom, like my mom, hadn’t even finished high school themselves. Students were instructed to circle the church should state or federal agents try to close down our school. For a while our church became paranoid of devil worship (it was the 1980s after all). Signs and symbols became evil: McDonald’s golden arches, Proctor & Gamble’s astrological logo, and so forth. A segment of our church didn’t believe in going to the doctor for any reason. My parents weren’t part of this segment. We weren’t allowed to own a TV, radio or secular books. The public library was as off limits as the movie theatre—in part because of the atheist manifestoes and pornography that supposedly lined its shelves, but also because by the door was a totem pole. I snuck to see E.T. with a cousin when I was a young teenager and literally feared...[read on]
Visit Heather Brittain Bergstrom's website and Facebook page.

The Page 69 Test: Steal the North.

Writers Read: Heather Brittain Bergstrom.

--Marshal Zeringue