April 1: Megan Mayhew Bergman lecture, “Almost Famous Women”

The fascinating lives of the characters in “Almost Famous Women” have mostly been forgotten, but their stories are burning to be told. Nearly every story in this dazzling collection is based on a woman who attained some celebrity–she raced speed boats or was a conjoined twin in show business; a reclusive painter of renown; a member of the first all-female, integrated swing band. We see Lord Byron’s illegitimate daughter, Allegra; Oscar Wilde’s troubled niece, Dolly; “West With the Night” author Beryl Markham; Edna St. Vincent Millay’s sister, Norma. These extraordinary stories travel the world, explore the past (and delve into the future), and portray fiercely independent women defined by their acts of bravery, creative impulses, and sometimes reckless decisions.

The world hasn’t always been kind to unusual women, but through Megan Mayhew Bergman’s alluring depictions they finally receive the attention they deserve. “Almost Famous Women” is a gorgeous collection from an “accomplished writer of short fiction”