Biography

Lynn Stegner

Lynn Stegner was born in Seattle, Washington, spending her earliest years in an orphanage. For the most part, she grew up in northern California where she attended the Convent of the Sacred Heart in Menlo Park, and later the University of California, Santa Cruz, from which she graduated with highest honors in the field of Literature with an emphasis in Creative Writing. For several years, she worked as a wine consultant and marketing representative in the California fine wine industry, studying in France through her employment with a San Francisco-based company. Subsequently, she and a colleague started their own company ‑ marketing, distributing, importing, and producing wine ‑ with offices in the Monterey/Santa Cruz area.

In 1986 she married the novelist, historian, and essayist, Page Stegner, and two years later gave birth to their daughter, Allison, now a newly minted paleoecologist. With the publication of her first novel in 1991, Lynn sold her share of the wine company in order to cut down to two fulltime jobs, mother and writer. The family left California in 1999 and moved to Vermont where they have long owned a summer home. But the West proved too strong a magnet—as attachment and identity—and within several years they returned, first to Santa Fe, New Mexico, and finally to San Francisco.

In addition to her years in the wine business (in France it was noted that Lynn has the exceptionally keen palate of an “organoleptic freak”) she has also been a whitewater boatman, and has rafted most of the rivers in the western U.S. Now she prefers early morning sculling on Vermont’s Caspian Lake, or hiking the trails of Point Reyes National Seashore. A recent disciple of fly-fishing, she anticipates a lifetime student status. The same rubric may be applied to her devotion to opera.

Lynn is the author of five works of fiction, three of them novels ‑ Because a Fire Was in My Head (which won the Faulkner Award for Best Novel and was a Literary Ventures Selection, a BookSense Pick, and a New York Times Editors’ Choice), Undertow, and Fata Morgana ‑ and the novella triptych Pipers at the Gates of Dawn (Faulkner Society Gold Medal in the novella category). She has also written an extended critical introduction to her father-in-law’s short fiction, the Collected Stories of Wallace Stegner, as well as editing and writing the foreword to a Penguin edition entitled Wallace Stegner: On Teaching and Writing Fiction. Lynn herself has taught writing at the University of California, the University of Vermont, the National University of Ireland-Galway, the Santa Fe Writers’ Workshop, and Stanford University where she currently teaches for the Continuing Studies Program. Among other honors recognizing the literary distinction of her work, she has been the recipient of a Western States Arts Council fellowship, a National Endowment for the Arts fellowship, a Fulbright Scholarship to Ireland, the Bridport Prize, and a Raymond Carver Short Story Award. Lynn is also an editor and literary consultant, with clients throughout the world. Her writings in support of conservation continue to accrue, and include collaborations and publications with conservation biologists and paleontologists. The anthology, West of 98: Living and Writing the New American West, which she co-edited and introduced, was published in September of 2011, and her volume of stories entitled For All the Obvious Reasons was published in 2016.  Currently at work on a new novel, she divides her time between San Francisco, California and Vermont’s Northeast Kingdom.