Paula Saunders

Paula Saunders

Paula Saunders grew up in Rapid City, South Dakota. She is a graduate of the Syracuse University creative writing program, and was awarded a postgraduate Albert Schweitzer Fellowship at the State University of New York at Albany, under then-Schweitzer chair Toni Morrison. Her Festival book, The Distance Home, was recently longlisted for the Center of Fiction’s First Novel Prize. She lives in California with her husband. They have two grown daughters.

For More Information

Reviews of The Distance Home:

  • “Saunders debuts with a penetrating and insightful deconstruction of a Midwestern family” – In Publishers Weekly
  • “A grim, haunting parable of split child-rearing in which the dark blots out much of the light” – In Kirkus Reviews
  • “Saunders skillfully illuminates how time heals certain wounds while deepening others, and her depiction of aging is viscerally affecting” – In the New York Times

Interviews and Articles:

  • “Aggression seemed to be a necessary push-back against so much worry and concern, both economic and personal” – In Lit Hub
  • “Set in Rapid City, South Dakota, in the 1960s, The Distance Home tells the story of psychological trauma in a seemingly normal, working-class Midwestern family” – In BookPage

The Distance Home

Set in a circa-1960s rural South Dakota – a hard-scrabble place of cattle-buyers, homegrown ballet studios, casual drug abuse, and unmitigated pressure to conform – this novel portrays a loving but struggling young family in turmoil and two siblings, Rene and Leon, who opt for different but equally extreme means of escaping the burdens of home. By turns funny and tragic, lyrical and terse, Paula Saunders’ debut examines the classic American questions: what is to become of the vulnerable in a culture of striving and power? And what is the effect of this striving and power on both those who dominate and those who are overrun?

All events with Paula Saunders

1 PM
A Conversation with Amitava Kumar and Paula Saunders
Oct 14 @ 1 PM - 2:15 PM 
Memorial Park Library, 2nd Floor
1221 2nd Street SW
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11:30 AM
A Conversation with Katherine Ashenburg and Paula Saunders
Oct 13 @ 11:30 AM - 12:30 PM 
Memorial Park Library, 2nd Floor
1221 2nd Street SW
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5:30 PM
Tzavta Salon: Paula Saunders
Oct 14 @ 5:30 PM - 9 PM 
Sidewalk Citizen, Simmons Building
618 Confluence Way SE
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