Paula Whyman

Paula Whyman is the author of You May See a Stranger, a linked short story collection. A music theater piece based on a story from the book is in development with composer Scott Wheeler. Paula’s stories have been published in many journals including McSweeney's Quarterly, Ploughshares, and Virginia Quarterly Review. Her fiction was selected for the anthology, Writes of Passage: Coming-of-Age Stories and Memoirs from The Hudson Review, and is part of the curriculum at The Young Women’s Leadership School in Harlem, NY. Her interviews, humor and commentary have appeared in The Rumpus, The Washington Post, Barnes & Noble Review, and on NPR. She was awarded residencies at The MacDowell Colony, The Corporation of Yaddo, and The Studios of Key West, and she was named a 2014 Tennessee Williams Scholar in Fiction by the Sewanee Writers’ Conference. She is treasurer of The MacDowell Colony Fellows Executive Committee. Paula continues to serve as a visiting writer for The Hudson Review’s writers-in-schools program in Harlem and the Bronx, New York. Many of her stories are set in the DC area, where she grew up and where she still resides.

Educators interested in teaching Whyman's stories can contact wins@penfaulkner.org to receive PDF versions of select stories.

Photo credit: Curt Richter

Books and Lesson Plans

  • You May See a Stranger: Stories

    View You May See a Stranger: Stories's extended profile

    Miranda Weber is a hot mess. In Paula Whyman’s debut collection of stories, we find her hoarding duct tape to ward off terrorists, stumbling into a drug run with a crackhead, and—frequently—enduring the bad behavior of men. A drivers’ education class pulsing with racial tension is the unexpected context of her sexual awakening. As she comes of age, and in the three decades that follow, the potential for violence always hovers nearby. She’s haunted by the fate of her disabled sister and—thanks to the crack cocaine epidemic of the ’80s, the wars in the Middle East, and sniper attacks—the threat of crime and terror in her hometown of Washington, D.C. Miranda can be lascivious, sardonic, and maddeningly self-destructive, but, no matter what befalls her, she never loses her sharp wit or powers of observation, which illuminate both her own life and her strange, unsettling times.

    Publication Date: May 31, 2016 

    Appropriate for grades 9 and up.

    Lesson plans for You May See a Stranger: Stories are currently in development.

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