You may have noticed I like to ask questions. When I was a little kid, a family member who shall remain nameless (let's just say she was married to my uncle), babysat for me. She told my mother I asked too many questions. My mother, being my staunch defender, didn't let her babysit anymore. So this unfortunate habit of questioning was encouraged, and I still do it.

There's very little that I don't want to know, and what I can't know for sure, I imagine. When I meet someone for the first time, or even when I see a stranger on the subway, I imagine what they were like in high school. I can usually tell the women who peaked too early, and the men who used to be jocks (they're paunchy and balding, and that whole head-shaving thing? It's not fooling anyone). Do people try to imagine what I was like in high school? (Let's just say "late bloomer" and leave it at that...)

I have a theory that people believe that, on the inside at least, they are still exactly like they were in high school. And maybe that's the problem. Think I'm wrong? I was a smartypants then, too.

Selected Works

A mother consults a psychologist about her troubled teen, but her own problems threaten to take over.
A young woman gets caught up in fast living in Washington, DC, at the height of the crack epidemic.
A troubled young married couple has a chance encounter on a road one night.

A young woman struggles with an unplanned pregnancy.

Sexual and racial tensions in a classroom threaten to explode as a young teen faces choices that will haunt her in adulthood. ORDER HERE

Two former lovers meet up after years apart, but their tryst takes an unexpected turn.

A young girl in Thailand is sold into prostitution by her mother.
Dining out with dietary issues, and Twizzlers. From the Washington Post.


In Mansfield Studio at MacDowell Colony; photo by Jo Eldredge Morrissey
Paula Whyman's debut linked story collection, YOU MAY SEE A STRANGER, is forthcoming from TriQuarterly Books/Northwestern University Press in Spring 2016. Her stories have appeared in journals including McSweeney's Quarterly, The Virginia Quarterly Review, Ploughshares, The Hudson Review, Five Chapters, and The Southampton Review. Her fiction was selected for the anthology Writes of Passage: Coming-of-Age Stories and Memoirs from The Hudson Review (Ivan R. Dee) and the Virgin Fiction award anthology (Morrow/Weisbach). Her work has been supported by fellowships from The MacDowell Colony, Yaddo, The Studios of Key West, and VCCA, and she was awarded a 2014 Tennessee Williams Scholarship in Fiction by the Sewanee Writers Conference. She received a 2014 Pushcart Prize Special Mention for a story that appeared in The Gettysburg Review. She's the recipient of grants from the Maryland State Arts Council and the Arts and Humanities Council of Montgomery County (AHCMC). In 2015, Paula was elected to a 3-year term on The MacDowell Colony Fellows Executive Committee (FEC).

Ms. Whyman's commentary has been featured on National Public Radio’s “All Things Considered.” Her humor essays have appeared in the Washington Post’s Style and Food sections, and the Sunday magazine. Her mini-interviews have appeared in The Rumpus. She created and wrote the weekly column, Semi-Charmed Life: Surviving at the Center of the Universe, which was featured on Bethesda Magazine's website.

She has been a visiting writer for the Pen/Faulkner Foundation's Writers in Schools program in Washington, DC, and The Hudson Review's Writers in Schools/College Now program in New York. Her fiction is part of the curriculum at The Young Women's Leadership School in Harlem. She has taught at The Studios of Key West and at Politics & Prose, the independent bookstore in Washington, DC.

Ms. Whyman was born in Washington, DC, and grew up in Silver Spring, Maryland. She graduated with an MFA in literature from The American University, where she received the Myra Sklarew Thesis Award. Before attending graduate school, she was a book development editor with the American Psychological Association, as well as a bar-back, a meeting planner, an editor of cheesy real estate guides, a clerk in a custom T-shirt and gag emporium, a camp counselor, and a Solid Gold dancer. She has always been a writer.