Paula Whyman receives 2017 TU Prize for Literature

Bethesda, Maryland, writer honored for ‘honest and sharply observed’ stories

By Jan Lucas on August 13, 2017

Paula Whyman is the recipient of the 2017 Towson Prize for Literature for You May See a stranger, a collection of linked stories, (TriQuarterly Books/Northwestern University Press, 2016). 

Paula Whyman head shot

You May See a Stranger has garnered praise from many quarters, including a starred review in Publishers Weekly that hailed the book asan honest and sharply observed linked story collection, spanning the life of Miranda Weber from her teens through her late 40s. ... Themes of love, sex, politics, and family run through the collection, and every detail has satisfying echoes later on. Together, these smart, artful stories capture a woman’s life and the moments that define her."

Whyman’s writing has appeared in McSweeney’s Quarterly, Ploughshares, VQR, the Washington Post, and on NPR’s All Things Considered

She teaches in writers-in-schools programs through the Pen/Faulkner Foundation in Washington, D.C., and The Hudson Review in Harlem and the Bronx, New York.

Whyman received an MFA in literature and the Myra Sklarew Thesis Award from The American University. Her bio states that before going to graduate school, she was “a book 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, and a camp counselor but not actually a Solid Gold dancer.” It concludes: She has always been a writer.”   

Whyman lives in Bethesda, Maryland, where she is working on a novel.

Established in 1979 with a grant from Alice and Franklin Cooley, the Towson University Prize for Literature is awarded annually for a single book or book-length manuscript of fiction, poetry, drama or imaginative nonfiction by a Maryland writer. The prize is granted on the basis of literary and aesthetic excellence as determined by a panel of distinguished judges appointed by the university.