Discipline: Literature – fiction

Paula Whyman

Discipline: Literature – fiction
Region: Bethesda, MD
MacDowell Fellowships: 2011

Paula Whyman’s new book, Bad Naturalist: One Woman’s Ecological Education on a Wild Virginia Mountaintop, is forthcoming in January 2025 from Timber Press/Hachette Book Group. It’s a blend of memoir, natural history, and conservation science, a chronicle of her attempts to restore native meadows on a mountain near the Blue Ridge. She was awarded grants and residencies by the Oak Spring Garden Foundation and a Maryland State Arts Council Creativity Grant to support her work on Bad Naturalist.

Paula's first book was the linked short story collection You May See a Stranger, some of which was written at MacDowell in 2011. Her writing has appeared in The American Scholar, the Washington Post, and on NPR, as well as in journals including McSweeney’s Quarterly, Virginia Quarterly Review, Ploughshares, and The Hudson Review. Her fiction was selected for the anthology Writes of Passage: Coming-of-Age Stories and Memoirs from The Hudson Review.

Whyman is a past vice president of the MacDowell FEC. She has also been in residence at Yaddo, The Studios of Key West, and VCCA. In 2016, she co-founded Scoundrel Time literary journal, where she is editor in chief.

Portrait by Doug Sanford



Paula Whyman worked in the Mansfield studio.

The Helen Coolidge Mansfield Studio was donated by graduates of the Mansfield War Service Classes for Reconstruction Aides. Helen Mansfield helped found the New York MacDowell Club. The small, shingled frame structure with stone foundation was originally fronted on the west side by a neat white picket fence and gate, a garden, and a stone pathway…

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