The cinematic debut novel The Distance Home earmarks Paula Saunders as one of today’s most gifted narrators of American family life. Spanning decades, it tells the story of two siblings who share a talent that will ultimately divide them. Jennifer Egan describes The Distance Home as “rich, shimmering [and] sensuous”, while Michael Cunningham praises it as “a true, and rare, accomplishment”. Paula speaks with Ashley Hay about her riveting saga, which asks if a child’s past must define their future.

Paula Saunders (International)

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Paula Saunders grew up in Rapid City, South Dakota. She danced as an apprentice with the Harkness Ballet in New York City under the direction of David Howard. She is a graduate of Barnard College as well as the Syracuse University creative writing program, where she was a student of Tobias Wolff and Douglas Unger. She was awarded a post-graduate Albert Schweitzer Humanities Fellowship at the State University of New York at Albany, under then-Schweitzer chair Toni Morrison. Her first book, The Distance Home, was long-listed for The Center for Fiction’s 2018 First Novel Prize. She lives in California with her husband. They have two grown daughters.

Ashley Hay (Australian)

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Ashley Hay is a Brisbane-based novelist and essayist whose awards include the Foundation of Australian Literary Studies’ Colin Roderick Award and the Peoples’ Choice from the NSW Premier’s Literary Awards, for The Railwayman’s Wife, and the Bragg/UNSW Press Prize for Science Writing. Her latest novel is A Hundred Small Lessons. She is the editor of Griffith Review.