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.