Paula Saunders



Paula Saunders' debut novel,
The Distance Home

Tender, searing, and unforgettable, The Distance Home is a profoundly American story spanning decades—a tale of haves and have-nots, of how our ideas of winning and losing, success and failure, lead us inevitably into various problems with empathy and caring for one another. It’s a portrait of beauty and brutality in which the author’s compassionate narration allows us to sympathize, in turn, with everyone involved.




Available in bookstores

Random House

advance praise for The Distance Home

In The Distance Home, a family’s story – its past, its present, and (most surprising) its future – traces the intricate, often subterranean lines that connect damage to redemption, creation to dissolution, and the everyday to the eternal, just to name several of its moving and startling aspects. It’s a true, and rare, accomplishment.
The Distance Home is a bracing and beautiful novel about a fierce struggle for love and understanding in a South Dakota family, and about aspiration (both thwarted and encouraged) in an unforgiving place. Read it – it will break your heart and open it up.
— MAILE MELOY, Author of "Do Not Become Alarmed"
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The Distance Home is a deeply involving portrait of the American postwar family – its promises and disruptions – surrounded by a rich, shimmering, sensuous South Dakota landscape.
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Paula Saunders has given us a riveting family saga for the ages. The Distance Home is fresh, with a seductive Midwestern innocence, though the book’s outwardly ideal clan holds dark secrets that kept me turning pages into the wee hours. This is one of the best books I’ve read in years – destined to become a classic.
An extraordinary debut...The Distance Home is heartbreaking and full of compassion while also managing to be exacting, precise, and truthful. It accomplishes what great fiction should: We get a glimpse of our own humanity – a hard-won clarity – through the story of this particular haunted family and the woman who moved on, survived, but never exactly left.
— DANA SPIOTTA, Author of "Innocents and Others" and "Stone Arabia"
Set in the isolation of South Dakota prairie towns and then the provincialism of Rapid City, The Distance Home is an exemplary story of what hardworking people suffered in Middle America in the late twentieth century while striving to achieve dreams. This soul-searching first novel offers everywhere that most mysterious and essential of artistic achievements: heart.
— DOUGLAS UNGER, Author of "Leaving the Land" and "Voices From Silence"
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about Paula Saunders

photo by Chloe Aftel

photo by Chloe Aftel


Paula Saunders grew up in Rapid City, South Dakota. She is a graduate of the Syracuse University creative writing program, and was awarded a postgraduate Albert Schweitzer 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 and named as one of The Best Books of 2018 by REAL SIMPLE. She lives in California with her husband. They have two grown daughters.



Hardback Cover

Picador/UK Cover

Picador/UK Cover

UK Paperback Cover

UK Paperback Cover




For media inquiries only, please contact
Melanie DeNardo

For UK media inquiries, please contact
Camilla Elworthy


photo by Saroyan Humphrey

photo by Saroyan Humphrey

Upcoming Tour Dates 

Chicago, IL
June 9, 2019, 3:30 pm - Printers Row Literary Festival
In Conversation with Jennifer Day

Syracuse, NY
September 25, 2019, 5:30 pm - Syracuse University Raymond Carver Reading Series, Gifford Auditorium

Buffalo, NY
October 3, 2019 - Medaille College, The Write Thing Reading Series

Miami, FL
November 17-24, 2019 - Miami Book Fair

Past Events

Melbourne, Australia
May 7, 2019, 8 pm - The Wheeler Centre

Sydney, Australia
May 2-4, 2019 - Sydney Writers’ Festival

Columbia, MO
April 19-20, 2019 - Unbound Book Festival

Los Angeles, CA
April 13-14, 2019 - The Los Angeles Times Festival of Books

Savannah, GA
February 14, 2019, 6 pm - Savannah Book Festival, Opening Address

Atlanta, GA
November 13, 2018 - A Cappella Books, Writers @ The Wrecking Bar

Las Vegas, NV
October 18-21, 2018 - Las Vegas Book Festival

Calgary, Canada
October 13-14, 2018 - Calgary International Writers Festival

New York, NY
October 11, 2018 - McNally Jackson Books

Newton, MA
October 9, 2018 - Newtonville Books

Syracuse, NY
October 4, 2018, 7 pm - Barnes & Noble

Los Angeles, CA
September 13, 2018, 7:30 pm - Skylight Books

Davis, CA
September 8, 2018 - Stories on Stage Davis

San Francisco, CA
August 16, 2018, 6 pm - Book Passage

Santa Cruz, CA
August 13, 2018, 7 pm - Bookshop Santa Cruz