About Paula

PAULA VENE SMITH                                Follow Paula on Twitter @PaulaVeneSmith

On her sixteenth birthday, not long after her family was transferred by the U.S. State Department from an assignment in Mexico City to another in Lima, Peru, Paula started writing in a green vinyl-bound book covered with decorative stickers.

With a few gaps here and there, she has kept a journal ever since—while

  • living at a boarding school in the U.S., far away from her family,
  • earning college and graduate degrees,
  • working as a professor and dean at Grinnell College,
  • traveling to (and living in) other countries,
  • getting married,
  • and raising two children who now live in New York and San Francisco,

At Grinnell College she teaches courses in literature, the craft of fiction, and journal-keeping.  Students in her writing classes are asked to fill an observing notebook with anecdotes, descriptions, and ideas.

She also offers journal workshops, ranging from a small group of friends and neighbors at a local Women’s Center to an auditorium of college students preparing to study abroad.

Her published work includes poems, stories, and a novel (not available in English), book reviews, a book about risk for college leaders, and academic essays and articles.

Some of Paula’s poems have been set to music for public performance, read as part of a wedding or naming ceremony, or accompanied exhibitions of visual art.

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