Born: October 7, 1965
Ohio connection: Resident
Paula McLain was born in Fresno, California in 1965. After being abandoned by both parents, she and her two sisters became wards of the California Court System, moving in and out of various foster homes for the next fourteen years. After aging out of the system, she supported herself by working as a nursing assistant in a convalescent hospital, a pizza delivery girl, an auto-plant worker, a cocktail waitress—before discovering she could (and very much wanted to) write. She received her MFA in poetry from the University of Michigan in 1996. Since then, she has been a resident at Yaddo, the MacDowell Colony, and the Ucross Foundation, and a recipient of fellowships from the Ohio Arts Council and the National Endowment for the Arts. Her first book of poetry, Less of Her, was published in 1999 from New Issues Press and won a publication grant from the Greenwall Fund of the Academy of American Poets. She’s also the author of a second collection of poetry Stumble, Gorgeous, and a memoir, Like Family : Growing Up In Other People’s Houses. She also wrote The Paris Wife, a fictional account of Ernest Hemingway’s first marriage and upstart years in 1920’s Paris, as told from the point of view of his wife, Hadley. She teaches in the MFA Program in Poetry at New England College, and lives with her family in Cleveland.
Ohio Arts Council Fellowship; National Endowment of the Arts Fellowship; 2011 Cleveland Arts Prize for Literature