Illinois State Library

Illinois Center for the Book

Individual Author Record

General Information

Name:  Paula Peterson  

Pen Name: Paula W. Peterson



-- Website --
-- Paula Peterson on WorldCat --

Illinois Connection

Paula lived in Chicago.

Biographical and Professional Information

Paula Peterson graduated from Brandeis University and from the University of Michigan with an M.A. in English Literature. Her short fiction has appeared in The Iowa Review, Nimrod, Carolina Quarterly, The Greensboro Review, and other journals, and both her stories and essays have been nominated for Pushcart Prizes. Her book, ''Penitent with Roses'', a memoir of her life as an HIV-positive mother, continues to explore the ramifications of AIDS. It is a collection of essays by a white, middle-class, heterosexual Jewish mother describes the birth of her son, her diagnosis with AIDS when he was eleven-months-old, and her experiences as an AIDS activist and hotline volunteer.Peterson currently lives and writes in San Francisco, where she is involved in HIV/AIDS advocacy work.

Published Works Expand for more information

Titles At Your Library

Penitent, with Roses: An HIV+ Mother Reflects (Bakeless Prize)
ISBN: 1584651288

Middlebury. 2001

Penitent, with Roses is a series of essays by a white, middle-class Jewish mother who is diagnosed with AIDS when her son is 11 months old. The first part of the work encompasses several years of her life, including the birth of her son and her diagnosis, her attempt to notify a former lover of her condition, and her experiences as an activist and a hotline volunteer. It is followed by a series of autobiographical sketches of her childhood and young womanhood, framed as a letter to her small son. Throughout, readers accompany Paula W. Peterson as she re-forges her personal identity in the face of physical and spiritual crises.

Women in the Grove: Stories (Bluestreak)
ISBN: 0807083852

Beacon Press. 2005

Women in the Grove offers nine surprising, impossible-to-put-down stories about lives filled with loneliness, love, humor, grace, and mortality. The women are black, white, immigrants, faculty wives they are in rehab and in high school, and each is filled with the imperative to go on living. In story after story Peterson presents the humanity of each of her characters even as they are compelled to make impossible choices-sometimes disastrous ones-about how they will spend the rest of their days. Theirs is an entirely fresh and unexpected brand of heroism.


Penitent, with Roses

Speaking Engagements

Speaking Engagement Availability (No)