I’m a writer, editor, translator, artist, educator, community builder and communications consultant based in Washington, DC with a passion for family stories and social change.

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In my literary life, I write poetry, essays and other creative nonfiction and translate fiction and nonfiction from Russian. I’ve been published in Harper’s Magazine, VICE, PANK, Beltway Poetry Quarterly, The Literary Review and elsewhere. My creative work has garnered awards, grants and fellowships from Art Omi, Poets & Writers, Vermont Studio Center and the DC Commission on the Arts and Humanities. My poetry manuscript was selected for the 2019 Tusculum Review Chapbook Prize. I am currently writing my first book about my revolutionary great-grandmother, a project that received the 2021 Hazel Rowley Prize from Biographers International Organization. A list of all my writing is here.

In my journalistic life, I’ve reported on atrocity, mental health and social justice movements. My articles have appeared in The Atlantic, The Washington Post, Washington City Paper and Pacific Standard, among other outlets. A list of all my writing is here.

In my consulting life, I support organizations to tell stories, shape public opinion and influence policymakers. To learn more about my work at the intersection of editorial strategy and social change, check out my consulting page.

Photo by Fid Thompson

In a previous life, I taught composition and journalism at American University, University of Maryland, Corcoran College of Art + Design and Trinity Washington University. I received my M.F.A. in creative writing from Columbia University, where I completed concentrations in nonfiction writing and literary translation.

Some affiliations (past and present) as an activist and volunteer include: Academy of Hope Adult Public Charter School, DC-Area Literary Translators Network, National Youth Advocacy Coalition and a number of queer student groups and independent media outlets.

As a queer, gender non-conforming Jew and the child of Soviet refugees, my politics skew radical. I love to support groups working towards a better world for those who are consistently mistreated or overlooked by institutions and our wider culture. I approach all my work through the lenses of anti-racism, feminism and white allyship and hope to always be a humble learner.

To get in touch, email tpaperny [at] gmail [dot] com.


  1. Thank you, Steve! She is quite a character, isn’t she? I’m glad that came through in the piece.

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