Pen Parentis Announces Upcoming Changes

Pen Parentis Announces Upcoming Changes

There is no lazy summer for Pen Parentis Ltd, the parent organization behind the popular downtown Pen Parentis Literary Salons. Pen Parentis is forging grand plans for their future, including a series of online interviews with authors who are also parents and a Literary Salon series in Los Angeles called Pen Parentis West. The nonprofit organization, founded in 2013 to provide resources to authors who are also parents to help them stay on creative track after starting a family, has recently won its 501c3 status from the federal government. "So far, this only seems to mean more paperwork," laughs founding director and Lower Manhattan resident writer, M. M. De Voe. "Though we did just select our sixth Writing Fellow."

DeVoe refers to the Pen Parentis Writing Fellowship for New Parents, awarded annually to a writer of fiction who is caring for at least one child under 10 years old. This year's winner is Orli Van Maurik, a Brooklyn resident with two young daughters. Van Maurik, who recently relocated from Portland, Oregon, will read her winning story, "Waushakum Pond," at the September 8th Pen Parentis Literary Salon at Andaz Wall Street, opening their 14th season alongside crime writers Ed Lin, Jack Miller, and Tim O'Mara.

Pen Parentis Literary Salons are free and open to the public, though RSVP is recommended through their website at The Salons bring trios of notable authors to the elegant Andaz Wall Street at 75 Wall, which also generously provides wine and light snacks. Previously featured authors have included Jennifer Egan, Darin Strauss, Lev Grossman, David Gilbert, Victor LaValle, Leigh Newman, Nick Flynn, and a host of other writers who also happen to be parents. They read from new works and participate in the lively discussions centering on the balance of an active family life with a creative career. Moderated by Pen Parentis founder M. M. De Voe and its new Salons curator, novelist Christina Chiu, Pen Parentis Literary Salons were founded to celebrate the creative work of writers that are also parents, and are a great place to meet industry notables. "You don't have to be a parent or even a writer to enjoy our events," DeVoe says. "They're just a fun, smart evening out." New this year, she adds, is a partnership with local indie bookseller Posman Books. "They just opened their third location at Brookfield Place, across from the movie theater on the second floor," she adds. "Stop by and visit the store. We love to support local indie booksellers and are delighted that such a friendly, cool indie will be vending books for signings at our salons."

In addition to all these changes, Pen Parentis has begun a bi-weekly online series posting in-depth interviews with authors who are parents on their main website, and is also exploring the possibility of a Pen Parentis West in Los Angeles, curated and hosted by parent-authors Ivy Pochoda and Elizabeth L Silver.

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