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About Us

Writing career at any stage; Raising kids of any age.

Every writer should be encouraged to thrive and should be able to find a supportive arts community to help them stay on the creative track.

In many circles, parenthood is viewed as a handicap to an artistic career. We envision a world in which all writers are afforded an equal chance to succeed – a world where the needs of parents are addressed as a matter of course when creating an arts-forward service program (not to mention the rest of the workforce!) Keep reading to learn more about Pen Parentis.

Pen Parentis provides critical resources to working writers to help them stay on the creative track after starting a family.

(That's it, by the way. That's our mission.)

All of our programs help writers who have kids. We build and support in-person and online writer-parent communities to encourage the production of new, high-quality written work, and we offer individual aid to these writers whenever possible.

Pen Parentis builds Literary Community.

We extend our reach through partnerships with organizations that host activities that support creative writing and organizations and businesses that support the health and well-being of writers and of parents.

Here are some of the organizations that have shared our mission with their followers: Scribente Maternum, Center for Independent Journalists, CityLit Baltimore, Writers & Books, Mutha Magazine, Mom Egg Review, Mysterious Bookshop, Rose O'Neill Literary House, Poets & Writers, and more.

Over the years, we also had some incredible partners who are no longer around: Brain/Child Magazine, Borders Bookstores, 92Y/Tribeca, ANDAZ Wall Street, The Libertine–a Todd English Pub, Mobile Libris, and others.

We are headquartered in New York City, but the reach of our programs is national through our networking website and social media channels, all of which feature unique parenting-and-writing resources.

We bring the heart of the NYC Literary Community to writer-parents who are isolated by their family status or merely by geography.

We are Recognized

PEN PARENTIS is a federally recognized 501c3 nonprofit literary organization registered in the State of New York.

Since 2009, Pen Parentis has been providing audience-building performance opportunities and other resources to working writers who are also parents, and New York City has recognized us!

In 2009, founder M. M. De Voe was nominated for a Neighborhood Achievement Award and met then-Mayor Mike Bloomberg. The wonderful public radio stations WQXR/WNYC gave us STAR recognition in April 2014. In 2013, the Foundation Center awarded us a library of grantmaking books. In 2018, De Voe was invited into the Foundation Center's Leadership Circle. We have been winning arts and community-building grants from NYC and New York State since 2009.

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Our History

Click here for an article in Columbia Magazine (circulation 270,000) about our history.

Here's a recap:

The organization evolved from the intimate literary community created by the groundbreaking and gender-inclusive Pen Parentis After-Work Reading Series in Lower Manhattan — a free open arts event in active programming since January 2009 targeted to middle-class residents and workers of TriBeCa, Battery Park City, Brooklyn, and the Financial District. Rebranded as the Pen Parentis Literary Salons in 2010 after incorporation, this series is a vibrant professional platform promoting the vast diversity of high-quality creative work produced by authors who also happen to be parents.

Established in 2010, the annual Pen Parentis Writing Fellowship for New Parents inspires parents at a critical stage to continue to create new written works of fiction—and presents support to that end in the form of a one-time grant to give an incentive to the parents of young children to continue pursuing their creative writing careers and open access to our salons and staff for marketing, promotion, and mentoring purposes throughout the fellowship year.

Achieving federally-recognized nonprofit status in 2013 was the next step in our journey — Pen Parentis was conceived as a safe place for authors across the country who have kids to meet and build community with like-minded peers — we hope you find something of value here.

As always, we welcome your comments and suggestions. You will find Pen Parentis on Facebook, and if you are a writer who is also a parent, you can join the online community on our private FB group, Pen Parentis Behind Closed Doors.

Writing is a lonely calling, and we understand how hard it is to stay connected once you become a parent.

Our Goals

The objective of Pen Parentis is to provide resources to working artists in the literary field who are also parents:

  • To encourage the production of creative written work of professional standard by authors who are also parents
  • To foster supportive communities of authors who are also parents, both locally and online, and through outreach activities
  • To provide educational, creative, and professional support in this discipline to members of these communities so that authors who are also parents will continue to pursue their creative goals actively

Our CYCLE OF SUPPORT offers writing resources to parents, including:

Pen Parentis occasionally also offers:

  • Community building workshops
  • Parenting workshops for artists
  • Creativity workshops for new parents
  • And one day, we dream of opening a writing center that partners with child care or educational programs. (In the meantime, we are maintaining a database of writing retreats that offer some kind of benefit to parents through scholarships, child care, or other means.
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Why We Do What We Do

There are inherent prejudices against artists who are parents.

The visual arts community has already begun to address these prejudices.

The theater world has also begun to realize that parent artists have unique needs.

We hope to see the end of these stereotypes for writers and work towards an arts community that embraces all artists regardless of their parenting status.

To this end, we partner with wonderful nonprofits, including Church Street School for Music and Art, IWWG, PEN America, the Concert Artists Guild, Scribente Maternum, CIJ, and Mutha Magazine. If you are a member of a nonprofit or NYC-based organization that would like to discuss partnering with us, please contact us.

If you want to join us as a member,

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If You Want to Help Us, Keep Going. Read on!

PEN PARENTIS is a federally recognized 501(c)3 nonprofit arts service organization. Contributions to PEN PARENTIS are tax-deductible to the extent permitted by law.

If you agree that people who are parents are as important to the arts community as writers who have no offspring, we would love to hear from you. Your donations keep the Pen Parentis Literary Salon alive. Our one-of-a-kind reading series is run primarily on donations from readers like you. No amount is too large or too small. One-click (and a valid credit card) is all it takes.

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Pen Parentis Title Members

Writers who are also parents who pledge recurring donations are honored for their support as Pen Parentis Title Members. We request a bio and headshot and links to your creative works and pledge to help you publicize your forthcoming works, any writing classes you may teach, etc. Becoming a Pen Parentis Title Member also makes you eligible to become a Pen Parentis Mentor. We are always delighted to promote the creative work of authors who are also parents!

Pen Parentis Literary Salons are made possible in part with public funds from the Manhattan Community Arts Fund, supported by the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs and administered by the Lower Manhattan Cultural Council. They are also funded in part by Poets & Writers, Inc. with public funds from The New York State Council on the Arts, a state agency, and by a generous one-time grant from the Sustainable Arts Foundation in California. We thank our sponsors and urge you to support the arts!

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Major Contributors

With special support from:

  • Michael C. Allen & Co., CPAs PLLC
  • The John A Hartford Foundation
  • Loretta Shapiro
  • Jackie Quon
  • Sarah Langan
  • Leigh Newman
  • Maria Granovsky
  • Allison Scollar
  • Dr. Lewis Gross
  • Ellen Tepfer
  • Audrey Breitellot
  • Carolyn Harrington

Pen Parentis logo design by: Melissa Guion

Video editing provided by Tim Kent

Additional video editing by Emma Fergusson

IGTV was established by Brook S. Yimer.

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Thank You, Valuable Volunteers

  • Lisette Boer
  • Brook Yimer
  • Gabija Blauzdziunas
  • Jurgita Raskeviciute
  • Kaitlin Sansoucie
  • Rose Cirrincione
  • Betsy Mair
  • Kristin Rath
  • Gail Renner
  • Sonia de Beaufort
  • Renni Johnson
  • Vida Foubister
  • Emma Fergusson