Pen Parentis Board Members

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Jamie B. Clarke,

2024 Board President

Former Board President Jamie B. Clarke has been a volunteer with Pen Parentis since its 2009 inception before joining the executive board and taking up the position of secretary in 2015. She returns to the vital position in 2022, bringing with her a wide variety of professional and volunteer experience to the organization.

Previous positions include the executive boards of the Allentown Public Library Association, the Saturday Evening Dance Club, the Allentown Food Pantry, and the Monmouth Council of the Boy Scouts of America.

In addition to her role with Pen Parentis, she is an active volunteer with Start2Finish and an enthusiastic participant in the Society for Learning in Retirement. She served as Pen Parentis' Board President during the Pandemic (2021-2022), and prior to this position, she was Board Secretary for many years.

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Irena Gecas-McCarthy,

2024 Board Treasurer

Irena Gecas-McCarthy has over 25 years of experience in financial services. She joined the Board in June 2020 and is Board Treasurer. She is a principal in Deloitte & Touche LLP's Banking and Capital Markets Risk and Financial Advisory practice with experience in providing a broad range of clients assistance with governance, regulatory, risk management, and compliance matters. Irena also serves as the leader of the Financial Services Industry Center for Regulatory Strategy, Americas, which is a source of critical insight and advice to clients. Prior to Deloitte, she was a senior examiner for the Federal Reserve Bank of New York.

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Andrew Meagher,

2024 Board Secretary

Andrew has watched Pen Parentis since its inception, attending many of the early salons when living in Lower Manhattan and then occasionally when visits to NYC happened to coincide. More recently following online and through the various missives.

As a father of three Andrew greatly admires the work that Pen Parentis does both in inspiring authors to keep producing through parenthood but also on a more basic level of recognising the importance of literature to society. He loves when his own children put down their devices and pick up a book and then want to talk about it.

He spent 17 years in Executive roles with Thomson and then Thomson Reuters with commercial responsibilities for the Financial News business.

In 2016 he returned to his native Sydney, Australia, where he still resides, and had been actively involved in working with the senior executives of foreign multi-national corporations operating in Australia.

He continues to consult with various media and technology companies in the USA and Europe.

He joined the board in 2023.

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Christina Chiu,


An executive board member since 2019, Christina Chiu was the 2023 Board President. The winner of the James Alan McPherson Award for her novel Beauty (2040 Books/sfwp), she is also the author of Troublemaker and Other Saints, which was nominated for the Stephen Crane First Fiction Award, won the Asian American Literary Award, and was chosen for Alternate Selection of the Book-of-the-Month Club. Her stories have appeared in Tin House, The New Guard Literary Review, Washington Square, and The MacGuffin, and she has won literary prizes from Playboy, New Stone Circle, El Dorado Writers' Guild, and Worldwide Writers.

She is a founding member of the Asian American Writers' Workshop and the recipient of the Wai Luk Award for Outstanding Service to the Arts. Chiu curates and co-hosts the "Let's Talk Books" Author Series sponsored by the New York Writers Workshop, as well as the Pen Parentis Literary Salon in New York City. She received her MFA in creative writing from Columbia University. She has been a treasured Salons Curator for many years.

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Marina Budhos

Marina Budhos is the author of several books for young adults and adults.  Her newest novel, We Are All We Have, was a Best Kirkus Book of 2022. Among her prior books are Watched, which received a Walter Award and an Asian Pacific American Honor, The Long Ride, Tell Us We’re Home,  and Ask Me No Questions, recipient of numerous honors. She has also published the adult novels The Professor of Light and House of Waiting, and three works of nonfiction, including her co-authored books with husband Marc Aronson, Sugar Changed the World, an LA Times Book Finalist and Eyes of the World: Robert Capa, Gerda Taro & The Invention of Modern Photojournalism, both of which were YALSA Nonfiction Finalists.  Her books have been published in several countries and her short work has appeared in publications such as The Daily Beast, LitHub, The Kenyon Review, Ploughshares, The Nation, Travel & Leisure, the Los Angeles Times, and in anthologies. She has received an NEA Literature Fellowship, a Rona Jaffe Award for Women Writers, three Fellowships from the New Jersey Council on the Arts, and has been a Fulbright Scholar to India. She is a professor emerita at William Paterson University. She frequently gives talks around the country and abroad.  You can find out more at her website here.


Hananah Zaheer

Hananah Zaheer is a writer, editor, improviser, and the author of Lovebirds (Bull City Press, 2021). Her writing has appeared in places such as The Cut, Kenyon Review, Best Small Fictions 2021, Pleiades, Waxwing, AGNI, Pithead Chapel, Smokelong, Virginia Quarterly Review, McSweeney’s Internet Tendency, Alaska Quarterly, and many others. In 2019, she won the  Lawrence Foundation Prize for Fiction in 2019, and her short story “Fish Tank” was a notable story in Best American Short Stories. She was awarded a Tennessee Williams Scholarship in Fiction at the Sewanee Writers' Conference, and is a recipient of fellowships from the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts, Rivendell Writers' Colony and the Ragdale Foundation. Her work has been nominated for the Pushcart prize. 

Hananah serves as a Fiction Editor for Los Angeles Review, and as senior editor for SAAG: a dissident literary anthology—a project that seeks to make space for radical and experimental South Asian art and writing. She is the founder of the Dubai Literary Salon, an international prose-reading series. A perpetual nomad and constant traveler, she has lived in South Asia, South East Asia, the Middle East and the USA. When she is not hopping on a plane, she finds joy in community work, especially work relating to equity for communities of color and refugees.

Advisory Board

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