The 2018-2019 Writing Fellow:
Jennifer Fliss

(click name for bio)

The 2018-2019 Writing Fellow:

  • This could be your picture.
  • This could be your name.
  • This could be your bio.
  • These could be your writing credits.
  • This could be a link to your author website.
  • These could be links to your published works.
  • These could be your upcoming events.
  • This could be a way that agents and editors could contact you.

Only one way to make it happen:
Submit your story!

The Pen Parentis Writing Fellowship For New Parents

Awarded annually since 2010, this Fellowship is intended to incentivize writers to produce new works of quality fiction at the very busiest point in their parenting journey.

Congratulations to Jennifer Fliss, the 2018-2019 winner!


In addition to a full year of promotion, mentorship, and the publication of the winning story by Brain, Child Magazine, a $1000 prize will be presented to the new Pen Parentis Writing Fellow at a public reading of the winning work at our November Salon in Manhattan. Entrants must be the parent of at least one child under 10 years of age, but there are no style or genre limitations on the works of fiction submitted for consideration. Entrants can be at any level of their literary careers.

The 2019-202o FELLOWSHIP will be open from March 1 – April 17 of 2019. Start working on your very short stories!

2019-2020 Guidelines:

We want you to write something brand new!

Submissions call for a new, never-published fiction story—any genre, on any subject—of up to 750 words (typed double-spaced on 8 ½ x 11 paper in Times New Roman 12 point or similar font, with one inch margins). Do not put author’s name on this manuscript. Put only the title of the story and the word count.

Please note: we change word count each year because one of the goals of this Fellowship is to keep parents actively working on their craft – the creation of new work is one of our goals! (and it should be one of yours too!)


  • the title of the story
  • word count
  • author’s name
  • real address
  • email address
  • good phone number (we like to call our winners!)
  • and age(s) of author’s child(ren) (one dependent must still be under 10 on the reading date of Sept 11, 2018)
  • optional: add a sentence or two letting us know how you felt upon discovering this Fellowship existed!

Anonymity is required on all pages after your cover page.

If submitting electronically, this cover page is replaced by a Submittable form. Attach a fully anonymous document with only the TITLE and WORD COUNT on the cover page. Number your pages. Thanks!

One child must be under 10 years old as of the reading date on Tuesday November 12, 2019. Financial status, prior publication, and hardship stories do not aid your application. Judging is blind. Whether you are submitting electronically or by regular mail, the identifying cover page will be separated from your identity-stripped manuscript. (They will be separated before judging begins, just as with mailed-in submissions.)

The contest seeks submissions starting March 1 and ends the submission period April 17, 2019 (postmark deadline). We accept electronic submissions – but please be advised there is an administrative fee to cover the printing and distribution of these documents.

Judging is blind and based only on the following criteria:

  1. adherence to contest rules
  2. creativity
  3. narrative arc
  4. emotional truth
  5. elements of surprise, humor, writing skill, and/or layers of depth.

All genres and styles of fiction are welcome. No plays or poetry (we love them, but sorry, no.) Novel excerpts are acceptable if they can stand alone as a story. Simultaneous submissions ok, but notify if published elsewhere. Multiple submissions ok, but separate entry fee for each submission. Entry fees will not be refunded. Previous winners of this fellowship are not eligible. Finalists are welcome to try again.

Entry Fee:

We have lowered the entry fee!

NEW: Multiple entry discount by mail

Entry is now only $15—and you can enter two stories for $20. Want to enter more? $10 per story. 

We are not kidding; we want you to push yourself to create!

Entry fees fund the operation of Pen Parentis, Ltd, with priority given to the maintenance of this Fellowship. If you submit online, there is a $5 extra fee to cover costs of using PayPal but if you send your entry by mail, there are no extra fees!

BY MAIL ($15 for first story, $20 for two, $10 for each story after):
Make checks to Pen Parentis, Ltd.
Mail entries to: Pen Parentis Writing Fellowship for New Parents, 176 Broadway, Suite 14F, New York, NY, 10038. You may include a stamped, self-addressed postcard if you wish receipt to be acknowledged. No SASE required as manuscripts will not be returned.

BY ELECTRONIC SUBMISSION (each story is $15 + $5 processing fee) multiple entries are allowed, but not discounted. Here is more info on electronic submissions. You can enter your submission from that page.


First Entry FREE FOR ALL TITLE MEMBERS (all levels)



Note that these rates are available to Title Members only by mail (one day we will be able to afford a whole new website with fancy submission packages and all of this will be easy-peasy. In the meantime, write your stories! Submit your stories!)-

(find out about becoming a supporting Title Member of Pen Parentis)


Winner will be announced on the Pen Parentis website and by email or phone to the winning author on or before August 15, 2019. Please make sure that author contact information includes either email or phone or both! Shortlisted entries will be announced on the website and our Facebook Page only – please check back in September to see how you did! (sign up for our RSS feed on the blog or to our newsletter to have contest results delivered to your inbox)

Mail entries to: Pen Parentis Writing Fellowship for New Parents, 176 Broadway, Ste. 14F, New York, NY, 10038. You may include a stamped, self-addressed postcard if you wish receipt to be acknowledged. No SASE required as manuscripts will not be returned.


The winning story will be published by the illustrious literary parenting journal: Brain/Child Magazine and the winning author will be showcased for one year on our website as the “Pen Parentis Writing Fellow,” a new emergent author worthy of notice. The Fellow will receive a public showcase of the winning new work in a stunning literary location in New York City, paired with an established author who may function as inspiration and guide.

2010 Fellow Abby Sher read with Jennifer Egan and Darin Strauss
2011 Fellow Frank Haberle read with Sarah Gardner Borden and Rebecca Wolff
2012 Fellow Sarah Gerkensmeyer read with John Reed, Theodore Hamm, and Rene Steinke
2013 Fellow John Jodzio read with Will Allison, Amy Shearn, and Liz Rosenberg
2014 Fellow Jess deCourcy Hinds read with David Gilbert, Mira Jacob and Julia Fierro
2015 Fellow Orli Van Mourik read with Jack Miller, Tim O’Mara and Ed Lin
2016 Fellow Elizabeth Pagel-Hogan read with Simon Van Booy, Daphne Uviller, and Thelma Adams
2017 Fellow Megan Pillow Davis read with Jessica Shattuck, Whitney Terrell, and Kara Kraus
2018 Fellow Jennifer Fliss read with Carla Du Pree, Helen Benedict and Herta Feely


Winner also receives $1000, presented at the Pen Parentis Literary Salon on September 11th, 2018, in conjunction with the reading of the winning work. Pen Parentis will publicize this reading for the author and will provide author with any press clips that mention author’s name. Pen Parentis encourages, but does not require, attendance to subsequent Salons in order to 1) be introduced to other authors and 2) network with prospective editors, agents, and readers. Finally, Pen Parentis will feature the winner on our website for one year, updating his/her accomplishments to the community as notified, and will link to their author website and/or blog, if any, and will promote the author when they attend regular Pen Parentis author salon events.

Important note: Entrants must be the parent of at least one child under 10 yrs old. While we accept submissions from anywhere, applicants are advised that there is no provided travel budget. Winners are responsible for their own transportation costs to the reading location in Manhattan.


The Pen Parentis Fellowship is generously supported by a grant from the Sustainable Arts Foundation in California, Amazon Smile Foundation, and individual donors. Corporate support is provided by Andaz Wall Street.

Huge thanks to Michael C Allen, CPAs for their continued support!

In association and with great thanks to: