The 2014-2015 Writing Fellow:

Jess deCourcy Hinds


View Biography

The 2015-2016 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 2015 Pen Parentis Writing Fellowship For New Parents


In addition to a full year of promotion 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 in Manhattan on Tuesday, September 14th, 2015. 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.


2015 Guidelines:

Submissions call for a new, never-published fiction story—any genre, on any subject—of up to 1250 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. Do put the title of the story and the word count. Please note: we change word count each year because one of our missions is to keep parents working–the creation of new work is one of our goals!

Please retype the title of the story and word count on an extra cover page along with author’s name, full contact information, and age of author’s child(ren). One child must be under 10 years old as of the reading date on September 14, 2015. Financial status, prior publication, and hardship stories do not aid your application. Judging is blind. If you are submitting electronically, be sure to include this identifying cover page in the same file as your identity-stripped manuscript. (They will be separated before judging begins, just as with mailed-in submissions.)

We now accept online submissions! Writing Fellowship Submission Form

The contest seeks submissions starting March 1 and ends the submission period April 17, 2015 (postmark deadline). We now accept electronic submissions – but please be advised we are still working out kinks in this new system. Whether you submit by regular mail or electronically, the cover page is required, as well as anonymity on all consecutive pages.

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!
Entry is now only $20—all entry fee money funds 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 ($20):
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 ($20 + $5 processing fee)


Winner will be announced on the Pen Parentis website and by email or phone to the winning author on or before August 15, 2015. 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.


One 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′s winner, Abby Sher, read with Jennifer Egan and Darin Strauss, 2011′s winner, Frank Haberle, read with Sarah Gardner Borden and Rebecca Wolff, 2012′s winner Sarah Gerkensmeyer read with John Reed, Theodore Hamm, and Rene Steinke, 2013’s winner John Jodzio read with Will Allison, Amy Shearn, and Liz Rosenberg, 2014’s winner Jess deCourcy Hinds read with David Gilbert, Mira Jacob and Julia Fierro). Winner also receives $1000, presented at the Pen Parentis Literary Salon on September 14th, 2015, 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 he/she attends regular Pen Parentis author salon events. The winning story will be published by the illustrious literary parenting journal: Brain/Child Magazine.
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 and individual donors. Corporate support is provided by Poets & Writers, Fractured Atlas, and Andaz Wall Street.
In association and with great thanks to: