Pen Parentis is a federally recognized 501c3 nonprofit literary organization. At this time, everyone who works for Pen Parentis is a volunteer. We give our time freely because we have a passion for books, a passion for writing, and a passion for making the world better. Get to know us!

M. M. De VoeMilda-DeVoe-small is the founder and executive director of Pen Parentis, Ltd. She also co-hosts the monthly Pen Parentis Literary Salons with its current curator. An award-winning and widely-published short fiction writer, De Voe established Pen Parentis as a fiscally sponsored public art project in December 2009, after running a year of successful Pen Parentis readings in Lower Manhattan along with colleague, friend, and former Columbia University classmate, Arlaina Tibensky. Three Pushcart nominations, two Editor’s Prizes, a few arts grants, two children, and several publications later, De Voe continues to seek balance between family and writing career, most recently signing with agent Barbara Braun and simultaneously obtaining federal nonprofit status for Pen Parentis, Ltd. She holds an MFA from Columbia and is a former actress: DeVoe still does occasional voiceover work—you can hear her as the Lithuanian voice of OnStar in your rental car. See www.mmdevoe.com for links to DeVoe’s writing and recent author news. And if you have an extra minute: follow her on Twitter @MMDeVoe and like her on Facebook.

Christina Chiu,chiu curator and co-host of the Pen Parentis Literary Salons, is the author of Troublemaker and Other Saints, published by G.P. Putnam’s Sons in 2001, and the winner of the 2015 Wai Look Award for Outstanding Service to the Arts (administered by the Asian American Arts Alliance). She has published in numerous magazines and anthologies, including Tin House, Charlie Chan is Dead 2, Not the Only One, Washington Square, and Acorn. Her writing accolades include the Asian American Literary Award, the Robert Simpson Fellowship, the Alternate Selection of the Book-of-the-Month Club; she won of the New Stone Circle Fiction Contest, won second place in the Playboy Fiction Contest, and was nominated for the Stephen Crane First Fiction Award. Chiu is one of the Founding members of the Asian American Writers’ Workshop. She judged the 14th Annual Asian American Literary Award in 2001 and served as fellowship panelist for the New York Foundation for the Arts in 2004. She received her MFA in writing from Columbia University. She is currently working on a novel. She also teaches at Hudson Valley Writers Center. If you know of an author who is also a parent whom you would like to suggest for our Salons, please email Christina at info(at)penparentis.org

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Jackie McDougall is our Communications Director. Jackie is an experienced IT Consultant and Manager with over20 years’ experience in IT and software testing.  She was previously employed as Head of Test for Aegon UK, Principal Consultant with Sopra Group, and Quality & Test Manager with Initiative Software.  She has presented at the EuroSTAR Testing Conferences throughout Europe and the User Conference for Advanced Automated Testing (UCAAT) in Paris, France.  She was a committee member of the Scottish Testing Group until moving to the US, and she has published various articles on testing, business intelligence and test data privacy.  She was involved in promoting a nationwide ‘Girls in IT’ initiative in the UK, and was invited to speak at ‘Women in IT’ events at Napier University, Edinburgh.  She has BA (Hons) degree in English Language and Literature, and a Master of Science in Information Technology, both completed at Glasgow University.  She grew up in Glasgow, Scotland, and is married with two boys.  Now living in Princeton, New Jersey, she enjoys spending time with her children, running and going to the gym, drawing, cooking, and reading.   She also volunteers at a local reading studio providing audio/e-books for people with dyslexia and visual impairment.

2 Elizabeth L. Silver, co-host of Pen Parentis West Literary Salons – Los Angeles, is the author of the critically acclaimed novel, The Execution of Noa P. Singleton (Crown/Random House), which was an Amazon Best Book of the Year, the Amazon Best Debut of the Month, a Kirkus Best Book of the Summer, Kansas City Star Best Book of the Year, Oprah “Ten Books to Pick up Now,” and selection for the Target Emerging Author Series. The Execution of Noa P. Singleton has been optioned for film by ImageMovers Production Company (Robert Zemeckis) and is translated into seven languages. Elizabeth’s short writing has appeared in McSweeney’s Internet Tendency, The Huffington Post, The Los Angeles Review, The Rumpus, The Millions, among others. A graduate of the University of Pennsylvania, the MA program in Creative Writing from the University of East Anglia in England, and Temple University Beasley School of Law, Elizabeth has taught English as a Second Language in Costa Rica, writing and literature at Drexel University and St. Joseph’s University in Philadelphia, and has worked as an attorney in California and Texas, where she was a judicial clerk for the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals. Born and raised in New Orleans and Dallas, she currently lives in Los Angeles with her husband and daughter, and is at work on a memoir called, The Tincture of Time, to be published by Penguin Press in 2017. Find her on the web at www.ElizabethLSilver.com or on on twitter at @ElizLSilver.
1 Ivy Pochoda, our second co-host of the new Pen Parentis West Literary Salons – Los Angeles, is the author of the critically acclaimed novel Visitation Street published by Ecco / Dennis Lehane Books. Visitation Street was chosen as an Amazon Best Book of the Month, Amazon Best Book of 2013, and a Barnes & Noble Discover Great New Writers selection. Her writing has appeared inThe New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, The Los Angeles Times, The Los Angeles Review of Books, The Huffington Post, Self, and House & Garden. Her first novel The Art of Disappearing, was published by St. Martin’s Press in 2009. She teaches creative writing at the Writing Workshops Los Angeles and works as a freelance editor. Ivy has a BA from Harvard College in Classical Greek and an MFA from Bennington College in fiction. Ivy grew up in Brooklyn, NY and currently lives in West Adams, Los Angeles with her daughter Loretta Jane Pochoda and her husband Justin Nowell. Her website is www.ivypochoda.com.

 

Director of Research Initiatives, Mary Harpin, is also a poet and a freelance digital storyteller. Her work has appeared or is forthcoming in Terrain, McSweeny’s Internet Tendency, Everyday Genius and elsewherMary_Harpine. She is amassing a trove of data and knowledge about the inner workings of writer-parent lives. All interviews published on the Pen Parentis website are her work, and information gathered from these interviews (and more than a hundred others) will be amassed into a data-driven book Mary is writing about best practices of writing parents. Mary lives in Colorado with her husband and two daughters. Need some content marketing strategy work or writing done? Check out her firm! Are you a writer with kids who would like to join our data pool? Email us through this contact-us link to set up an interview!

Want To Help:

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

Please donate to keep the Pen Parentis Literary Salon alive. This 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.

Your donations help keep this unique literary project going strong. Please note that writers who are also parents who donate $150 or more may contact us and request we add their headshot and writing bio to our growing list of Pen Parentis Authors. Thank you for your support!


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!