The 2014-2015 Pen Parentis Writing Fellowship for New Parents has been awarded!
Our 2014 Fellow is Jess DeCourcy Hinds from Lynbrook, NY. She is a school librarian with an MFA from Brooklyn College and has an infant daughter. We congratulate her for her spectacular parody of a parenting message board which managed to make us laugh out loud (repeatedly!) while blurring the fine line between painful truth and outrageous fiction. “Dear All” will be published in Brain, Child Magazine and we will present her $1,000 check at our September 9th, 2014, Literary Salon at the Andaz Wall Street in New York City. All are welcome to come hear Jess read her winning story.
As always, it was a difficult choice, partly because of the incredible diversity in the styles and forms that writers chose to showcase their best work.
Coming in second, for example, was “The Keening” by Beth Thomas of Simi Valley, CA, mother to an 8 yr old. The horror in this story crept up on us unexpectedly. We loved the wonderful twists and vivid descriptions in this lively genre piece set in the woods as a deer crashes into a young woman’s windshield.
Third place goes to “A Quick Cold” by Ashle Briggs Horton of Elk River, MN. While also about fear, this story was told in spare, literary language that showed the writer’s command of her craft. In only 534 words, we felt the quiet  terror of turning a key in a lock when you have once been mugged and now fear for your own sanity almost as much as you fear living. Magnificent writing by the mother of a child under one year old.
There were so many great stories, but our Honorable Mentions list speaks to those that truly stood out in some memorable way. Everyone who submitted should feel proud, but these seven pieces were particularly wonderful:
Foundling, by Evelyn Walsh, Atlanta, GA
Room for Interpretation, by Ashley Shelby, Hopkins, MN
Place Your Hand Here, by Lilliam Rivera, Los Angeles, CA
Unspeakable Love, by Dave Reidy, Chicago, IL
Past Lives, by Jennifer Tseng, West Tisbury, MA
Car Line, by Jerisha Gordon, Wilmington, DE
and Typhoon Season, 1943 by Isabel Garcia-Gonzales, Alameda, CA
Browse the Fellowship menu tab at the top of this page to get to know our new Fellow better – and to see what our past Fellows are doing!
We hope applying for this Fellowship helped to remind you to stay fiercely committed to your writing goals despite the demands of parenthood – or perhaps we inspired you to write something new! In any event, we would love to have you join in our online conversations at Pen Parentis, where writers who are parents meet online to discuss issues that affect us all. Give advice, get advice, post opportunities, call for submissions, share the burden and the joy. We have a page on Facebook, we are on Twitter, and we have a private group on Linked In. No cost. Just community. Come find us.