Congratulations to everyone who applied to the Pen Parentis Writing Fellowship for New Parents! We have made our selection from the many worthy short stories that were submitted this year….

The Pen Parentis Writing Fellow for 2023 is SARAH COURTEAU from Bronx, NY for her story “After the Storm” which you will find in an upcoming issue of Dreamers Creative Writing Magazine!

Full Winner’s List:

2023 PEN PARENTIS WRITING FELLOW: “After the Storm,” SARAH COURTEAU, Bronx, NY (one child) – $1000, publication in Dreamers, reading Oct. 11, one year Title Membership.

“After the Storm” stood out from the very opening line, a gorgeous metaphor, but then instantly we were in a scene which had history and future, had momentous action and yet everything was quiet. We laughed out loud at the truth of the dialogue–you know how you burst out laughing in recognition? That. The dialogue will stick in your head, as will the images, because the story is hard and deep. What is it about? A couple taking a walk. But also? New life, death, mercy, horror, love, partnership, nature. All of that in under 600 words. We look forward to hearing more from Sarah Courteau this coming year! You can tune in to meet Sarah at our October Literary Salon, introduced by our current Fellow, Kelle Schillaci Clarke.

Second Place: “Butterfly Girl,” Kristin Vukovic, New York, NY (one child) – $250, one year Title Membership

“Butterfly Girl” was a close second with its similarly beautiful writing and its urgent and timely message. The writing in this piece, the metaphors and deep emotional connection to the action, the huge arc that the story encompassed–all of this made the story a top winner.

Third Place: “One Drop,” Gail Upchurch, Silver Spring, MD (3 children) – $150, one year Title Membership

Veering far from realistic fiction and into historical fiction, “One Drop” is a story of racially passing in the Deep South. This story soared above the others in its relationship-building. The romance between the main character and her unattainable love felt absolutely real–it is for emotional truth that this worthy story won third place.

Honorable Mentions (something was particularly outstanding about each of these stories and we hope to see them published by worthy flash-fiction magazines soon!)

“Equine Therapy” – Catherine Stern, Charlotte, NC, (three children)
“Attachment Parenting” – Rachel Federman, New York, NY (two children)
“Picnic on a Plane” – Serena Burman, Eastsound, WA (one child)

Also an extra mention because they felt like fragments of much longer works instead of the self-contained story we requested:  Heads up Christopher Mannino (two kids, Middletown, DE) of  “Sogni Wove Dreams”  and Rosanna Rios-Spicer (one child, Fresno, CA)  of “Monarch” — we hope these are part of a larger piece so that one day we can read “the rest”… and if they aren’t, they should be!

Even if you did not make this list, you should be commended for SUBMITTING – for writing a piece, despite the pressures on your resources from having small kids.

WRITERS are the reason that Pen Parentis exists—parents with TALENT and unquenchable PASSION for writing.

If you are attending AWP23, we hope to see you at our booth or our Meetup in Seattle. If you live in the NYC area, we would love to meet you in person at our Citywide Parent Writer Meetup at Barbes in Park Slope at the Mutha Magazine “It’s My Party” BookEnds event Thursday Sept 29th from 5pm – 7:30pm, an official event of the Brooklyn Book Festival.
Otherwise, write well! Remember, we are a 501c3 nonprofit that serves writers with kids.

Basic membership is free. Join us, but by all means, keep writing.