A Pen Parentis Basic Member at a Get Lit Downtown Manhattan shopping event with her child (who is delighted their mom is a writer!)

 

Writing career at any stage; Raising kids of any age.

Every writer should be encouraged to thrive and should be able to find a supportive arts community to help them stay on creative track.

 

In many circles, parenthood is viewed as a handicap to an artistic career. We envision a world in which all writers are are afforded an equal chance to succeed – a world where the needs of parents are addressed as a matter of course when creating an arts-forward service program (not to mention in the rest of the workforce!)

 

Pen Parentis provides critical resources to working writers to help them stay on creative track after starting a family.

(That’s it. That’s our mission.)

How do we help writers who have kids? We build and support in-person and online writer-parent communities to encourage the production of new, high-quality written work, and we offer individual aid to these writers whenever possible. We extend our reach through partnerships with organizations who host activities that support creative writing and organizations and businesses that support the health and well-being of writers and of parents.

We are headquartered in New York City but our reach is global through our networking website and social media channels, all of which feature unique parenting-and-writing resources. We bring the heart of the NYC Literary Community to writer-parents who are isolated by their family status or merely by geography.

WHAT ARE WE?

PEN PARENTIS is a federally recognized 501c3 non-profit literary organization registered in the State of New York.

Since 2009, Pen Parentis has been providing audience-building performance opportunities and other resources to working writers who are also parents.
Click here for an article in Columbia Magazine (circulation 270,000) about our history.

LOVE HISTORY?

The organization evolved from the intimate literary community created by the Pen Parentis After-Work Reading Series in Lower Manhattan — a free open arts event in active programming since January 2009 targeted to middle-class residents and workers of TriBeCa, Battery Park City, Brooklyn, and the Financial District. Rebranded as the Pen Parentis Literary Salons in 2010 after incorporation, this series is a vibrant professional platform promoting the vast diversity of high-quality creative work produced by authors who also happen to be parents.
Established in 2010, the annual Pen Parentis Writing Fellowship for New Parents inspires parents at a critical stage to continue to create new written works of fiction—and presents support to that end in the form of a one-time grant to give an incentive to the parents of young children to continue pursuing their creative writing careers and open access to our salons and staff for marketing, promotion, and mentoring purposes throughout the fellowship year.
Achieving federally-recognized nonprofit status in 2013 was the next step in our journey — Pen Parentis was conceived as a safe place for authors across the country who have kids to meet and build community with like minded peers — we hope you find something of value here.
New York City recognized us! The wonderful public radio stations WQXR/WNYC gave us STAR recognition in April 2014. In 2013, the Foundation Center awarded us a library of grantmaking books. In 2018, founder M. M. De Voe was invited into the Foundation Center’s Leadership Circle. We have been winning arts and community-building grants from NYC and New York State since 2009.
As always, we welcome your comments and suggestions. You will find Pen Parentis on Facebook and if you are a writer who is also a parent, you can join the online community on our private FB group, Pen Parentis Behind Closed Doors.
Please join our community – writing is a lonely calling and we understand how hard it is to stay connected once you become a parent. Membership information here.

LIKE BULLET POINTS?

The objective of Pen Parentis is to provide resources to working artists in the literary field who are also parents:

  • to encourage the production of creative written work of professional standard by authors who are also parents
  • to foster supportive communities of authors who are also parents, both locally and online,  and through outreach activities,
  • to provide educational, creative, and professional support in this discipline to members of these communities so that authors who are also parents will continue to actively pursue their creative goals.

Our CYCLE OF SUPPORT offers writing resources to parents including:

Pen Parentis occasionally also offers:

  • community building workshops
  • parenting workshops for artists
  • creativity workshops for new parents
  • And one day, we dream of opening a writing center that partners with child care or educational programs. (in the meantime, we are maintaining a database of writing retreats that offer some kind of benefit to parents through scholarships, child care, or other means.

 

WHY?

There are inherent prejudices against artists that are parents.

The visual arts community has already begun to address these prejudices.

The theater world has also begun to realize that parent-artists have unique needs.

We hope to see the end of these stereotypes for writers, and work towards an arts community that embraces all artists regardless of their parenting status.

To this end, we have already begun to partner with wonderful nonprofits including Church Street School for Music and Art, IWWG, PEN America, the Concert Artists Guild, Scribente Maternum, CIJ, and the former 92Y/Tribeca. If you are a member of a nonprofit or NYC-based organization that would like to discuss partnering with us, please contact us.

If you want to join us as a member, click here.

If you want to help us keep going, read on!

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.

If you agree that people who are parents are as important to the arts community as writers who have no offspring, we would love to hear from you. Your donations keep the Pen Parentis Literary Salon alive. Our 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.

I want to donate now.

Writers that are also parents that pledge recurring donations (see list here) are honored for their support as Pen Parentis Title Members. We request a bio and headshot and links to your creative works and pledge to help you publicize your forthcoming works, any writing classes you may teach, etc. Becoming a Pen Parentis Title Member also makes you eligible to become a Pen Parentis Mentor. We are always delighted to promote the creative work of authors who are also parents!

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!

Major Contributors:

Lower Manhattan Cultural Council
New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council
Amazon Literary Partners
Amazon Smile Foundation
The Sustainable Arts Foundation
Poets&Writers
New York State Council on the Arts
the deGroot Foundation

Bronius Motekaitis of BCSWebstudio
Emily Ann Pulley

With special support from:

Michael C. Allen & Co., CPAs PLLC 
The John A Hartford Foundation
Loretta Shapiro
Jackie Quon
Sarah Langan
Leigh Newman
Maria Granovsky
Allison Scollar
Dr. Lewis Gross
Ellen Tepfer
Audrey Breitellot
Carolyn Harrington

Pen Parentis logo design by: Melissa Guion

Video editing provided by Tim Kent
Additional video editing by Emma Fergusson
IGTV established by Brook S. Yimer.

 

Thank You, Valuable Volunteers:

  • Lisette Boer
  • Brook Yimer
  • Gabija Blauzdziunas
  • Jurgita Raskeviciute
  • Kaitlin Sansoucie
  • Rose Cirrincione
  • Betsy Mair
  • Kristin Rath
  • Gail Renner
  • Sonia de Beaufort
  • Renni Johnson
  • Vida Foubister
  • Emma Fergusson