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!

Milda Motekaitis De Voe (aka M. M. De Voe) is the founder and executive director of Pen Parentis, Ltd. She has co-hosted the monthly Pen Parentis Literary Salons for more than ten years with its various curators and guest-hosts. An award-winning and widely-published short fiction writer, De Voe took a chance and established Pen Parentis as a fiscally sponsored public art project in December 2009, after running a year of the Pen Parentis After-Work Reading Series in Lower Manhattan along with Columbia University classmate, Arlaina Tibensky. Once Tibensky left to focus on her writing career, DeVoe founded Pen Parentis as a nonprofit with Emily Speer (Ryan) and Michael Del Castillo, to sustain the reading series (now the Salons) as well as the annual Fellowship. She added the Cycle of Support in 2015 to the Pen Parentis offerings and has been developing the Accountability Meetups, along with Executive Board member Marina Aris since 2018. Five Pushcart nominations, two Editor’s Prizes, a Shirley Jackson Award, a distinguished alumna award, a few arts grants, two children, and several publications later, De Voe continues to seek balance between family and a successful writing career. See for links to DeVoe’s writing and recent author news. She holds an MFA from Columbia where she was a Writing Fellow, and is also a professional voice actress: DeVoe is SAG/AFTRA and Equity—you can hear her as the Lithuanian voice of OnStar in your rental car. If you have an extra minute:  like her page on Facebook. And do follow her on Twitter – her handle (and author name!) is @MMDeVoe.

Christina Chiu, has been curator and co-host of the Pen Parentis Literary Salons for more than five years. Shse 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 and 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)  After winning the James Alan McPherson Award, her second novel, BEAUTY was published in May 2020. Follow Christina’s progress on her gorgeous author website.

Renni Johnson was a volunteer greeter for a year before taking on the role of House Manager for Pen Parentis Literary Salons. Her life is all about books: She majored in Creative Writing at Knox College in Galesburg, IL, and she attended the Denver Publishing Institute. She writes fantasy and science fiction under the pen name, Renni Acre. Her day job is Manager of Digital Workflow Support at Penguin Random House, training editors and fixing broken manuscripts, and she’s been delighted to volunteer for literary non-profits around the country, lately as House Manager for Pen Parentis. When she’s not working, she’s writing, and when she’s not writing, she’s reading. If she’s not doing any of the above, check her pulse.


Jackie McDougall is our Communications Director. Jackie is an experienced IT Consultant and Ma2016-10-16 15.14.19nager with over 24 years’ experience in IT and software testing.  Currently engaged as Associate Director for QA and Agile Strategy with IQVIA, she has previously held senior roles in roles with Aegon, Sopra Steria, and Initiative Software.  She has presented at the User Conference for Advanced Automated Testing (UCAAT) and EuroSTAR Testing Conferences throughout Europe, and and was a committee member of the Scottish Testing Group until moving to the US.  She has published various articles on testing, business intelligence and test data privacy.  She has BA 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 running, learning to play drums, drawing, cooking, and reading.

Allan Krasner is our app developer. He is currently a graduate student at Pace University pursuing a Master’s degree in software engineering. His goal is to become a Project Manager to develop meaningful projects with a dedicated team. Tasked by Dr. Jonathan Hill of Pace University to lead the development project, he worked with a team of several excellent Seidenberg students to create the Pocket Pen by Pen Parentis app launching in 2020. His time within Seidenberg has mostly been devoted to teaching people as well as honing their skills. He hopes to continue changing people’s lives and learn along the way.


Lisette Boer is the Digital Media Manager at Pen Parentis running our Instagram, Facebook stories, and Writer Parent Annex website. She started at Pen Parentis as an intern during her post-baccalaureate in the renown New York Arts Program. Lisette is a recent graduate of Hope College with a BA in English – Creative Writing and a minor in Communication. Presently, she is a MFA student at The New School in the poetry cohort and is pursuing graduate minors in Impact Entrepreneurship and Digital Storytelling. Outside of school, Lisette is the Digital Media Manager for The Poetry Society of New York and The Poetry Brothel. Additionally, she is a Poetry Editor at Statorec and at Milk Press Books. Lisette is seeking full-time paid literary work in NYC or remotely so if you know of anything, please reach out – we wholeheartedly recommend her!

Brook Yimer photoBrook Yimer is currently running our IGTV. He lives in Washington, DC and is a student of medicine and biological sciences, with a penchant for competitive international rowing and (luckily for us) a love of video editing. He is seeking an entry level position as an Associate Scientist – please let us know if you hear of any!



Vida Foubister is a talented Canadian & American writer-mom who lives outside New York City but LiveTweets our Literary Salons as if she was in the room with us.


Many thanks to our former Director of Research Initiatives, Mary Harpin, who is also a poet and a freelance digital storyteller. Mary lives in Colorado with her husband and two daughters and took a year to interview many of our past writer-parents about their needs and means of coping. Find the interviews on this website and in our forthcoming book. We are grateful for her help. Need some content marketing strategy work or writing done? Check out her firm!


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.


We are also looking for eight board members with the capacity to give both resources and knowledge to make Pen Parentis fully sustainable. Is this you? contact Milda through this website or at mm (at)

No time? 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 (as monthly membership or as outright donations) 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!