2018-2019 Winner of the Pen Parentis Writing Fellowship for New Parents:

The Balloon Animal Artist Goes to a Funeral by Jennifer Fliss of Seattle, WA.

This story was beyond a roller-coaster of emotions, this story was the all-new fun park ride from happiness to hell and back. Just a quick turn to describe a few of the emotions this story takes its reader through – it starts with a belly-laugh, then that queasy feeling of “uh-oh”, then takes a turn at embarrassment, exclusion, shame, schadenfreude, and next manages to shock you (one of those deeply true punch-in-the- gut moments) then delight you, and then catapult you right back into sorrow and resigned unhappiness. It is an extraordinary story. We can’t wait for you to see it in Brain, Child Magazine!

Jennifer Fliss is a Seattle-based fiction and essay writer. Her work has appeared in PANK, Hobart, The Rumpus, Gigantic Sequins, and elsewhere. She’s been nominated for the Pushcart Prize and Best Small Fictions and is an alumna of the Tin House Summer and Winter Workshops. She is currently working on her first novel. She can be found on Twitter at @writesforlife or via her website, www.jenniferflisscreative.com.

We are delighted to have her as our Fellow.


Red Thorn Wood (an extraordinary, transportative story, both in setting, time, language, and character, a fable of the highest skill, with emotional truth that resonates long after the reading is done) by Matthew Fox from Wiltshire in the UK.


Simple Physics (a memory-story that catches the reader by surprise in its wistful echoes) by Kevin Leahy of Chicago, IL.


Honorable Mentions:

Dandelion (which may be the world’s most successful venture to equate a novel with an infant in a narrative) by Olga Zilberbourg of San Francisco, CA

Family Dynamics (in which reality and reality TV cleverly intersect) by Nicole Geraghty-Clunn of Jersey City, NJ

The Boxer (which brings the Great Ali back to life in a moving tale of lies and truth) by Justin C. Staley of Evanston, IL