Pen Parentis, Ltd, is a nonprofit organization that provides resources to authors who are also parents. Our Fellowship is intended to promote the creation of new work by writers who are at the busiest time of their lives as parents - we wish you all the best in your writing and with your families!

One talented writer who is the parent of at least one child under 10 years old will receive $1000 to further their writing career, a year of mentorship, and will be offered the opportunity to read their winning story at the Pen Parentis Literary Salon in New York City on Tuesday, November 12, 2019. Their winning story will also be published in Dreamers Creative Writing Magazine (both online and in print) as well as included in the annual Dreamers Writing Anthology.

Submissions call for a new, never-published fiction story—any genre, on any subject—of up to 750 words, double-spaced in Times New Roman 12 point or similar font, with one inch margins. 

Please note: we change word count each year because one of the goals of this project is to keep parents working -- motivating all writers to continue to create new high-quality creative writing at the very busiest time of the parenting journey. 

Write something new! You can do it!

If you are a Pen Parentis Title Member, your first entry is free (at higher levels, your second and third entry are also free, see website for guidelines.) Supporting members may mail in your free submissions and write TITLE MEMBER on the outside of the envelope. (It is okay to fold your manuscript and put it into a normal envelope; no one wants to take a trip to Staples in the rain) Or follow the link in the email that was sent to you directly.

Put only the title of the story and its word count on the manuscript. Please number your pages! 

One dependent child MUST still be under ten on November 12, 2019 for a writer to be eligible to win this Fellowship.

Please do NOT add any additional information in your cover note, even if you have published a thousand novels and won the Pulitzer. We judge blind and prefer to be surprised by your extensive credentials.

The contest seeks submissions starting March 1 and ends the submission period April 17, 2019 (midnight - or postmark deadline). 

Multiple entry discount:
Note that if you choose to submit by regular mail, the entry fee by check is now only $15 (no processing fee)—and you can enter two stories for $20. Want to enter more? $10 per story. Mailing address is Pen Parentis Writing Fellowship, 176 Broadway Suite 14F, New York, NY 10038. You may, if you choose, submit multiple stories online, but each online entry is $15 plus $5 fee. Please don't ask about hybrid email/snail entries. THE MULTIPLE-ENTRY DISCOUNT IS FOR MAILED-IN ENTRIES ONLY! 

Judging is blind and based only on the following criteria:

  1. adherence to contest rules
  2. creativity
  3. narrative arc
  4. emotional truth
  5. elements of surprise, humor, writing skill, and/or layers of depth.

All genres and styles of unpublished fiction are welcome. No plays or poetry (we love them, but sorry, no.) Novel excerpts are acceptable if they can stand alone as a story - don't tell us it is a novel excerpt until you win

Simultaneous submissions ok, but notify if published elsewhere. Multiple submissions welcome, but separate entry fee for each submission (see above). Entry fees will not be refunded. Previous winners of this fellowship are not eligible. Finalists, honorable mentions, and second and third place winners are absolutely encouraged to try again.

Winner: please list our Fellowship in your writing bio for the 12 months following your reading in NYC! 

See our website at for past winners. 

For any technical questions related to filling out the online form, contact 

Pen Parentis