The monthly Literary Salons are now open to the general public with an RSVP through the Pen Parentis website.

Author Aid Extends 'Across the USA' With Upcoming Literary Salons

Face facts. Working from home during a pandemic is harder if you have kids. Writing creatively from home when you have kids is already an incredible challenge, but when you add pandemic parenting, it is a wonder books still get written. Three authors, Wendy S Walters, Sande Boritz Berger and Andrew Simonet, gather with award-winning writers M. M. De Voe and Christina Chiu at 7pm Tuesday, October 13th to read short excerpts from current work and discuss writing craft, time/energy strategies, life/work balance, and other topics that center around writing as a career during a pandemic when you have kids.

Hosted by Pen Parentis, a ten-year old nonprofit that helps writers stay on creative track after starting a family, the monthly Literary Salons are now open to the general public with an RSVP through the Pen Parentis website. Events are LiveStreamed and signed-in viewers are encouraged to interact in real time with the panel and moderators via chat. Because of the interactive nature of the events, Salons frequently transform into Dorothy Parker-style roundtables about current events, the publishing industry and how it is changing, and the country in general and how it treats artists.

This event is free. A $10 donation is welcomed but not required from anyone in financial need. RSVP on Audiences do not have to be parents or even writers to participate.

** Bios of authors participating in the October 13th Salon:

Andrew Simonet is novelist and choreographer in Philadelphia. He co-directed Headlong Dance Theater for 20 years, creating dances like CELL (a journey for one audience member guided by your cell phone), and This Town is a Mystery (dances by four Philadelphia families in their homes). His debut novel, Wilder, was published by Farrar, Straus, and Giroux in 2018. His second novel, A Night Twice as Long, will be published by FSG in 2021. Andrew founded Artists U in 2006, an incubator for helping artists make sustainable lives, and wrote Making Your Life as an Artist. He created Artists Raising Kids, a free, downloadable compendium of thoughts from 200 artist parents, and What Artist Residencies Can Do For Artists Parents (And Vice Versa) in collaboration with the Artist Parent Residency Working Group. His work has been supported by Creative Capital, the NEA, the Pew Fellowships, and residencies at Yaddo, Ucross, The Studios of Key West, and The Santa Fe Art Institute. He lives in West Philadelphia with his wife, theater director Elizabeth Stevens, and their two sons.

Wendy S. Walters’ current projects address class and racial disquietude in the industrial Midwest; intersections between writing and design, and organic forms in the essay. She is a 2020 Creative Capital Awardee in literary nonfiction and the author of a book of prose, Multiply/Divide: On the American Real and Surreal (Sarabande Books, 2015), named a best book of the year by Buzzfeed, Flavorwire, Literary Hub, The Root, Huffington Post, and others. She is also the author of two books of poems, Troy, Michigan (Futurepoem, 2014) and Longer I Wait, More You Love Me. Her work has been published in The Normal School, The Iowa Review, Fourth Genre, Full Bleed, Flavorwire, and Harper’s among many others. A recipient of fellowships from NYFA, the Ford Foundation, and the Smithsonian Institute, she has a broad history of engagements with writing in and about performative contexts. Walters holds a MFA/PHD in Poetry and Literature from Cornell University. She is the former Associate Dean of Art and Design History and Theory at Parsons, The New School. Currently she serves as Director of the Nonfiction Concentration and Associate Professor of Writing, Nonfiction in the School of the Arts at Columbia University. She is married to Dan Charnas, also a nonfiction writer, and is the mother of one very interesting young person.

Formerly a scriptwriter and video producer for Fortune 500 companies, Sande Boritz Berger now writes fiction and nonfiction full time. She completed an MFA in Writing and Literature at Stony Brook University where she was awarded The Deborah Hecht Memorial prize for fiction. Essays and short stories have appeared in over 20 anthologies including Aunties: Thirty-Five Writers Celebrate Their Other Mother and Ophelia’s Mom. Her novel, The Sweetness, was a semi-finalist in Amazon’s yearly Breakthrough Novel Awards. Sande lives in Manhattan with her husband and has two daughters.

Salons moderators are former Columbia School of the Arts classmates, M. M. De Voe and Christina Chiu. In addition to founding Pen Parentis, De Voe is an award-winning author of short fiction, with works forthcoming in 2020 in literary journals in Great Britain, Canada, and in the anthology Delirium Corridors. Chiu has been Salons curator for five years. Her first novel, Beauty, was published in May 2020 after winning a 2040 Book Award. She is also one of the founders of the Asian American Writers Workshop.

Photo credit: Ryan Muir

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