Volume 21, Number 39 | The Newspaper of Lower Manhattan | February 6 - 12, 2009

Parenting scribes meet

Milda De Voe is out to convince people that professional writers can also take on the equally time-consuming role of parents.

De Voe, who is both a published writer (under the name M. M. De Voe) and a mother of two children, recently launched a Downtown reading series that focuses on the intersection between parenting and writing. Called Pen Parentis, the group brings writers who are parents to The Libertine each month to share their work and speak about how they balance their work with their life.

It’s a balance that De Voe, a Financial District resident with a 6-year-old son and 2-year-old daughter, knows firsthand. She once had to bring her young son, who had a fever, to a meeting with her agent, who was in town from Los Angeles. Her son cried through the whole meeting, and De Voe lost her agent.

“Writing is 24/7 and so is parenting,” De Voe said. “That is a big conflict. It’s very hard — you’re always sacrificing something.”

Pen Parentis’ first reading last month attracted about 25 people to hear writers Jennifer Cody Epstein and Leigh Newman. Many of the attendees had never been to Lower Manhattan before, and while the neighborhood isn’t known as a literary destination, De Voe wants to change that. With co-founder Arlaina Tibensky, De Voe also wants to tap into the growing local population of parents, to provide support and advice for those who want to continue their writing careers post-children.

The next event will feature Michael Dahlie, author of the novel “A Gentleman’s Guide to Graceful Living,” and Darin Strauss, author of the international bestseller “Chang and Eng.” The writers, who have young children, will read Tues., Feb. 10 at 6 p.m. in the upstairs library at The Libertine, 15 Gold St. The reading and subsequent discussion are free.

— Julie Shapiro








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