Grace Paley’s Life Stories

Grace Paley’s Life Stories
By Judith Arcana

The only full-length biography of Grace Paley, that joyful, funny, smart, and intensely interested woman, is now out in a new edition – with a new design, new cover, new preface, and many text edits. Working on Grace Paley’s Life Stories, Judith Arcana had unprecedented access to Grace, her family, and close friends; the result is a thorough exploration of the roots of her political consciousness, tracing her activism as it grew into her writing.  A committed activist and globally celebrated author, Grace Paley sat down in front of rolling tanks and rearing horses, got arrested on the White House lawn, and traveled across the world to negotiate prisoner exchanges during the U.S. war in Vietnam.  She was one of the great masters of the short story form, a model for everyone writing stories in any language, in any country.  Though Grace died in 2007, her work as an activist and writer is alive in this book, teaching us what resistance means: Calling for liberation, peace, and justice; crying out to save the burning earth; demanding healthcare for all, and the right of women to determine the course of our lives.

If you want to know how Grace Paley came to be a tireless political activist and renowned writer, read Grace Paley’s Life Stories. This book tells the story of the life from which Grace Paley made her extraordinary stories.

— Carol Sklenicka, Raymond Carver: A Writer’s Life and Much Love: The Life and Work of Alice Adams

We must keep Grace Paley’s Life Stories always available. Grace is still an exemplar to writers who would tell good stories, and to citizens who would save the world.

— Maxine Hong Kingston

To order, CLICK HERE.

Jane Lazarre

Race and Whiteness: Three works by Jane Lazarre

Jane Lazarre is a widely published novelist and essayist who has spent more than fifty years as a white woman living in an African American family. Married over all these years, she raised two grown sons and is now a grandmother.

Beyond the Whiteness of Whiteness, Memoir of a White Mother of Black Sons

A powerful meditation on motherhood and racism in America, this is the story of the education of an American woman. Praised by writers from Tillie Olsen to Grace Paley to Alice Walker, this memoir has been taught and read by numerous students and teachers interested in stories of motherhood, African American autobiography, whiteness and American literature. In this widely read and praised memoir, Lazarre recounts the stories of her own life and its transformations through a deeper understanding of the world. From a crucial moment as a mother in which her consciousness is transformed, to comprehending the complexities and history of whiteness, she describes each step of her intellectual and personal journey toward understanding what she calls “the whiteness of whiteness.”

To order, CLICK HERE.


InheritanceInheritance is a novel of American race history: of relationships between people of different and mixed race heritages, of love, friendship and profound loyalty, and of deep ignorance, violence and hatred. The story moves from from the present time, back to the early 20th century in a Connecticut city, once a stop on the Underground Railroad, then back to the period of Slavery shortly before the Civil War in Maryland, on the western coast of the Chesapeake Bay. The white characters are all connected through a Black family, whose four generations move through the novel. This is a story of our shared inheritance, of what it means, in this nation’s history and present, to be so called “mixed” racially, and what it means within the lives of the people who carry these meanings and questions within themselves.

The voice of the narrator, Samantha Reed, a young woman of mixed American heritages, remembering a dramatic transformation in her identity when she was 16, is reading, writing, learning this history as it has played out in her heritage. A young naive white woman, daughter of a slave holder, becomes a fervent abolitionist. An immigrant Jewish woman falls in love with a black oyster-man while being deeply attracted, in a way she does not understand, to his wife. An Italian American writer considers her devotion to the form of fiction and to the idea of “color blindness” as she encounters the demands of her racially mixed granddaughter for “the truth,” and, later, by a black woman writer of memoir. Inheritance is an American story of how history is not only in our world, but deeply within ourselves.

To order, CLICK HERE.

Worlds Beyond My Control

Worlds Beyond My ControlIn Worlds Beyond My Control, Lazarre revisits the landscape of her pioneering first book, The Mother Knot, exploring with searing honesty the complexities of motherhood. In this later work, she tackles the emotionally demanding time when separation from children begins. Moving from a traditional narrative style, through the immediacy of a journal, and finally to a direct autobiographical voice, the novel interrogates genre itself while following one woman’s odyssey through a conflicted and confusing world. A white mother of black sons, Julia suddenly finds herself at a loss. One son is leaving home, a beloved child is struck with a serious illness, and throughout the city the dangers of racism’s physical, verbal and emotional violence toward black boys and young men increases daily as her beloved sons make their way through their growing lives. Fearful of crime in a crime-ridden city, learning to be fearful as well of police, Julia feels she is both “stark white and visible,” to her family and “trying to bridge their differences with her voice.”  A writer in danger of losing her words, a mother who fears the loss of control, this is the story of a mother and a writer who learns to accept the limits of her power – the endurance to face a new relationship to husband and sons – to reclaim the power she has always felt in what she names “sex and words.”

To order, CLICK HERE.

A Sea Odyssey by Rita Pomade

Seeker: A Sea Odyssey
By Rita Pomade

Seeker: A Sea Odyssey is a delightful mix of adventure, exploration, introspection and reflection, an engaging account of how the author and her partner fulfilled their dream to see the world, discovering, as they adapted en route to different cultures, unanticipated personal strengths and weaknesses. This beautifully crafted account reveals the author’s evolving relationships with her partner, family, the strangers they met along the way, and life.

– Tony Burton, Mexican Kaleidoscope: Myths, Mysteries and Mystique and Western Mexico: A Traveler’s Treasury

Rita Pomade…has written a crackling sea story, an adventure yarn to stand with any of them – except that this sailor is not a swashbuckling, peg-legged pirate with an eye patch but a soft-spoken, introspective woman with a keen eye and (although she never mentions it) bottomless courage. She navigates her way through raging monsoons and real-life pirates from Taipei to the Suez to Mallorca with a sure hand, steady nerves and the intelligence to delve deeply into an experience most of us can only read about.

– Jack Todd, Desertion in the Time of Vietnam, winner of the Mavis Gallant Award for Non-Fiction and the Quebec Writers Federation First Book Award

A fascinating tale that takes the reader into the mind and heart of a true explorer. A glimpse into what so many of us would like to do, it is also masterfully written.

– Sheila McCleod Arnopoulos, winner of a Governor-General’s Literary Award

To order, CLICK HERE.


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Our postal address is Persimmon Tree Magazine, 255 East 78th Street, New York, NY 10075.


Persimmon Tree’s mission is to bring the creativity and talent of women over sixty to a wide audience of readers of all ages. We are looking for work that reveals rich experience and a variety of perspectives. Each issue of the magazine will include several fiction and nonfiction pieces, poetry by one or more poets, and the work of one or more visual artists. The magazine is published quarterly, in association with Mills College.


For your submission to be considered, you must be signed up on our email list. You can subscribe here:

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Fiction and Nonfiction: We welcome previously unpublished pieces under 3,500 words, written by women over sixty. Submissions may be sent to us any time during the year. Several readers will review your submission, and we will respond to you within six months. Multiple submissions are accepted. If you want to send more than one piece, put them in separate emails. 

Please send your submission as an attachment to us at: Type the title of the piece, labeled fiction or non-fiction, in the subject line. Include a brief biographical statement (less than 50 words) in your email. The attached document must be saved in MS Word or a compatible program. If we can’t open it, it won’t be read. We will respond to you online.

Submissions should be double-spaced, with 12-point type and numbered pages. At the top of the first page please enter author’s name, address, telephone number, and email address.

Art: We welcome submissions of work in all media. Artists are invited to send no more than five samples of their work (as jpegs) and a short biographical statement (less than 50 words) for us to put on file. Submissions may be sent to us any time during the year. For your work to be considered, you should be signed up on our email list. You can subscribe in the box on the right side of this page. Please do not expect a response from us unless we plan to use your work.

Poetry: We accept submissions of poetry two times a year when we hold contests; we publish the winning poems submitted from poets who live in a specific geographical region. Please no simultaneous submissions for contests.

Poetry manuscripts must use the following guidelines to be considered:

(1) Previously unpublished poems by women over sixty should be emailed to the judge for that contest at the provided email address, not to Persimmon Tree directly. Poems must be in English.

(2) Include 1-3 poems in a single WORD attachment. No poem may be longer than a page; use 12-point type.

(3) In the subject line of the email message, type PERSIMMON TREE POETRY CONTEST and your last name. In the body of the message, include your name, phone number, email and postal mailing address.

If your submission does not follow these guidelines, it will be deleted. You will not be notified.

Poets whose work is selected for publication will be asked to send short bios and photos, and will need to be available for proofreading their poems. We will let you know if your poem(s) has been accepted or not.

Regions for Contests:

East Coast States (ME, VT, NH, CT, MA, RI, NY, NJ, DE, MD, DC, VA, NC, SC, GA, FL)

Western States (WA, OR, CA, AK, HI, NV, ID, AZ, UT, MT, WY, CO, NM)

Central States (TX, OK, KS, NE, SD, ND, MN, IA, MO, AR, LA, MS, AL, TN, KY, IN, MI, WI, IL, OH, WV, PA)

International Poets (not living in the US)

Next Contest:
Winter contest – East Coast Poets
Submissions accepted: August 15 – October 15, 2019
Judge: Sue Standing
Send submissions to:

Short Takes Contest: The Editors choose a different Short Takes topic for every issue. Short Takes are usually short pieces, fiction or non-fiction (250-500 words), but can also be topical poetry, sometimes even drawings or photography. We’re especially interested in hearing about your experiences, but you can include your thoughts, dreams, ideas and opinions. Humor and irony are always appreciated!

Please follow these guidelines:

    • Your submission MUST be on the topic for this issue; you’ll find the topic listed below. Pieces that do not follow this guideline will not be considered.
    • Please submit your Short Take as a Word attachment to an email. Address the email to In the subject line of the email, type SHORT TAKES, the title of the piece and your last name. [Example: ShTakes, “Editing a Life,” Leonard]
  • At the top of the first page enter your name, address, telephone, and email address. Make sure to include the topic and title of the piece. Without this information, we cannot get back to you if we use the piece.

You may submit to Short Takes as often as you choose.

We will contact you only if your piece is selected. Because our choices are determined by our need for balance and diversity, we cannot include all the good pieces we receive.

Submissions deadline: November 15, 2019
Topic: “Gift/Giving”

Response to Lucy Marx, “The Reckoning of Junot Diaz.”

Please follow these guidelines:

Please submit your Response as a Word attachment to an email. Address the email to In the subject line of the email, type RESPONSE TO MARX, the topic of your piece and your last name.

Your response should be no longer than 1000 words.

At the top of the first page enter your name, address, telephone, and email address. Without this information, we cannot get back to you if we use the piece.

Submissions deadline: November 15, 2019



We at Persimmon Tree are dedicated to bringing you creative fiction, nonfiction, poetry, and art from women over sixty.

Our commitment comes from seeing too many excellent older women writers and artists ignored or disregarded. We live in a youth-oriented society that fails to validate, much less venerate, these women’s talent and skill. Yet they have so much to offer. Decades of life experience have prepared them to speak to the largest questions, and they know how to do this in a multiplicity of ways.

Persimmon Tree wants to make older women’s work available to all ages.

The task is huge. Those of us who are doing it are volunteers, except for our web staff. The editor puts in very long hours, as do the contributing editors. Creating a magazine takes a lot of time and money.

We’re deeply committed—but you can help, too.
Consider sending a donation.
No amount is too small; everything will be very much appreciated.
If you wish to, you can designate your donation in honor of or in memory of an individual.
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*Persimmon Tree is a sponsored project of Fractured Atlas, a non-profit arts
service organization. Contributions for the purposes of Persimmon Tree must
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permitted by law. Money contributed to Persimmon Tree via Fractured Atlas
will be given directly to the magazine.

Whichever way you make your gift, many thanks in helping to grow this persimmon tree!



Bonnie Asselin and Karen Johnson
Marian Baldy
Entrekin Foundation
Barbara Faulkner
Nan Gefen
Jean Gould
Eugenia Grohman
Ann Humphrey
Marianne Kranz
Sue Leonard, in memory of Linda Boldt
Carol Mayer
Sarah McAulay
Barbara Mossberg
Bernard Palitz
Schwartz Family Fund
Kathryn Sklar
Eleanor Swent
Jean Zorn


Anonymous (2)
Wendy Barker
Evangeline Benedetti
Lyn Brakeman
Catharine Clark-Sayles
Jody Cothey
Lucille Lang Day
Mary Ruth Donnelly
Nancy Feinstein
Ruth Gais, in memory of Linda Boldt
Carolyn Geduld
Adele Glimm
Sharon Goodier
Susan Halperin
Cynthia Hogue
Elizabeth Horst
Jo Anne Howell
Aylette Jenness
Catharine Lucas
Mary Lee MacDonald
Shirley Moore
Ruth Saxton
Adrienne Sciutto
Ann F. Stanford
Norma Tucker
Mardi Tuminaro
Louise Weissglas, in memory of Susan Straus Orr
Eva Yachnes
Connie Zumpf


Kathleen Ambrogi
Anonymous (2)
Elly Bache
Patricia Baird
Joanne Barney, in honor of Peggy Bird
Brenda Bellinger
Alice Bloch
Adrianne Borgia
Julia Chase Brand
Susan Buckley
Sally Carlton
Judith Caroll
Myriam Chapman
Suzanne Cikowski
Henrietta Dahlstrom
Louise Dolan
Phyllis Douglas
Roberta Estar
Antoinette Frederick
Gaye Gambell-Peterson
Suvan Geer
Rosemary Hamm, in memory of Bernadette Fenning
Cheryl Heineman
Elyse Hilton
Mary R. Hilvert
Jean Jackmand
Gillian James
Kathleen Jonathan
Barbara Kane
Grace Keating
Sharon Kennedy
Gloria Kirchheimer, in memory of Diane Kalish
Susan Langraf
Jacqueline Lapidus, in memory of Chana Bloch
Lori Levy
Aurora Lewis
Jan Little
Renee Locks
Marylee MacDonald
Gretchen Maclachlan
Carol Marsh
Debby Mayer
Patricia McClelland
Patricia Pomerleau
M. Vivienne Popperl
Susan Rice
Luvon Roberson
Crystal Rogers, in honor of Wendy Cleveland
Marian Rogers
Natalie Safir
Deborah Shepherd
Alice Simpson
Shirley Smith
Lynne Sparrow
Elizabeth Kirkpatrick Vrenios
Alison Webb
Anne B. White
Susan Won
Barbara Zucal

Write Well 2016, 2017 & 2018 Award Winners

Persimmon Tree is thrilled to announce that three of our stories have won 2016 Write Well Awards, one story won a 2017 and another story won a 2018 Write Well Award.

Our 2018 winner is:

Joyce H. Munro, Be Jubilant My Feet   (Winter, 2018)

“Be Jubilant My Feet” is a war story, though it takes place far from the front lines. It is the inner war of a naïve student whose bubble of religiosity is pricked by the injustice and inequality she sees on TV. Given the setting, I could have portrayed her succumbing to the pressure of conforming to rules yet again and thus endeth the lesson. Instead, I wanted to explore how her propensity for guile and her awakening conscience might play out when much more is at stake than childhood or college rules.


Our 2017 winner is:

Joan Newburger for “A Bad Day in the Promised Land” (Winter, 2017)
“A Bad Day in the Promised Land” is one in a series of stories about the Selig and Aaronson families and centered on Eleanor Aaronson. They are in part autobiographical and were inspired by an older relative’s tales of the checkered and colorful history of the author’s Southern Jewish family, the Newburger branch having arrived in the South from Germany before the Civil War.
Click here to read “A Bad Day in the Promised Land”


Our 2016 winners are:

Melody Mansfield for “Fertilizer” (Fall, 2015)
Mansfield conveys subtle details of aging and senility through the tasks of gardening. She begins: “Deadheading is an art. You have to look for the bud, and then make the cut just above it. … What relief it must be, after growing, bursting, blooming, to be cut free, finally, at the end. No dishonor in that.”
Click here to read “Fertilizer”

Gail A. Webber for “Never Waste a Good Hole” (Fall, 2015)
“My father was passionate about holes, and for him, any patch of exposed dirt in the yard was cause for celebration.” See if you can figure out why the teller of this story is digging her own hole in her front yard before Webber explains.
Click here to read “Never Waste a Good Hole”

Ann Tracy for “Quiet Girls” (Winter, 2016)
Tracy, recounting the events of Winter Carnival, evokes the plight of quiet college girls in 1960 (and before). Winter Carnival at Aubrey College is a time for many groups to come together; one of the highlights being “the production … of fraternity and sorority snow sculptures.” The women created a sculpture of Sleeping Beauty, “the ultimate Quiet Girl.” What happened to her will shock you. Or, perhaps not.
Click here to read “Quiet Girls”

2016_write-well-award-kindle-cover Congratulations to our contributors! We are so proud of them and so pleased that they let us share their work in our magazine.

The pieces have been included in the 2016 Write Well Anthology and Newburger’s piece has been included in the 2017 Anthology. You can purchase a copy of the 2016 Anthology here on and/or a copy of the 2017 Anthology also on

Sadly, Write Well has ended their program. You may still order the 2016 and 2017 Kindle versions from Amazon, but there is no book available for the 2018 winners. It was a wonderful idea and we are sorry to see it go.

Advertising in ArtsMart


Persimmon Tree accepts ads by women related to literature and the arts, including publications, performances, openings, workshops, groups, and so on.

All ads appear together on our Arts Mart page. The page can be accessed from anywhere in the magazine by clicking on the ArtsMart logo, which is on the upper right of every page.


If you wish us to format your ad, please provide up to 250 words of text; a main head and optional subheads, as well as one hyperlink to the website (e.g., point of sale, personal web site), and
a single image no larger than 130 x 190 pixels, in either JPG or GIF file format.

Display ads (provided as a single image in either JPG or GIF file format) must be no less that 580 pixels wide, and can be no more than 700 pixels in length.


1x placement (3 months online) $110
2x placement (6 months online) $175
3x placement (9 months online) $225
4x placement (1 year online) $255


Issue Reservations Copy
Summer May 31 June 7
Fall August 31 September 7
Winter November 30 December 7
Spring February 28 March 7

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