A Day in June

A Day in June
By Marisa Labozzetta


When thirty-two-year-old Eric Boulanger returns to his Vermont hometown to care for his mother, he attempts to boost the town’s failing economy with a contest that will offer a free wedding. The winner is Bostonian Ryan Toscano whose fiancé has left to become a Jesuit, but whose outspoken Jewish grandmother insists she find a substitute in time for the gala affair. Eric’s well-intentioned brainstorm sets three millennials on an–at times hilarious at times painful–odyssey of self-discovery, one full of surprises amid deceptions, that forces them and an entire town to confront their notions of faith and death, love and acceptance.

A Day in June delighted me with its graceful, smart, witty writing. And with this rare gift: Marisa Labozzetta’s delicious premise delivers.

—Elinor Lipman, On Turpentine Lane


Labozzetta has a marvelous way of pulling the reader into the story. Her characters are wonderfully well written with delightfully deep dialogue and a fast-paced plot. From the laugh-out-loud sarcastic barbs between Chamber of Commerce rivals to Jason’s existential ponderings about morality and mortality,
the author handles both humorous and agonizingly sad situations with an insight into human nature that renders her characters fully rounded. Surprising plot
twists keep readers interested right up until the very end. Part love story, part philosophical discourse, this one leaves an impression.

US Review of Books


Winner of an American Fiction Award, Best Book Award, and Best New Fiction Finalist Award.


To order, CLICK HERE.

When They Took Dad Away

When They Took Dad Away
by Barbara McGillicuddy Bolton

In the spring of 1952 eight-year-old Barbara and her brother Clement, fourteen months her senior, return from Sunday School one afternoon to find that Daddy has been taken away. He is confined for the next one-and-a-half years in Augusta State Mental Hospital. When They Took Dad Away depicts the four McGillicuddy children’s shock at losing Daddy, Mumma’s struggle to provide for their future, the generous and disruptive ministrations of relatives, and, ultimately, Daddy’s reentry into family life, difficult in various ways for all involved. The story begins in Woolwich, Maine, population circa 1000, and ends in Houlton, Maine, population circa 8000.

To order visit https://www.northcountrypress.com/when-they-took-dad-away.html

Barbara McGillicuddy Bolton’s poetry has appeared in Echoes Magazine and National Catholic Reporter, her short fiction in Puckerbrush Review and Persimmon Tree. She contributed a chapter to Uncovering Teacher Leadership: Essays and Voices from the Field. In 2015, she self-published a novel, Lulu Goes to College, based on her freshman year in college. Barbara grew up in Maine and graduated from Colby College. A retired teacher with three grown children, she and her husband spend summers in Aroostook County and live the rest of the year in Brooklyn, New York.

Amy Smith Handwovens from Blue Feet Studio

Amy Smith Handwovens from Blue Feet Studio
A pleasure to weave; a pleasure to wear

This is a cantankerous ad. I’m offering to sell you my beautiful work, but not online. You’ll have to come to a show in person.

I am a handweaver, designing and weaving scarves and shawls. In my studio on an island in Maine, I work on simple 8-shaft floor looms. I weave exclusively in Tencel, an eco-friendly fiber with lovely drape and luster. My pieces are elegant: fascinating up close, to catch your eye; striking from across a room, to catch someone else’s.

I do not sell online because I’d rather spend my time weaving than photographing each unique piece or babysitting a website. So come to my shows! First in 2020 is the American Craft Council Show in Baltimore, February 21-23. I’ll be there as the recipient of the Randy Darwall Grant, honoring that renowned fiber artist. Then I return to the Smithsonian Craft and Design Show, “the most prestigious juried show of fine American crafts in the country,” in Washington. D.C., April 22-26.

Please come see me and my distinguished work at one of these shows. And when you do, introduce yourself as a Persimmon Tree reader. No gimmicks, discounts, or prizes, just this (cantankerous) ad to support Persimmon Tree, to strengthen this community of readers, and, I hope, to get to meet you!

For more information, CLICK HERE.
For upcoming Baltimore show, CLICK HERE. For upcoming Washington, DC show, CLICK HERE.

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.


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Our Editor is Sue Leonard. Her contact information is editor@persimmontree.org.
Our Publisher is Nan Fink Gefen.

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: Submissions@persimmontree.org. 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:
West Coast States
Submissions Accepted: March 15 – May 15, 2020
Guest Judge: Devereaux Baker

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 editor@persimmontree.org. In the subject line of the email, type SHORT TAKES, the title of the piece and your last name. [Example: Short Takes, “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: May 15, 2020
Topic: “Election Stories”


Thoughts on the Nineteenth Amendment: women win the vote:  The Nineteenth Amendment granting all women the vote was passed by Congress on June 4, 1919, and ratified on August 18, 1920. We invite your thoughts, at any length, about this hundredth anniversary. We hope to put together a special segment with your submissions.

Please follow these guidelines:

  • Please submit as a Word attachment to an email. Address the email to editor@persimmontree.org. In the subject line of the email, type NINETEENTH, the title of the piece and your last name. [Example: Nineteenth, “Catchy Title,” 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 as many times on this subject as you choose.

Submissions deadline: May 15, 2020



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.
(For information on our privacy policy, click here.)

1. Click here to pay with a credit card

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2. If you would prefer to contribute by check, you can do so by making out your check to Persimmon Tree and mailing it to

Jean Zorn
Persimmon Tree
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Apt. 212
Fort Lauderdale, FL 33316


*Persimmon Tree is a tax exempt charitable organization, pursuant to IRC Section 501(c)(3). Persimmon Tree is also a sponsored project of Fractured Atlas, a non-profit arts service organization. All contributions to Persimmon Tree, whether made by check directly to Persimmon Tree or by credit card via Fractured Atlas, are tax-deductible to the fullest extent permitted by law. 

However you make your gift, and whatever its size, many thanks in helping to grow this persimmon tree!



Anonymous (2)
Marian Baldy in honor of Lenice Wendorf
Margaret Bean
Devara Berger in memory of Derek Pogson
Susan Bryant
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Patricia Cogen
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Five Partners Foundation
Nan Gefen
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Jean Zorn


Mary Chris Bailey
Sing Baker
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Greta Berman
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Michael and Lisa Boldt
Barbara Bolton
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Mardi Tuminaro
Elizabeth Vrenios


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Marie Anderson
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LinMarie DiCianni in honor of Dana_Writing Alive!
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Susan Won
EZ Zimmer

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 Amazon.com and/or a copy of the 2017 Anthology also on Amazon.com.

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.

The page can be accessed from anywhere in the magazine by clicking on ArtsMart, which is at the top 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

Reservations and Payment

To reserve space, email ads@persimmontree.org. Payment is required to secure your reservation.

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Email ads@persimmontree.org. If you prefer to speak by phone, please include a phone number and times when you can be reached. Our volunteer ad coordinator will contact you.