About Us

Who We Are

Persimmon Tree, an online magazine, is a showcase for the creativity and talent of women over sixty. Too often older women’s artistic work is ignored or disregarded, and only those few who are already established receive the attention they deserve. Yet many women are at the height of their creative abilities in their later decades and have a great deal to contribute. Persimmon Tree is committed to bringing this wealth of fiction, nonfiction, poetry, and art to a broader audience, for the benefit of all.

Sue Leonard retired in 2004 from teaching history and politics at an independent girls’ school. She is the current editor of Persimmon Tree.

Nan Gefen founded Persimmon Tree in 2007 and is its Publisher/Editor Emeritus. She has published three nonfiction books, most recently It Never Ends: Mothering Middle-aged Daughters. Her novel, Clear Lake, won the gold medal in general fiction in the IndieFab contest.

Kitty Cunningham retired in 2000 from her position as Head Librarian from the same independent girls’ school at which Sue worked. She is the author of Conversations with a Dancer with Michael Ballard (St. Martin’s Press, 1981).

Elizabeth Zimmer writes about the arts, mostly dance, and teaches writing all over the place, most recently at Hollins University in Roanoke, VA.

Jean Zorn has recently become publisher, with responsibility for Persimmon Tree‘s administrative, legal and financial matters. She is a lawyer, and retired in March 2018 from the City University of New York School of Law, where she had worked for more than 30 years, primarily as a Professor of Law, and, most recently, as Senior Associate Dean for Administration and Finance. In addition to her publishing duties, Jean edits Short Takes.

Gena Raps is a concert pianist whose new recording of the late piano works of Brahms was released last year to stunning reviews in Audiophile and in Fanfare. She is on the faculty of the Mannes College of Music in Manhattan. A competition for composers in her name has been established at the Juilliard School. Every year two composers are chosen to write a string quartet and a trio; the works are premiered in Alice Tully Hall at Lincoln Center.

Peggy Shumaker served as Alaska State Writer Laureate. Professor emerita from University of Alaska, Fairbanks, Shumaker teaches in the Rainier Writing Workshop MFA at Pacific Lutheran University. She serves on the Advisory Board for Storyknife, and on the board of the Alaska Arts and Culture Foundation. She was honored by the Rasmuson Foundation with its Distinguished Artist Award, and by the National Endowment on the Arts with a fellowship in poetry. Shumaker is editor of the Boreal Books series (an imprint of Red Hen Press), editor of the Alaska Literary Series at University of Alaska Press, contributing editor for Alaska Quarterly Review, and poetry editor for Persimmon Tree. She is the author of eight books of poetry; her new and selected volume of poems Cairn will be published by Red Hen Press in 2018. Please visit her website at www.peggyshumaker.com.

Marcia Freedman is a member of the founding Editorial Board of Persimmon Tree. She has published a political memoir, Exile in the Promised Land, an account of the establishment of second-wave feminism in Israel and her experience as a Member of the Israeli Knesset (Parliament).


Publisher/Editor Emeritus
Nan Fink Gefen

Sue Leonard

Jean Zorn

Contributing Editors
Kitty Cunningham
Marcia Freedman
Gena Raps
Peggy Shumaker
Elizabeth Zimmer
Jean Zorn

Ads and Outreach
Marcia Freedman

Judith Arcana
Anita Barrows
Jill Breckenridge
Rosellen Brown
Toi Derricotte
Eve Ensler
Lillian Faderman
Tess Gallagher
Sandra Gilbert
Vivian Gornick
Susan Griffin
Marilyn Hacker
Maxine Hong Kingston
Maxine Kumin
Jane Lazarre
Deena Metzger
Naomi Newman
Alicia Ostriker
Letty Cottin Pogrebin
Martha Roth
Sonia Sanchez
Gloria Steinem
Marilyn Yalom
Susan Yankowitz


Website Programming
Girls Are Smarter Inc. / Laura Laytham Zaki


Mills Liaison
Renee Jadushlever

We acknowledge with gratitude the help and support of our many friends—and we remember our dear friend, Esther Broner, who inspired us as we created the magazine and whose spirit continues to inspire. We also remember our good friend and colleague, Linda Boldt, member of the editorial board, assistant editor and constant collaborator, who brought her intelligence and warmth to every aspect of producing the magazine.


Contact Us

Please email editor@persimmontree.org to contact the Persimmon Tree editorial staff.

Email webmaster@persimmontree.org with any problems you have with this website.

We prefer to communicate through email, but if you need to snail mail us something,
our address is:

Persimmon Tree,
255 East 78th Street, New York, NY 10075.

For information on our privacy policy, click here.


Links to Friends and Associate Sites


Literary Links


Feminist Links 


Educational Links


Websites of Contributors, Editors, and Advisors


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