Literary Mama writing about the many faces of motherhood
A Conversation with Brain, Child Editor-in-Chief Marcelle Soviero

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Part of Literary Mama's series of interviews with editors and publishers of women-focused journals and books.

Marcelle Sovierois the author of An Iridescent Life: Essays on Motherhood and Stepmotherhood. She is also the Editor-in-Chief of Brain, Child: The Magazine for Thinking Mothers. Brain, Child, founded in 2000, is the largest literary magazine devoted to mothering.

Her award winning essays have been published in The New York Times, Salon.com, Eating Well, New York Metro, Babble.com, Literary Mama, Upper East Side, Wilton, StepMom, Anderbo, and featured on The Story on National Public Radio.

She lives in Wilton Connecticut with her husband and five children.

Christina M. Speed: How did you come to Brain, Child as a reader, and later, as Editor-in-Chief?

MS: I have read Brain, Child since it began publishing in 2000. I love the magazine both as a parent and as a writer. In July 2012, when submitting my work for possible publication, I noticed that Brain, Child was closing. I called the cofounders of the magazine and decided to buy it nearly on the spot.

CMS: How did you come to this decision? Do you have a background in publishing?

MS: I have an MFA from New York University and started my career writing for Popular Science. I moved to editing for the same magazine and then worked in PR for other magazines. I later joined the online world with a focus on helping large and small publishers get their content online. In May of 2012, I published my first book An Iridescent Life: Essays on Motherhood and Stepmotherhood. At the time I bought Brain, Child, I was seeking a project to compliment my teaching and writing. It was the best decision of my life!

CMS: How does writing and motherhood intersect in your life?

MS: I have five children: 9, 12, 13, 15, and 16 years old. I banished the idea of having long stretches to write long ago, and instead make appointments with myself. I wake at 4 a.m. every day to write, even on weekends, and I carry a notebook with me everywhere I go. Thankfully, I have a separate home office above our garage. This allows me to balance the physical space-needs of Brain, Child and my responsibilities with my family. I also attend writers’ conferences and, for one week in winter and one week in summer, I spend time on my own to write and recenter myself.

CMS: What inspires your editing and writing processes?

MS: The editing process is much more cerebral and logical than the drafting process. The writer must bring an objective eye to the work, and then to the spirit or intent of the work. If a piece is murky, readers will stop! In editing my own work and that of others, I try to find the insights and bring out the writer’s intent. As for writing, I do not wait around for inspiration. I arrange my life around my writing with my personal journal, dictation into my phone, or that notebook I am constantly carrying around. I believe it's possible to be inspired at any point in our lives. I’m always open.

CMS: How is Brain, Child different from other literary parenting magazines?

MS: Brain, Child has been published since 2000. It is a print magazine found on newsstands. Our readers spend an average of five hours with each issue, reading it cover to cover. We receive hundreds of submissions, and select the very best. We like pieces that share different perspectives and circumstances and work with writers all over the world. We look for essays and stories with a narrative that dramatizes a situation and evokes feeling. Alongside the creative essays, we have poetry, fiction, and in-depth features that cover issues affecting parents today.

CMS: What is your vision for Brain, Child?

MS: We’d like to continue to publish best-of-breed essays that give voice to the multitude of different parenting experiences. Simultaneously, we are seeking to represent the wider voice of motherhood, a more global voice, by publishing work from international writers.

Also, we are currently expanding the magazine both in print and online. We are adding departments, such as poetry, and are also rolling out new content on the website regularly. We have a special issue coming out in the spring that will focus on raising teens. And of course, we’ve expanded our presence on mobile devices — Brain, Child is now available on iPad, Nook, Kindle, and Android devices.

CMS: What is the future of mother-writing?

MS: The future of mother-writing is strong. Over the last decade, mother-writing has been validated as a legitimate genre with such outlets for content as HuffPost Parents, Motherlode, Literary Mama, and Brain, Child to name a few. This increases readership, which then increases publication and ultimately expands the reach of mother-voices. Mothers write with an authenticity not found in other genres. We write of children and highly personal experiences to which many people can relate. Our voices are direct, bold, and necessary.

Earlier parts of this series include interviews with Brooke WarnerChristine Redman-Waldeyer, and Sarah Gilbert.


Christina Marie Speed writes poetry and creative nonfiction. Her work has appeared in a variety of online and print publications, including Caper Journal, The Minneapolis Star-Tribune Online, and The View From Here. She lives with her husband and two sons in a sunny fourth-floor walkup in Brooklyn, New York.


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I was so pleased when I heard that Brain, Child would continue and it's great to learn more about Marcelle's background.
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