Deputy Director, Communications and Marketing

As PEN America approaches the celebration of its 100th anniversary, the organization is poised to dramatically expand its role celebrating literature and defending free expression worldwide—and public communications is key to that endeavor. PEN America seeks a seasoned communications professional to embark on a new role as deputy director of communications and marketing.

Reporting to the senior director of communications and marketing, the deputy serves as the department’s number two and chief media relations strategist, planning press rollouts of reports and initiatives, devising media strategies around marquee events, drafting press materials, and advising staff on how to advance our work and mission through the press. The deputy director also manages workflow for major projects and helps oversee editorial content across PEN America’s platforms.

This is a position for an experienced media relations professional who’s eager to expand into content strategy and marketing. The right candidate has at least seven years of experience in media relations and public communications for a nonprofit group, advocacy organization, government office, literary organization, or publisher—and has a deep commitment to literature, human rights, and free expression.

This position is based at our New York City headquarters and will require occasional weekend and evening work, especially during major events.


Media relations strategy and execution (60 percent)

  • In partnership with the senior director, the deputy director will set public relations strategy for events, festivals, readings, publications, campaigns, open letters, and other initiatives.
  • Draft, post, and disseminate press materials including press releases, advisories, quick quotes, op-eds, editorial board memos, and pitch notes.
  • Cultivate and expand PEN America’s network of journalist relationships and maintain organization’s media lists.
  • Provide one-on-one and occasional group media trainings for staff.
  • Oversee the lifecycle of op-eds, from ideation to drafting to editing to pitching.
  • Monitor and provide regular readouts of performance.

Project oversight and department administration (20 percent)

  • Perform needs assessment for major projects and initiatives, working in close partnership with event, project, and advocacy teams.
  • Draft project and campaign briefs in partnership with colleagues across the organization and develop work plans against them.
  • Own workflow management within the department, ensuring that staff understand expectations and deliver on work in a timely way.
  • Act as principal deputy to senior director, occasionally managing team meetings and managing cross-departmental meetings; assist in overseeing departmental budget.

Editorial oversight (20 percent)

  • Ensure that fresh, timely content that appeals to broad audiences appears on our website regularly, editing incoming content and producing content as needed (Q&As, blog posts, podcast episodes, explainers, etc.)
  • In partnership with program teams, manage editorial calendar to ensure publications are produced to high standards and on-time.
  • Oversee copy editing and fact checking, maintaining high editorial standards and ensuring overall harmony of editorial product with PEN America’s mission and policy goals.
  • Assist on website projects as needed; manage external writers, editors, and copyeditors.


  • Seven years of progressively responsible experience in a demanding media relations or public communications role, preferably with a nonprofit, government office, literary group, or publisher.
  • Experience managing early-career staff and interns.
  • Strong editorial judgment and deep knowledge of AP style.
  • Experience using WordPress and comfort with working on the back end of websites.
  • Experience using Meltwater or similar media management software platforms.
  • Understanding of social media’s role in public relations.
  • Strong copy editing, traffic management, headline writing, and overall organizational skills. You should be highly organized with a meticulous attention to detail.
  • Knowledge of or desire to learn content strategy, SEO, and governance.
  • Passion for literature and the freedom to write.
  • Sense of humor; ability to stay calm in stressful situations.

Salary and Benefits: PEN America offers competitive compensation and benefits, commensurate with experience.

To Apply:

Please submit a cover letter and resume, unedited writing sample, and the contact information for three references. Please submit the entire application to [email protected]. One PDF is preferred. Please use “Deputy Director, Communications and Marketing” with your name as the subject of your email (for example, “Deputy Director, Communications and Marketing – Jane Doe”). Only complete applications will be reviewed and only shortlisted candidates will be contacted.

PEN America is an equal opportunity employer that does not discriminate in its hiring practices and, in order to build the strongest possible workforce, actively seeks a diverse applicant pool.

No phone calls, please.

About PEN America:

PEN America stands at the intersection of literature and human rights to protect free expression in the United States and worldwide. We champion the freedom to write, recognizing the power of the word to transform the world. Our mission is to unite writers and their allies to celebrate creative expression and defend the liberties that make it possible.