Assistant, Free Expression Programs

PEN America, a growing nonprofit organization that stands at the intersection of literature and human rights, seeks a dynamic, committed, and highly organized program assistant to support the day-to-day operations of our growing Free Expression Programs team, and work closely with the senior director of Free Expression Programs. This is a full-time position based in New York.

PEN America’s Free Expression Programs defend writers and journalists and protect free expression rights in the United States and around the world. This work includes in-depth research reports and briefing papers on topical issues ranging from “educational gag orders,” protest rights, and disinformation to the state of creative expression in countries such as Turkey and Myanmar; advocacy internationally and in the United States to defend against threats to free expression; and campaigns on policy issues and on behalf of individual writers and journalists under threat. Learn more about PEN America’s work at:

The program assistant will provide direct support to the senior director of Free Expression Programs on a wide range of activities that enable the work of the Free Expression Programs team, including but not limited to planning and organizing team meetings and events; responding to internal and external information requests; and research and communications support as needed. The program assistant collaborates with the FEP team leadership to develop management processes and procedures, manage external relationships, and problem solve. The role will provide the opportunity to gain an understanding of management in a mission-driven non-profit organization, and to build a range of skills. The position requires an energized and highly organized work style, and the ability to work collaboratively on program development. The successful candidate will excel at research and writing, have demonstrated success in executing projects from start to finish, and demonstrate aptitude for working with spreadsheets, databases, and bookkeeping. Ability to take initiative, problem-solve, and work independently are necessary. Candidates should have a passion for PEN America’s mission to defend and celebrate free expression. Basic familiarity with website development or graphic design experience is a plus but not required. 


  • General support and assistance to the senior director of Free Expression Programs
    • Planning team meetings, events, team-building activities, and other general coordination of FEP staff
    • Expense reporting, financial reconciliation, and other budget tasks
    • Calendar management and scheduling of meetings
    • Providing research and drafting of content on an as-needed basis for specific requests related to PEN America meetings, events, and external appearances
    • Responding to internal and external information requests
  • General support across FEP subprogram areas on editorial and program tasks, to possibly include:
    • Information management
    • Drafting social media/website copy
    • Fact-checking and cite-formatting reports, blog posts, white papers, and other written publications
    • Working with subprogram areas to recruit and manage interns and fellows
    • Research tasks
    • Database management and recordkeeping


  • Demonstrated organizational and project management skills
  • Excellent research and writing skills, including proofreading
  • Demonstrated ability to problem solve and to multitask in a fast-paced environment
  • Excellent attention to detail and accuracy
  • Bookkeeping and database management experience a plus
  • Proficiency with Google Suite, Excel, and Zoom (WordPress and Canva a plus)
  • Exceptional interpersonal skills, and ability to think creatively and collaboratively
  • Formidable work ethic and high energy level
  • Exemplary team player with professional demeanor and ability to work independently
  • Commitment to PEN America’s mission to safeguard free expression in the U.S. and abroad

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


Please submit a cover letter, resume, unedited writing sample, and the contact information for three references. Please submit the entire application to [email protected] Please use “Free Expression Program Assistant” and your name as the subject of your email (for example, “Free Expression Program Assistant – 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.


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.