Assistant, Literary Programs and Emerging Voices

PEN America, a growing nonprofit organization that stands at the intersection of literature and human rights, seeks a highly organized, skilled, and energetic literary programs and Emerging Voices assistant. This role is a core to PEN America’s writing and literary programs initiatives, which facilitate the production of various programs that include, but are not limited to, the Emerging Voices Fellowship, DREAMing Out Loud, the Worker Writers School, and PEN Out Loud, which support underrepresented, marginalized, and immigrant writers on behalf of their literary pursuits, as well as convenes literary artists and activists in dialogue for cross-cutting, thought-provoking, and relevant conversations.

The ideal candidate is an enthusiastic self-starter and highly organized with strong attention to detail; experienced in project management using a range of approaches and techniques; maintains strong interpersonal, written, and verbal communication skills; knowledgeable of established and emerging literary artists and writers, as well as developments within the publishing industry; experienced in public outreach, event promotion, and program development; skilled in managing several concurrent timelines and projects at once; has ability to manage professional relations with various constituencies, and represent the programs, department, and institution in a positive manner. This is a full-time position based in New York and reports to the program director of literary programs and Emerging Voices, and will work closely with the literary programs department and other key members of staff.

The literary programs and Emerging Voices assistant’s primary duties include assisting in cross-departmental recruitment and marketing efforts to increase writing programs and literary events awareness and engagement; distributing and monitoring surveys for contact information, demographics, and feedback at various points in the programs; developing and maintaining programs’ social media presence; and assisting the program director with other administrative projects, including in-person and virtual event preparation, and organizing internal documents, meetings, and retreats. Creativity, determination, imagination, and strategic thinking are important aspects of the role, as are strong organizational skills, efficient follow-through on all assignments, and an interest in developing systems to increase efficiency for the program. Professionalism, attention to detail, confidentiality, and discretion are fundamental to this role.

This is an ideal position for an early career professional with at least one year of relevant office experience. The successful candidate will have exposure to multiple aspects of the publishing industry, with significant opportunities to develop a portfolio of skills related to relationship stewardship and events production and to have increased responsibilities over time. The candidate will gain hands-on experience and learn the operational details of executing writing and literary programs, from calendar development to industry communications to event production.

Candidates representing diverse backgrounds are strongly encouraged to apply.


  • Support overlapping programmatic timelines and calendars, ensuring all deadlines are met
  • Manage databases, recordkeeping, event logistics, expense and communications tracking, and other administrative tasks relevant to writing and literary programs
  • Track program alumni and assist with the development and maintenance of a comprehensive database
  • Collect, track, and maintain program data throughout the application process and duration of the program while contributing to the mid-program and annual reports
  • Build, draft, and edit content for PEN America’s website and social media, press releases, one-sheets, and other communications materials, including marketing campaigns on behalf of literary programs and Emerging Voices
  • Cultivate and sustain positive relationships with partners, including high-profile donors, writers, and program affiliates
  • Assist in setting up internal and external meetings, prepare advance briefings and supporting materials, provide meticulous notetaking and follow-up communications
  • Liaise with finance department to track process check requests
  • Assist with recruitment, training, and managing interns
  • Provide other assistance to the literary programs department as needed


  • At least one year of relevant professional experience
  • Meticulous attention to detail and focus on precision in all aspects of work, including understanding brand guidelines and copyediting
  • Demonstrated project management and organization skills, including meeting the logistical needs of multiple projects simultaneously and ability to prioritize tasks or adapt to new priorities in a fast-paced environment
  • Excellent interpersonal and written/oral communications skills; ability to exercise appropriate level of professionalism and discretion when dealing with information of a highly confidential nature
  • Exceptional problem-solving skills, and the ability to follow through from the identification of a challenge to its solution
  • Strong research, writing, and communication capabilities, including capacity to create engaging content targeted toward specific audiences
  • Collaborative, personable energy, with an enthusiasm for building new networks and partnerships
  • Ambitious work ethic and ability to produce high-quality contributions both independently and as part of a professional, fast-paced team
  • Commitment to diversity and inclusiveness through proactive approaches and ability to support relationships with diverse stakeholders
  • Demonstrated interest in acquiring new skills, and ability to do so quickly
  • Ability to research, compile, and summarize data for reports
  • Knowledge of contemporary literature
  • Knowledge of Excel/Google Sheets (required) and Microsoft Office Suite


  • Attention to detail and demonstrated capacity for creative problem-solving are crucial
  • Strong ability to communicate in writing in a range of forms and contexts
  • Ability to handle relationships with stakeholders with tact and maturity
  • Ambitious work ethic and ability to work both autonomously and as part of departmental or cross-departmental team
  • Exceptional organizational skills and the ability to prioritize multiple tasks
  • Exemplary capacity to maintain confidentiality and discretion
  • Social media fluency, especially with Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter

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

To Apply:

Please submit a cover letter, resume, and the contact information for three references. Please submit the entire application as one PDF to [email protected]. Please use “Literary Programs and Emerging Voices Assistant” and your name as the subject of your email (for example, “Literary Programs and Emerging Voices 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.

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.