Literary Programs Internship

PEN America seeks interns to work with our Literary Programs team on PEN America’s public events for writers, such as the PEN World Voices Festival of International Literature, as well as our community-engaged writing programs. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, this internship will take place remotely during normal business hours in New York City. Interns receive mentoring and hands-on direction from multiple staff members, and have the opportunity to participate in skill-building workshops and discussions about professional development in the nonprofit sector. They will also gain behind-the-scenes insights and valuable exposure to major players and issues in the writing and publishing industries.

Literary Programs interns will assist the festival programs manager, events producer, and other Literary Programs team members in evaluating the success of our 2021 World Voices Festival and beginning to plan ahead for changes to make in 2022, particularly by assessing our outreach to and development of target audiences, identifying top-choice authors to prioritize for the next festival, and researching new community partnerships that will make our programming even stronger and more vibrant in the future. There will be opportunities to provide support on grant reporting and analysis as well, an invaluable skill in the nonprofit sector. Interns will also be instrumental in closing out our annual cycle of programming for DREAMing Out Loud, our tuition-free writing workshop for young undocumented and immigrant writers. In particular, interns will gain hands-on publishing experience by assisting with each step of the anthology development process: submissions and curation, editing, layout, design, and book distribution.

The successful candidate will be a highly organized, detail-oriented communicator, creative thinker, and proactive problem solver with the ability to break down complex projects into lucid research, trackable goals, and actionable visions for the future.

Experience in graphic design and social media are a plus, and fluency in using and designing programming around virtual event platforms, social media, and other forms of digital engagement is highly desirable. Ability to write and translate English to Spanish is an exceptional plus that we will prioritize for DREAMing Out Loud.

This is an unpaid position. PEN America internships are also eligible for college credit.


  • Assist festival team with review of 2021 programs and research for future programs, including qualitative takeaways and demographic statistics, making recommendations for new goals to prioritize in 2022
  • Analyze and archive data around ticket buyers, festival events, and audiences
  • Help build an outreach campaign for expanding the festival’s virtual presence once all videos are available online
  • Research target audiences and partners who can help generate audiences for year-round public programming, including PEN Out Loud
  • Research new opportunities for program development based on innovations, fundraising prospects, and more from related nonprofits and book festivals
  • Support and build our social media strategy to bring more people to our programming
  • Brainstorm brand new ways to continue improving resources on writing, publishing, and immigration rights that we offer to students in our community-engaged writing programs, DREAMing Out Loud and the Worker Writers School
  • Provide essential support at all levels of development for volume 3 of our DREAMing Out Loud anthology, including book distribution, publicity strategy, design, and curation
  • Assist with administering writing programs, including communication with students, weekly workshops, stipend disbursements and finances, and special events
  • Design marketing collateral, such as postcards, flyers, and social media posts for festival and writing programs

Desired Attributes:

  • Must be able to provide proof of authorization to intern in the United States
  • Strong attention to detail, organization, and accuracy of research
  • Efficacious communication skills across multiple platforms (email, phone, etc.)
  • Ability to multitask and organize multiple projects at once
  • A creative, open mind, eager to solve problems and discover new alternatives
  • Concrete experience in strategizing social media to promote events and outreach
  • Meaningful exposure to the Google Office Suite, especially Docs, Sheets, and Forms, though skill-building will be part of the program
  • Although not required, lived experience as a member of one or more of the communities served by our writing workshops is a plus for supporting our writers as they build power from within their own communities
  • Passion for inspiring and building communities around a shared love of literature—and a conviction in fostering cross-cultural competence through books—are essential
  • Bilingual writing and speaking abilities in Spanish are also a plus
  • Experience in graphic design and using content management systems (like WordPress) preferred but not required

Application Periods:

Be sure to include the dates of your availability with your application.

  • Fall Internship: Please submit your application between July 1 and September 15.
  • Winter/Spring Internship: Please submit your application between November 1 and January 15.
  • Summer Internship: Please submit your application between April 1 and June 15.

To Apply:

Please submit a cover letter directly addressing specific requirements for the internship as outlined above, a resume, an unedited writing sample, and the contact information for three references. Please submit the entire application to [email protected]. One PDF is preferred. Please use “Literary Programs Intern” with your name as the subject of your email (for example, “Literary Programs Intern – 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.