Literary Programs Internship

PEN America seeks interns to work with our literary programs team on PEN America’s public programming, World Voices Festival of International Literature, community-engaged writing programs and fellowships, and literary awards program. 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 and literary arts sectors. 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 literary programs manager, events producer, literary awards program director, and other literary programs team members in preparing for our annual events programming, particularly by assisting with outreach and development of target audiences, identifying top-choice authors to feature, and helping secure new community partnerships that will make our programming even stronger and more vibrant.

Interns who work on our literary awards program will gain exposure to the country’s vibrant cultural landscape through program development and regular communication with PEN America’s literary affiliates. They will receive hands-on administrative experience and learn the operational details of executing a literary awards program, from book submissions to judge and industry communications to ceremony production. Additionally, interns are encouraged to attend and volunteer for PEN America’s public programs and events.

There will be opportunities throughout the internship to provide support on grant reporting and analysis as well, an invaluable skill in the nonprofit sector. Interns will be instrumental in administering our annual cycle of programming for DREAMing Out Loud, our tuition-free writing workshop for young undocumented and immigrant writers, and the Emerging Voices Fellowship, our mentorship for early-career writers from traditionally underrepresented communities. Candidates may indicate their preferred focus areas in their cover letter or interview.

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


  • Assist team with providing research for the curation and production of 2022 programs
  • Devise systems for analyzing and archiving data around ticket buyers, participant demographics, and events
  • Communicate with publishers, literary agents, editors, writers, and translators about literary programs and PEN America’s work at large
  • Monitor the department email accounts and respond to general queries
  • Contribute to the department’s online presence on social media, including drafting social media text and graphics for Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram
  • Research target audiences and partners who can help generate audiences for year-round public programming, Literary Awards, the World Voices Festival, and fellowships and writing workshops
  • Research new opportunities for program development based on innovations, fundraising prospects, and more from related nonprofits, awards programs, and book festivals
  • Provide essential support at all levels of development for volume 4 of our DREAMing Out Loud anthology, including book distribution, publicity strategy, design, and curation
  • Assist with administering writing programs and fellowships, including communication with students/fellows, processing stipend disbursements and finances, and assisting with special events
  • Design marketing collateral, such as postcards, flyers, and social media assets

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 G 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 (e.g., Canva, WordPress, and Adobe Suite) preferred but not required
  • Experience with audio and video editing 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. Interns working on the World Voices Festival during this season should expect to commit to a term that concludes at the end of May. 
  • 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 does not discriminate in its selection practices, and in order to build the strongest possible team, 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.