Program Coordinator, PEN Across America

PEN America, a nonprofit organization that stands at the intersection of literature and human rights to protect open expression in the United States and worldwide, seeks an innovative, energetic, and highly organized program coordinator for PEN Across America. This is a full-time position based in New York.

This role will advance our PEN Across America program that mobilizes PEN America members and allies in communities outside of major metropolitan coastal cities. Through this program, we interest, educate, and activate local audiences on issues including local promotion of press freedom, the intersection of literature and activism, the amplification of marginalized voices, and the defense of free expression. This is an exciting opportunity to build new advocacy efforts at the local level by leveraging PEN America’s unique assets, including a national membership and expertise in free expression and press freedom issues, and reach into journalistic, literary, cultural, and academic circles.

This position will support the development and execution of events and other activities with partners across the country led by PEN America Members, journalists, community activists, and allied organizations such as libraries, independent bookstores, universities, and civic groups. Responsibilities also include broader literary advocacy and press freedom mobilization activities on the national level, and some support for organization-wide initiatives and event-planning. The position will collaborate with a growing network of regional members and partners to facilitate a range of programs including town halls, civic dialogues, skill-building sessions, film screenings, lectures, panel conversations, bookstore events, activism and engagement opportunities, and other advocacy-related activities.

The successful candidate will demonstrate affinity for PEN America’s mission; experience in project management using a range of approaches and techniques; experience with issue-based digital campaigns; interest in human rights advocacy and the literary community; a strong belief in free expression principles; and significant measures of energy, organization, imagination, and determination. The candidate will have experience handling logistics for multiple projects and events, drafting communications materials for local events and national campaigns across all distribution channels, and developing and supporting relationships with new and diverse stakeholders. Attention to detail and an unwillingness to be deterred by challenges are crucial. Knowledge of journalism and press freedom issues is strongly preferred.

This position will work with the PEN Across America program director, in close collaboration with PEN America’s Membership, Literary Programs, and U.S. Free Expression teams.


  • Develop programming, mobilizations, and other initiatives that advance PEN America’s mission in selected cities across the country
  • Identify and collaborate on implementation of programming opportunities presented by PEN America Members, organizational partners, and community leaders
  • Draft communications briefs, correspondence, social media messaging, media alerts, and event reports
  • Coordinate with speakers, venues, and community partners around event and activity needs
  • Contribute to the development of new trainings, tools, and additional resources to engage around press freedom defense, literary advocacy, and threats to free expression
  • Manage databases to track points of contact, program development, local news issues, and other information relevant to PEN Across America programming
  • Assist in identifying and developing models for ongoing, self-sustained pockets of PEN America activity outside the major metropolitan coastal cities
  • Cultivate and sustain positive relationships with Members, partners, and organization allies
  • Represent PEN America regionally at events, book fairs, and industry events


  • Two to five years of relevant nonprofit, advocacy, and/or event coordination experience
  • Knowledge of journalism, press freedom, and literary expression issues at both national and local levels
  • Experience working in regions outside New York City; Washington, D.C.; and Los Angeles preferred
  • Demonstrated project and volunteer management skills, including meeting the logistical needs of multiple projects simultaneously
  • 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
  • A zeal for outreach and activism, with the ability to draw in others for common purpose
  • Track record of successfully supporting and managing contingencies for new community initiatives
  • Commitment to diversity and inclusiveness through proactive approaches
  • Energetic self-starter with ability to think creatively and collaboratively, and to work independently and as part of a professional, fast-paced team
  • Ability to travel in the United States as needed (estimated at up to 25 percent)
  • Familiarity with WordPress and Raiser’s Edge preferred but not required

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

To Apply:

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 “PEN Across America Program Coordinator” and your name as the subject of your email (for example, “PEN Across America Program Coordinator – 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.