PEN/Barbey Freedom to Write Center Internship – Chinese Speaker

PEN America seeks a motivated intern to work with the PEN/Barbey Freedom to Write Center. The Freedom to Write Center intern will support our work defending and promoting free expression and supporting writers at risk in the United States and around the world. This work includes research and advocacy for writers at risk and the freedom to write globally, including regional advocacy and programming focused on China and Hong Kong.

The intern will have the opportunity to conduct research on free expression issues internationally; draft advocacy materials, including press releases, memos, and briefing papers; conduct research for and provide input to thematic reports; and prepare for major advocacy campaigns and events.

This internship is based in New York and can be on-site or remote. This is a paid internship at a rate of $15/hour and would require a commitment of 15-20 hours/week for 15-20 weeks, with an option for extension. All internships are also eligible for college credit.


The intern will be given responsibilities that involve the following:

  • Work closely and collaboratively with the Freedom to Write Center on research, developing advocacy strategies and website/social media content, and casework
  • Conduct regular research on writers facing severe threats globally and monitor the legal cases or harassment against them
  • Help to track individual cases, update information in PEN America’s Writers at Risk Database and on the website, and develop materials on individual cases for advocacy purposes
  • Conduct regular qualitative data entry and verification of information about threats to writers at risk
  • Draft social media content, press statements, and blog posts related to key cases and free expression developments
  • Assist with providing concrete help to individual writers at risk, including verifying cases and providing referrals and letters of support
  • Update individual case pages of writers and artists at risk on
  • Translate from English to Simplified Chinese advocacy materials

Desired Attributes:

  • Interns must be able to provide proof of authorization to intern and work in the United States
  • Regional/country expertise in China and Hong Kong 
  • Chinese language skills are required
  • Strong research, writing, and analytical skills
  • Keen logistical eye for details and excellent organizational skills
  • Superb writing skills, including the ability to craft clear, user-friendly language
  • Strong familiarity with social media platforms
  • Knowledge of global human rights and free expression issues
  • Interest or experience in law, journalism, or tech industry valuable
  • Fluency in Google Drive document management and suite of applications; familiarity with Google Sheets is valuable
  • High energy and efficiency
  • Strong work ethic
  • Meticulous attention to detail and deadlines
  • Strong interpersonal skills and an aptitude for collaboration, creativity, and initiative
  • Commitment to the principles of free expression
  • Video, audio, and/or web production experience is a plus

Application Deadline:

March 20, 2023, 11:59pm EST

To apply:

Please email a resume and cover letter to Rachel Powers, Program Assistant, PEN/Barbey Freedom to Write Center, at [email protected]. Please include the cycle you’re applying for, and your name as the subject of your email (for example, “Spring FTWC Internship – 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.