Senior Manager, Freedom to Write Center

PEN America, a nonprofit organization working at the intersection of literature and human rights, seeks an enterprising and determined senior manager  to lead its Combating Online Cultural Repression and Erasure project and to build out a body of related research and advocacy on surveillance and other digital threats to writers and creative expression internationally. This is a full-time position based at PEN America’s New York City headquarters or Washington, D.C. office, reporting to the Director of the PEN/Barbey Freedom to Write Center.

Globally, cultural repression and erasure are being deployed in the digital realm. Repressive governments are expanding long-running policies of cultural repression and erasure to include digital methods. PEN America’s Combatting Online Cultural Repression and Erasure (COCRE) project and broader work in this area aims to examine how online cultural repression is evolving, identify and examine instances and trends, and identify and advocate for strategies to combat this phenomenon. The project includes providing intellectual leadership to steer a research agenda, managing a series of research case studies into three affected communities, Crimean Tatars, Inner Mongolians and Kurdish communities, and facilitating advocacy efforts to advance the findings and recommendations emerging from the research.   

The senior manager will be responsible for the day-to-day implementation  of the COCRE product, including managing partner relationships, overseeing the development of risk assessments and research plans, managing and contributing to the development of three case studies and related advocacy, reporting to donors, and managing budgets. As a secondary priority, the role also requires identifying and undertaking other opportunities to design, fund and undertake adjacent projects and collaborations that position PEN America to contribute meaningfully to these international free expression challenges.  

In alignment with PEN America’s current policy, all applicants should be available to report to the office at least three days per week. This policy is subject to change.


  • Oversee, provide intellectual leadership for, and ensure the success of a multi-pronged research and advocacy program aimed at documenting and mobilizing rights respecting global responses to digital cultural repression 
  • Manage and contribute to the research and publication of the three case studies 
  • Undertake a risk assessment process that includes digital, physical and COVID-related risks, culminating in appropriate security protocols and project methodologies that foreground the safety of partners and participants 
  • Help conceive, develop and lead advocacy on digital cultural repression and erasure, including facilitating the participation of cultural and linguistic rights defenders in global human rights fora
  • Organize and participate in a convening of cultural and linguistic rights defenders  
  • Manage and oversee all expenditures and budget reporting for assigned projects; Prepare grant reports and oversee the evaluation of this work by tracking and reporting on project-based metrics
  • Develop and fundraise for additional related projects, and expand PEN America’s body of work on these issues 
  • Write and publicize reports, briefing papers, letters, news releases, op-eds, and submissions to international bodies based on the research conducted
  • Develop recommendations for improvements in free expression rights as they relate to the research and findings; devise and implement local, regional, and international advocacy strategies to change laws, policies and practices and contribute to an enabling environment for free speech and expression
  • Represent PEN America in meetings, panels, and advocacy as needed
  • Other responsibilities as determined as defined by the director, PEN/Barbey Freedom to Write Center

All PEN America staff are considered to be stakeholders in the development of our shared organization. As such, staff play a role in varied activities within the workplace as part of their job responsibilities. These may include committees or task forces to work on office issues, diversity and inclusion, strategy projects, training or other initiatives.


  • Minimum of at least five years of relevant professional experience in international human rights, cultural rights, digital policy or international affairs. Experience in relevant geographic or thematic areas related to the project is highly desirable.
  • Demonstrated success in all aspects of project management
  • Understanding of and interest in free expression, cultural rights, digital rights, and/or surveillance
  • Proactive and able to work under pressure and without daily supervision, to prioritize assignments as needed, and to balance multiple deadlines in a fast-paced environment
  • Demonstrated analytical skills and report writing experience required
  • Outstanding organizational skills and superb attention to detail
  • Strong facility with interpersonal communication and relationship building
  • Track record for independent project management, problem-solving, critical thinking, innovation, creativity, and effectiveness
  • Excellent written and oral communication skills

Salary and Benefits: PEN America offers competitive compensation and full benefits. The salary range for this position is $75-85k commensurate with experience. Candidates whose expectations are outside this range are welcome to apply, as PEN America is open to considering talented individuals at varying stages of their careers. PEN America’s benefits package includes medical, dental, and vision health insurance, paid time off, 10 paid holidays, pre-tax commuter benefits and a 403b retirement plan.


Please submit a cover letter, resume, and unedited writing sample to [email protected]. Use “Senior Manager, FTWC” with your name as the subject of your email (for example, “Senior Manager, FTWC – Jane Doe”). Please also share where you heard about this position in the body of your email. 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. 


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.