Senior Writer/Editor

PEN America, a nonprofit organization working at the intersection of literature and human rights, seeks an experienced and skillful senior writer/editor to tell the story of PEN America in clear, compelling, and accurate ways. This is a key role in our communications department, and one that operates across our vibrant and creative organization to advance advocacy campaigns, celebrate literary excellence, and support public programming. PEN America is a fast-paced, fast-expanding organization with a growing profile and range of activities. For nearly 100 years, we have defended writers at risk  and advocated for free expression rights; our work in the United States and around the world has become increasingly urgent as threats emerge every day. This is a full-time position based at PEN America’s New York City headquarters and reports to the chief communications officer. Responsiveness, availability, and flexibility to perform some night and weekend work are required.

The senior writer/editor will write in a style that is both conversational and polished, with a deep desire to help experts at PEN America distill their research findings and advocacy work into accessible content for broad audiences. The successful candidate is an experienced, proven, and motivated innovator who will bring value to this crucial and creative role. The candidate is a critical thinker who is skeptical, but not cynical, and can hold their own with other department leaders.

This role involves spending most of the time editing or writing external-facing content. As a member of the team, the senior writer/editor will also contribute to executing an evolving communications strategy. The position will provide an opportunity to stand at the forefront of efforts to defend the First Amendment, champion literary expression, and elevate diverse voices in pursuit of open discourse. Taking up this role will mean embracing a growth mindset to build constituencies, reach audiences, and advance messages.


  • Conceive, compose, and edit a variety of written pieces for digital distribution across PEN America’s multiple channels to build and engage our community of writers and readers, and mobilize new allies
  • Edit research reports, personal essays and op-eds and draft everything from explainers and press releases to Q&As and short newsy pieces
  • Contribute to executive speeches and talking points, and develop messaging that activates and engages online audiences
  • Excel at writing and editing with an uncompromising passion for clarity, concise writing and accuracy
  • Support our entire digital content team, from editing scripts for short videos for social media to drafting new content for the website as programs expand
  • Coordinate with owners of all of PEN America channels to ensure a consistent voice and style across the organization
  • Execute an evolving communications strategy to raise awareness of our mission and impact, advance fundraising and constituent engagement, and amplify our message across multiple channels
  • Join the communications team’s efforts to connect journalists, writers, donors, partners and other key constituencies to motivate and inspire them to support us and trust our resources as reliable, and join our advocacy efforts

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.


  • Bachelor’s Degree in Communications, English, Creative Writing, Journalism, Advertising, Marketing, or another area of study involving writing
  • Minimum of five years of full-time experience working in writing, editing, or copywriting
  • Motivation to work in fast, dynamic environment; a sense of humor is a plus
  • Ability to maintain and juggle multiple or competing priorities at one time
  • Strong interpersonal skills including an ability to listen to and interpret requests and needs
  • Strong knowledge of fundamental writing, editing, and copyediting principles
  • Superior written and verbal communications skills, and the ability to translate jargon and technical language into compelling copy
  • Experience in a newsroom or a journalism-related degree or experience in a similar organization (preferred)
  • Ability to produce a range of blog items, op-eds, newsletters, press releases, and other pieces
  • Familiarity with AP style
  • Computer skills that include the Microsoft Office suite (particularly Word, PowerPoint and Excel), social media platforms and Google workspace
  • Experience in a hybrid virtual work environment (in terms of both technology tools and personal skills)

Note: A writing test will be conducted

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. Submit the entire application to Please use “Senior Writer/Editor” with your name as the subject of your email (for example, “Senior Writer/Editor – 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.