Advocacy Coordinator, Washington, D.C.

PEN America, a growing nonprofit organization that stands at the intersection of literature and human rights, seeks a dynamic, committed, and highly organized advocacy coordinator for our Washington, D.C. office. This is a full-time position reporting to the director of PEN America’s Washington, D.C. office and operating as part of the Free Expression Programs team.

The coordinator will support PEN America’s advocacy agenda with Congress, executive branch agencies and departments, think tanks, counterpart civil society organizations, and the media. The Washington office advocates on a variety of U.S. and international free expression issues, including press freedom; the local news industry crisis; protest rights; disinformation; digital freedom and tech policy; and cases of individual writers, artists, and intellectuals under threat in countries including Saudi Arabia, Russia, China, Myanmar, and Iran, among others.

The successful candidate will be determined, high energy, and passionate about PEN America’s mission to safeguard free expression. Candidates should be able to demonstrate initiative and ability to work independently and multitask in a fast-paced environment. Success requires strong organizational skills, attention to detail, and excellent interpersonal skills. The position affords opportunities to deepen key advocacy and campaigning skills; organize public events; and develop expertise in a range of free expression and human rights issues in the U.S. and globally while working with a dynamic, growing team. There is significant opportunity for professional growth, leading new projects, and building experience and contacts in Washington, D.C.


  • Engage with the executive branch, congressional offices, multilateral organizations, the media, and other nonprofit organizations
  • Draft advocacy materials, including press releases, social media postings, memos, and briefing papers
  • Track and follow committee meetings, hearings, and conferences relevant to PEN America’s legislative and executive branch engagement
  • Provide support for planning and execution of virtual and in-person events and visiting delegations
  • Manage and expand a database of key contacts in Washington, D.C. (legislative and executive branch, multilateral organizations, media, and the NGO community)
  • Coordinate Washington-focused advocacy with colleagues across the Free Expression Programs team
  • Provide administrative support for the Washington director and office, including financial reconciliation, intern recruitment and management, and recordkeeping


  • A minimum of two years of relevant work experience, preferably in full-time positions. Relevant internships or fellowships will also be considered
  • Strong interest in free expression issues, in the U.S. and internationally
  • Understanding of legislative and executive branch processes; experience with Congress preferred
  • Excellent research and writing skills, including for rapid response to new developments (e.g., press releases and website updates)
  • Experience managing social media accounts, digital communications technology, mailing lists, and graphic design

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 “Advocacy Coordinator” and your name as the subject of your email (for example, “Advocacy 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.