Literary Programs Assistant

PEN America

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PEN America seeks a creative, dynamic, and detail-oriented literary programs assistant to support the day-to-day operations of the literary programs department as well as assist with logistics and outreach for a robust year-round schedule of public events. The assistant will support the department’s ambition for engaging a growing audience with high-quality and innovative programming that amplifies our mission at the intersection of literature and free expression. The literary programs department is responsible for curating and producing the annual PEN World Voices Festival, year-round public programming including the PEN Out Loud series, and the PEN America Literary Awards. The position is full-time and based in New York.

The successful candidate will excel at executing projects start to finish and working with spreadsheets, databases, and bookkeeping and event management systems. Strong writing and numeracy skills are necessary, as is a concern for accuracy and an ability to conduct research and work with partners. A passion for American and international literature is a plus.

Reporting to the senior director of literary programs, this is an ideal position for a recent graduate who wants to work as part of a close-knit, mission-driven staff in a professional environment. The job offers the candidate an extraordinary opportunity to interact with key influencers of modern literature and work with prominent and emerging voices in the literary scene.

  • Assist in administering electronic communications for literary programs: create content for, build email blasts, and draft and track department’s social media

  • Track and categorize expenses according to budgets for literary programs

  • Assist in researching prospective authors, their work, and issues for the curatorial team

  • Research and track author contact, bio, social media, media waivers, and other information

  • Help build and maintain strong relationships with new and established partners and sponsors including cultural venues, organizations, and other outlets

  • Maintain the department filing system

  • Coordinate across the departments to set organizational public programs calendar

  • Assist in the management of interns and volunteers for the department

  • Assist in building the box office for literary events, and produce regular box office reports to assist in the marketing of events

  • Assist with the creation of graphic design artwork and printing of event marketing materials; proofread materials and manage printing timeline

  • Assist with the execution of events, including the planning, ticketing, talent management, front of house, back of house, documentation, and post-event follow up to ensure a seamless experience for participants, audience, staff, and volunteers

  • Assist in production of major funder applications and reports

  • Other responsibilities as defined by the senior director of literary programs.

  • Demonstrated organizational and project management skills

  • Excellent attention to detail and accuracy

  • Proofreading and bookkeeping skills

  • Exceptional interpersonal skills, and ability to think creatively and collaboratively

  • Formidable work ethic and high energy level, with ability to multitask effectively

  • Demonstrated interest in literature

  • Exemplary team player with professional demeanor and ability to work independently

  • Ability to work flexible hours during busy programming periods, particularly at Festival time

  • Familiarity with WordPress, G Suite, and Adobe Creative Suite (InDesign, Photoshop, etc.) a plus


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

How to Apply

Please submit a cover letter, resume, unedited writing sample, and the contact information for three references. Please submit the entire application to One PDF is preferred. Please use “Literary Programs Assistant” and your name as the subject of your email. (For example: Literary Programs Assistant – 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.

Posted on August 28