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Spring 2021 Prison and Justice Writing Internship

PEN America seeks two diligent, detail-oriented, and enthusiastic interns to work closely with the Prison Writing volunteer coordinator, the program manager, and the Prison and Justice Writing program director. This internship is based in New York.

The intern will provide key support for two initiatives:

1. A 30+ year program that supports writers in prison through the dissemination of writing handbooks, epistle literary mentorship, and a yearly nationwide contest for incarcerated writers.

2. A forthcoming fellowship that provides generous support for writing projects that center topics related to mass incarceration.

This is a unique opportunity for individuals interested in the intersection of literature and activism, specifically pertaining to criminal justice reform. Interns will gain exposure to the wide range of PEN America’s work and receive hands-on experience in program research, development and design, marketing, event management, and logistics. Additionally, interns are invited to attend and assist at many PEN America events. This internship will be for a duration of three to six months and is based in New York. However, due to COVID-19 concerns, it will be primarily a remote position at this time and is subject to change. The supervisor reserves the right to request interns to come into the office if it is necessary and deemed safe to do so. Sponsorship is not available at this time.


Interns will assist with a variety of work, including but not limited to:

  • Administrative tasks that support the Prison Writing Program’s day-to-day function 
  • Contribute to PEN America’s online presence through social media outreach and promotion
  • Support the creation and printing of event marketing materials such as web text and flyers
  • Support logistical preparation and onsite event management for public programs 
  • Contribute research for blogs, articles, and op-eds written in response to mass incarceration
  • Opportunities for contributions as defined by intern interest


  • Open to remote engagement; this is a work from home position
  • Must be available two days/week during regular business hours
  • Has a working knowledge of issues connected to mass incarceration
  • Works at a steady pace, is comfortable taking initiative, and thrives working independently
  • Demonstrates flexibility, autonomy, and carefulness in managing work priorities
  • Is comfortable producing engaging written content for diverse audiences
  • Has excellent communication and research skills, and is proficient in Microsoft Office Suite and Google Applications
  • Is interested in, and comfortable with, proofreading and editing creative writing
  • Must be willing to do a wide range of administrative tasks, from research to data entry 
  • Has an interest in literature, cultural programming, and human rights


Please submit a cover letter directly addressing specific requirements for the internship as outlined above, a resume, and an unedited writing sample. Please submit the entire application to One PDF is preferred. Please use “Prison and Justice Writing Internship” with your name as the subject of your email (for example, “Prison and Justice Writing Internship – 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.


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.