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Senior Manager, Editorial Projects (Prison & Justice Writing)

PEN America
New York City, New York
PEN America offers competitive compensation and benefits, commensurate with experience.
Closing date
Oct 31, 2021
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PEN America, a nonprofit organization that stands at the intersection of literature and human rights, seeks a senior manager with expertise in issues surrounding mass incarceration as well as exceptional editorial savviness to oversee all aspects of PEN America’s Prison and Justice Writing Program’s written content and writing fellowships. The senior manager will be critical in elevating and executing current initiatives as well as launching an important new program providing access to public platforms for incarcerated writers. The position is full-time and based in New York, and reports to the director of Prison and Justice Writing.

The senior manager, with the support and collaboration of the Prison and Justice Writing director, will toggle among multiple projects that include the Writing for Justice Fellowship, which awards eight to ten writers yearly with mentorship and funding to address a critical issue connected to mass incarceration and a new Works of Justice newsletter featuring literary works that address mass incarceration through podcast interviews with authors, written reviews of recently released books, and more. The role will benefit from the support of a yearly editorial fellow, and will collaborate closely with the Prison Writing Program manager and coordinator to cross-pollinate ideas with the Prison Writing Program’s yearly contest, anthology, and mentor work.

It is anticipated that initially about 50 percent of this role will be fully focused on developing and implementing a brand new project: the Incarcerated Writers Bureau, which will serve as a pipeline for advocacy organizations, journalism platforms, and literary publishers to access exceptional justice-involved writers as expert voices on mass incarceration and wider literary expression. Working collaboratively with the director of Prison and Justice Writing, the senior editorial manager will develop and deliver a searchable web platform that presents a curated roster of incarcerated writers, a web-based resource guide with best practices that supports bringing the work and voices of incarcerated writers to wider audiences through publication and other means, a publication that leverages a mail distribution service to disseminate opportunities to thousands of writers in prison, and an outreach strategy to build and facilitate relationships with stakeholders at various publications nationwide.

The senior manager will also work cross-departmentally within the larger organization as needed, most specifically leveraging the expertise of our Free Expression Programs department in addressing prison censorship and creating close ties with our broader literary programming.

The ideal candidate will bring a working knowledge of mass incarceration in the United States, as well as previous involvement with the issue in a professional or volunteer setting. Candidates will benefit from holding a strong awareness of the challenges in working through the walls. Exceptional editorial skills and linkages with the larger literary community are expected.

Candidates representing diverse backgrounds—with a special emphasis on those with justice involvement—are strongly encouraged to apply.


  • Research, develop, and manage the creation of the Incarcerated Writers Bureau and provide ongoing leadership for the project
  • Identify and engage with contributors to and users of the Bureau
  • Work closely with a web platform designer to build the digital platform and project branding
  • Build on or develop relationships with incarcerated writers and prison arts organizations to enable through-the-walls engagement with the platform
  • Identify, train, and manage a cohort of mentors to work closely with featured writers to develop their profiles
  • Identify future-facing goals, plans, and objectives for each year of the project, as well as evaluative methods and editorial content linked to the project’s success stories. Lead and support a cohort of Writing for Justice Fellows and develop next steps in that program’s evolution
  • Conceptualize, write, edit and design resource guides, newsletters, and other content for the Prison and Justice Writing Program
  • Prepare reporting to donors and develop new funding proposals
  • Act as an ambassador for the project with partners and the public


  • Expert project management skills with the ability to toggle between multiple projects and keep strong archives and process files
  • Superior editorial and writing skills, with a proven publication track record and linkages to the literary community
  • Capacity to build and leverage wide contacts in the media and publishing industries who will promote and utilize the Incarcerated Writers Bureau
  • Expertise in issues surrounding mass incarceration and in prison-related programs, and a commitment to work at the intersection of these areas with free expression, literary culture, and social justice
  • Demonstrated capabilities in successfully delivering the full range of program management requirements, from blank slate startup to celebrated results
  • Ability to work quickly and creatively on multiple fronts, both collaboratively and taking independent responsibility
  • Digital skills, including in developing webpages, online applications, and social media outreach
  • Ability to develop strategic vision as well as drill down to ensure success at granular levels of implementation
  • Demonstrated ability to develop new project concepts and contribute to fundraising
  • Organized work style, with the ability to thrive in a fast-moving work environment
  • A reputation for innovation and the ability to crack the code to solve challenges
  • Excellent oral presentation skills

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


Please submit a cover letter, resume, unedited writing sample, and the contact information for three references. Please submit the entire application to Please use “Senior Manager PJW Editorial Projects” and your name as the subject of your email (for example, “Senior Manager PJW Editor Projects  – 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.

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