Free Expression Intern

PEN America

Los Angeles, CA


PEN America’s Free Expression at Risk Program (FEARP) is seeking a full-time intern in the Los Angeles office to assist in work defending and promoting free expression and supporting writers at risk in the United States and around the world. This work includes research and advocacy on free expression issues, with a particular focus on press freedoms and other U.S. free expression issues, and support for writers at risk globally.

FEARP is the advocacy and assistance arm of PEN America, acting as a powerful voice on behalf of writers and creative artists harassed, imprisoned, and sometimes killed for their views, and fighting for free expression in the U.S. and around the world. PEN’s case list containing over 900 cases of writers at risk tracks this persecution of writers worldwide. We assist individuals at risk through advocacy and campaigning on their behalf, as well as practical assistance such as emergency grants, letters of support, and advice and referrals.



The intern will work to maximize the impact and effectiveness of PEN’s campaigns through research and initiatives through tasks including but not limited to:

  • Working with the FEARP Director in New York and the Program Coordinator in Los Angeles on research, developing advocacy strategies and web content, and casework;
  • Conducting research on writers facing severe threats globally, as well as tracking and responding to current events related to free expression in the United States;
  • Drafting social media content, press statements, and blog posts related to key cases and free expression developments;
  • Updating existing information in the case list in order to create the most up-to-date entries for advocacy use;
  • Conducting data entry for a new PEN America database which would be used to track cases and generate data and infographics;
  • Assisting with providing concrete help to individual writers at risk, including verifying cases and providing referrals and letters of support; and
  • Administrative and other office support as necessary.



The following skills will be taken into consideration in selection of intern (not all are required):

  • Strong research, administrative, and analytical skills;
  • Experience with online databases, website management, and social media;
  • Accuracy and an eye for detail;
  • Superb writing skills, including the ability to craft clear, user-friendly language;
  • Experience with Microsoft Office Suite (Word, Excel, PowerPoint);
  • Interest in global human rights and free expression issues; and
  • Ability to read and write in a language other than English would be a plus.


How to apply

Please email a cover letter and resume to Natalie Green at [email protected] We will get in touch with you regarding an interview. An in-person interview is required.


About PEN America

PEN America stands at the intersection of literature and human rights to protect open 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.

This internship is sponsored by the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors through the Los Angeles County Arts Commission. 2018 Arts Internship positions will be open to currently enrolled undergraduate (2 or 4-year) college students who reside or attend college in Los Angeles County. Students must have completed at least one semester of college by June 1, 2018, or will complete their undergraduate degree between May 1 – September 1, 2018 in order to participate. Students must be able to legally work in the United States. Students will be expected to provide verification of eligibility via college transcripts, a driver’s license and other documents to show enrollment status and/or LA County residence.

This is a 10 week, full time, paid position starting in June and ending in August.

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