Research Report Consultant, Diversity in Publishing

PEN America


PEN America, a nonprofit organization working at the intersection of literature and human rights, seeks a consultant to research and write a report documenting how questions of race inflect the trade publishing process through the firsthand experiences of authors, editors, literary agents, publicists, and others within the book industry. The report will use storytelling and analysis to elaborate on the forces behind statistics that continue to demonstrate systemic underrepresentation of Black, Latinx, and members of other racial groups in the ranks of publishing personnel and published authors. This project aims to offer a deeper and more nuanced understanding of the hurdles to full participation of writers and publishers of color at every level of the publishing industry while identifying affirmative, concrete avenues toward change.

The ideal candidate will have extensive experience in journalism and/or longform nonfiction narrative, including identifying and cultivating sources and conducting probing interviews. The consultant should be familiar with the literary community and publishing and be able to establish trusting relationships with the writers and others who will provide information for this report. Candidates should be able to demonstrate a track record for completing in-depth, longform research-based writing projects.  The selected consultant will work closely with PEN America staff on this project; the anticipated length of the report is 40 to 50 pages, and the project timeline is February to June 2021.


Candidates should familiarize themselves with the quality and format of other PEN America research products and submit a letter of interest and resume that outline their relevant experience and capabilities. Please submit these materials to [email protected] with a subject line that includes “Publishing Consultancy” and your name (for example, “Publishing Consultancy – Jane Doe”). Only complete applications will be reviewed. A PEN America representative will discuss the project details with qualified candidates after their letters of interest have been received.

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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