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Communications Gap Year/Postgrad Fellowship Program 2022-2023


PEN America, a nonprofit organization working at the intersection of literature and human rights, offers a unique learning opportunity for individuals who are passionate about human rights, free speech, and creative expression, and interested in how the nonprofit sector works, specifically in the area of marketing and communications. This fellowship opportunity will require a commitment of nine months and will provide a stipend of $5,000 dispersed in installments, contingent on the completion of the program. It is ideal for a student seeking to take a “gap year” either post grad, between studies, or pausing undergraduate or graduate school for the 2022-23 academic year.

Our Communications fellowship program will operate from our headquarters in New York City. The fellowship will offer the opportunity for in-person participation, dependent upon applicable health and safety considerations. Applicants needing a fully virtual arrangement are also welcome to apply and should indicate this requirement in their application. Fellows will be welcomed as members of their assigned team and participate fully in the community of PEN America, including departmental and all staff meetings, professional development offerings, and social opportunities.

The fellowship provides an opportunity to work alongside our talented Communications team through direct involvement in daily tasks and long-term projects. The Communications fellowship is designed to provide a crash course in advocacy communications at a dynamic organization that works on both domestic and international issues. Depending on experience and interest, communications fellows might: contribute and produce a newsletter vertical to broaden PEN America’s digital audiences; project manage the communications campaign around one of our marquee projects; assist with social media strategy and implementation, including creating graphics and short videos; and/or write and produce regular features on our website, including author interviews, Q&As, and videos.

Candidates with diverse backgrounds are strongly encouraged to apply. Additionally, candidates who would be balancing the fellowship (in place of school) along with outside employment are also encouraged to apply and should indicate this in their application for special consideration
regarding schedule flexibility.


  • School or work experience in journalism, public relations, communications, marketing, multimedia, nonprofits, or publishing and editorial
  • Interest in learning new skills and the flexibility to pitch in when needed
  • Ability to work independently and collaborate with team members
  • Strong writing, grammar, copyediting, and fact-checking skills
  • Interest in current events, international affairs, human rights, literature, and/or arts and culture
  • Understanding of or eagerness to learn about social media, websites, marketing, and public relations
  • Experience with graphic design, HTML, and video editing skills desirable but not required


  • Must be able to provide proof of authorization to study in the United States
  • Must be able to provide proof of enrollment or acceptance into an academic program of study for the academic year of 2022-23 or 2023-24, or prepare a document that explains their academic history with academic plans or postgrad aspirations (if recently graduated)
  • Must commit to 24–35 hours, and four or five days per week, within normal weekday business hours for 9-10 months


  • A resume or CV, one to two pages maximum
  • A cover letter indicating your interest in the fellowship (including which PEN America department interests you the most), how the fellowship will support future plans or current studies/projects, and the skills you would bring to the fellowship
  • A separate short statement explaining your academic status and why a gap year is planned
  • A work sample that demonstrates your proficiency as a writer, researcher, advocate, or communicator, preferably with applicability to PEN America’s work (five pages maximum)

The above must be sent via email to with a subject line that includes “Gap Year Fellowship,” the department you are interested in, and your first and last name (for example, “Gap Year Fellowship – Communications – Jane Doe”).

Applications will be reviewed on a rolling basis until the positions are filled. 

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.