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We currently employ staff on both a full-time and part-time basis, and provide a challenging but supportive working environment.

We offer competitive salaries and a non-contributory pension scheme with 5% employer contribution, which will comply with UK auto-enrolment requirements from February 2017; 25 days’ annual leave for full time staff; and family-friendly policies.

Many of the positions at the international office offer an opportunity for international travel.

Thank you for your interest in working for PEN International.

For all vacancies, please submit a full CV and covering letter explaining why you would like to work for PEN International and how you meet the person specification to recruitment@pen-international.org by the closing date specified for the vacancy.


There are not currently any vacancies at PEN International.

Volunteer with us

Africa Intern

PEN International is seeking an Africa intern to join the International Programmes Team for 2-3 days a week until October 2016.

The Intern will work under the close supervision of the Africa Regional Coordinator and report to them directly. The focus of the work will be on supporting the Africa Programme Coordinator in their work and specifically assisting with work related to criminal defamation in Africa. However, on occasion the Intern may be asked to carry out other tasks or assist other teams within PEN International.

PEN is the world’s leading association of writers, working to promote literature and defend freedom of expression around the world. It is governed by the PEN Charter and the principles it embodies: unhampered transmission of thought within each nation and between all nations. PEN International connects an international community of writers from its Secretariat in London, spanning over 100 countries, with 150 PEN Centres worldwide.

Tasks will include:

  • Desk research on criminal defamation and other freedom of expression issues in Africa
  • Assisting in the logistical arrangements for delegates and invited guests to participate in a meeting in Uganda in September 2016
  • Researching cases to be included in the PEN case list
  • Assisting with the drafting of the case list
  • Providing administrative support to the Regional Coordinator and other staff as requested
  • Monitoring news on free expression issues in Africa
  • Helping to draft alerts, correspondence and other actions as required


  • Demonstrable experience and interest in undertaking research
  • Strong research and writing skills and analytical ability with excellent communication skills
  • Willingness to work on own initiative as well as in a team: ability to plan, organise and prioritise own work independently or in consultation with others
  • Proven interest and knowledge of human rights, human rights mechanisms and bodies, such as the United Nations Human Rights Council
  • An interest in freedom of expression and knowledge of international politics
  • Fluent written and spoken English as well as French.
  • All volunteers must have the right to work in the UK.


  • Foreign language skills in addition to French (especially Arabic, Portuguese)
  • Experience of office/clerical work

Volunteers are selected after a brief interview and test. A trial period of one month will be required after which either side can reconsider the decision to continue.

This is an unpaid internship. PEN will cover travel costs within London travel zones 1-6, as well as contribute to lunches.

The volunteer will work at the PEN International headquarters, based in Bermondsey, London. Office hours are 10am-6pm.

To apply email your CV and a brief letter (maximum 1 page) by 28 June 2016, outlining your reasons for applying and skills you can bring to the position to recruitment@pen-international.org stating which position you are applying for in the subject line.

Successful PEN interns have gained:

  • Experience in working for a small human rights membership organisation
  • Improved administrative and office skills
  • An ability to understand the complex issues inherent in human rights work alongside the importance of impartiality, confidentiality and sensitivity when working in all aspects of this field
  • Experience of human rights research methodology
  • Experience of writing alerts and other material to tight deadlines and aimed at specific audiences

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PEN International offers a year-round volunteer scheme across all areas of our work, providing interesting and exciting placements to those looking for a career in an NGO, charity, human rights or arts organisation.

Volunteers have helped ensure the success of such projects as the Writers in Prison Committee’s 50th anniversary celebrations in 2010; the coordination and promotion of the Free the Word! event series since 2008; administrative support for our international Congresses and for regional programmes; coordination of worldwide meetings with writers from Centres; and much more.

A placement with us can benefit a volunteer in a number of ways, helping her or him to acquire: experience working for a leading international human rights NGO; research and campaigning skills in the area of freedom of expression; experience of project and event management; development of written, editorial and proofreading skills; development of skills in the field of communications, including event marketing and PR and web content management.

Travel expenses and a daily allowance will be provided.

Volunteer opportunities are announced alongside our paid positions on this page, although we welcome expressions of interest in volunteering at any time. We ask for volunteers to commit to a minimum of three months for at least two days a week. (Some placements have extended to six months and beyond.)

Volunteer Translators

With a global membership speaking over 40 languages we have a regular demand for translators. We work in English, French and Spanish, but also often require translation into and from other languages. At the moment we are particularly looking for people who can translate English to FrenchArabic, Spanish and Russian.

If you are interested in supporting PEN International as a volunteer translator and gaining valuable experience of translating for a range of media for a global NGO, please get in touch. Items for translation include news articles for the web; communiqués for the membership; campaigns reports; project evaluation documents.