Status: Full-time with a flexible schedule
Benefits: 403(b) plan with automatic 5% employer contribution (no match required); subsidized individual health, dental, and vision; generous PTO and paid holidays, including a winter break
Location: At present, PEN/Faulkner does not maintain an in-person office, so most work is performed remotely. Given that we expect in-person events to resume, however, the position is based in Washington, DC, and candidates will be expected to be present in-person, as much as health and safety conditions allow, when necessary. Candidates must have reliable home internet access.
The PEN/Faulkner Foundation is seeking an Awards and Literary Programs Director to work in close partnership with its Executive Director and board in two primary areas: managing our evolving literary events programs and administering our three awards programs.
This position might be right for you if:
- You are an avid reader who is passionate about literature
- You have experience planning literary events
- You are generally familiar with publishing and non-profits
- You are a comfortable and confident public speaker
- You are highly organized and love paying attention to details
- You are a proactive planner with the ability to schedule months in advance
- You are adept at managing last-minute changes
- You know how to be both a thought partner and a thought leader
- You are an excellent communicator, both verbal and written
- You are excited to join a small team where you can have a big impact
The PEN/Faulkner Foundation is a nonprofit organization that celebrates literature and fosters connections between readers and writers to enrich and inspire individuals and communities. In fulfilling that mission, PEN/Faulkner administers education programs that bring donated books, visits from authors, and writing instruction into low-income DC schools; hosts public literary programs that create opportunities for conversation between writers and readers; and recognizes significant literary achievements nationwide by giving out the PEN/Faulkner Award for Fiction and the PEN/Malamud Award for Excellence in the Short Story, as well as by selecting a PEN/Faulkner Literary Champion.
For more than 40 years, PEN/Faulkner has given out the PEN/Faulkner Award for Fiction, the commendation for which the organization is named. The Award is adjudicated by a panel of three judges selected by the organization’s board, and it culminates in an annual Award Celebration in May. The Awards and Literary Programs Director is responsible for facilitating the award election process and participating in Award Celebration planning.
In 2020, PEN/Faulkner began recognizing an annual PEN/Faulkner Literary Champion. The first two recipients have been LeVar Burton and Oprah Winfrey. That commendation is also part of the annual PEN/Faulkner Award Celebration. The Awards and Literary Programs Director is responsible for supporting the selection process and publicizing the award.
Finally, for more than 25 years, we have been giving out the PEN/Malamud Award for Excellence in the Short Story. The recipient of that award is selected by a committee of PEN/Faulkner board members, with help from a national advisory committee. The Award is conferred every December in a public PEN/Malamud Award Ceremony that has recently been held in partnership with American University. The Awards and Literary Programs Director is responsible for supporting that committee and planning the Award Ceremony.
Our Literary Events
At present, PEN/Faulkner’s literary events are centered around one signature program: Literary Conversations, which typically brings together authors who have all written about a shared theme to engage in moderated conversation with each other and with the PEN/Faulkner audience. (One annual Literary Conversations series focuses on books that have been adapted for the screen.) The Awards and Literary Programs Director is responsible for managing those events.
We have also begun experimenting with two additional virtual event formats: Deep Dives, which are small group conversations with authors about books they love, and a Salon Series that consists of small group conversations with noted authors. Those events may or may not continue moving forward. The Awards and Literary Programs Director will be responsible for managing the literary components of these events as well, if the initial experiments continue.
In addition, we maintain a long-running Founding Friends program that consists of private luncheons with authors. At present, Founding Friends is primarily a fundraising effort, but that may change. To whatever extent proves to be appropriate, the Awards and Literary Programs Director may provide literary support for that program as well.
Finally, in 2022, the PEN/Faulkner board will begin a strategic planning process for the organization. That process may result in an intention to diversify its literary event offerings. Our Awards and Literary Programs Director will be responsible for implementing any new strategic decisions.
Responsibilities for this position include the following:
Event Planning and Logistics
- Facilitating the process of establishing Literary Conversation themes (in collaboration with the Executive Director and the board’s Literary Programs Committee)
- Contributing to the development of new literary event concepts
- Establishing and maintaining an annual events calendar
- Arranging author travel as needed
- Venue identification and rental negotiations
- Collaboration with bookstore partners
- Working with event livestream and A/V partners
- Maintaining and communicating a “run of show” for all events and awards programs
- Author outreach to solicit program participation
- Supporting Awards judges in their deliberation process
- Discreet communication with winners and finalists
- Gathering resources (bios/headshots/book cover images, review copies/galleys)
- Communicating award submission guidelines
- Maintaining a press list
- Writing and distributing press releases
- Answering press inquiries
- Conducting and analyzing post-event surveys
- Exploring and implementing new ideas for audience engagement
- Introducing some events on screen and in person
Sales and Marketing
- Establishing ticket prices and packages in collaboration with the Executive Director
- Setting and hitting revenue targets
- Managing ticketing platform (EventBrite)
- Co-creating event marketing plans with the Executive Director and Marketing Coordinator
- Finding and managing graphic design partners
- Writing event descriptions and marketing copy
- Participating as needed in grant proposal development and reporting
- Preparing reports on event metrics: registrations, attendance, post-event surveys, social media engagement, audience feedback, author feedback
- Collaborating with Literary Programs, Awards, and Malamud Award Committees
Qualified candidates for this position will demonstrate the following:
- At least three years of literary event planning experience
- General knowledge of the landscape of contemporary writing, particularly fiction
- Familiarity with the publishing and non-profit industries
- Excellent written communication
- Proficiency with MS Office and Google Suite applications
- Experience with Zoom and Zoom webinar event management
- Flexibility in a fast-paced work environment
- Ability to learn from (and own) failures/setbacks
The ideal candidate for this position may also have experience with some of the following:
- Awards program experience
- Knowledge of EventBrite or similar ticketing software
Send a cover letter and resume to [email protected] with “Awards and Literary Programs Director” in the subject line. Tell us your story. Why do you imagine yourself in this role? What do you have to contribute? What inspires you?
Please note: the PEN/Faulkner Foundation is an Equal Opportunity Employer and does not discriminate against employees based on race, color, religion, sex, sexual identity, national origin, age, disability, or genetic information.