Vacancy: Membership and Office Administrator

  • Deadline: 5pm, Monday 26 October 2015
  • Part-time, permanent position at 2.5 days per week
  • Salary: £23,000 FTE; £11,500 pro rata
  • 25 days annual leave FTE; 12.5 days pro rata with opportunity to join company pension plan after three months
  • Located at: Free Word Centre, 60 Farringdon Road London EC1R 3GA
  • Reports to: Deputy Director, English PEN

English PEN promotes the freedom to write and the freedom to read. The founding centre of a worldwide writers’ organisation, established in 1921, it is supported by an active membership of leading writers and literary professionals, with an elected board.

Over the past five years English PEN has tripled in size and impact, with successful campaigns promoting the freedom to read and write in the UK and around the world, as well as new programmes working with prisoners, refugees and other socially excluded groups. Our programme to support great literature in English translation has also expanded and we run public events, debates and fundraisers around the year, and award prizes to British and international writers.

We are now looking for a highly organised Membership and Office Administrator with at least two years’ relevant experience, to manage English PEN’s membership database, communicating with members both at the point of recruitment and at the point of renewal, deal with membership queries, support the Deputy Director in prospecting for new members and oversee the general administration of the office.

The Membership and Office Administrator will also assist the Director with administration of the governance of English PEN, which includes organising board meetings and the AGM.

Additionally the successful candidate will support the staff in organising annual events, including fundraisers and award ceremonies.

Professional Competencies

  1. University degree
  2. Experience of successful organisational administration
  3. Ability to manage a contacts database such as Raiser’s Edge
  4. Ability to operate effectively in a support role to senior staff
  5. Ability to deal confidently with suppliers and contractors
  6. Excellent communications skills, both in writing and verbally
  7. Able to work as part of a team and with a wide range of partners
  8. Understanding of the issues affecting English PEN and its stakeholders in the literature and free speech sectors
  9. Flexible and extremely well organised

Personal Competencies

  1. Has two-way discussions with others, shares information, actively responds to suggestions
  2. Takes responsibility for own work within the overall goal set, shows flexibility and a positive attitude
  3. Takes timely decisions, seeks ideas from others regardless of hierarchy
  4. Shows appreciation, loyalty, fairness and respect for all colleagues
  5. Focuses on own/team contribution to achieving English PEN’s business plan and strategy
  6. Sets, implements tracks and reports against appropriate performance and development objectives

Deadline: 5pm, Monday 26 October 2015

To apply please send a CV and covering letter, stating your suitability for the role, to by 5pm on Monday 26 October 2015.

Please write ‘Membership and Office Administrator Application’ in the subject line of the email.

First interviews will be held during the week beginning 2 November 2015. Second interviews will be held during the week beginning 9 November 2015.

Strictly no agencies please.

Watch: PEN Pinter International Writer of Courage annoucement

On 6 October 2015, English PEN hosted the PEN Pinter Prize at the British Library.  James Fenton, winner of the PEN Pinter Prize, chose Raif Badawi as International Writer of Courage.  Jimmy Wales, founder of Wikipedia, accepted the award on behalf of Raif Badawi’s family and introduced a short video message from Ensaf Haidar, Raif Badawi’s wife.  Jo Glanville, director of English PEN, gave the closing address, drawing attention to other writers of courage in Turkey, and the free speech challenges of the year ahead.

You can watch these speeches via the player below or on YouTube.

Listen: BBC World Service discusses Raif Badawi and free speech in Saudi Arabia

PEN Pinter Prize winner Raif Badawi was the subject of discussion on the BBC World Service programme World Have Your Say on Wednesday (7 October). English PEN’s communications manager Robert Sharp explained the reasons for giving the award, and noted that human rights and civil liberties are often won by people who do not keep quiet when they are told to by people in power.

You can listen to the segment via the player below or on Soundcloud.

Read more about Raif Badawi and the PEN Pinter Prize.

Svetlana Alexievich wins 2015 Nobel Prize for Literature

We congratulate the Belarusian journalist and PEN member Svetlana Alexievich on winning the 2015 Nobel Prize in Literature. Alexievich is the author of books including oral histories of the 1986 Chernobyl nuclear disaster, and of ordinary citizens at war, most notably reportage from  Soviet women in World War II and more recently direct accounts from the frontline of the war in Afghanistan. As  Alexievich has explained: ‘all of my books consist of witnesses’ evidence, people’s living voices’.

The Belarusian government ‘s human rights record has been described as ‘poor’ . According to ‘ The Belarusian government continues to severely curtail freedoms of association, assembly, and expression, and the right to a fair trial’. In a week’s time presidential elections will be held in Belarus. Following the 2011 elections, Alexievich commented  that they were : ‘a humanitarian catastrophe for the entire Belarus society. It’s usual that people who have had a high profile politically prior to an election are silenced afterwards. But the events following this election have been more radical than ever before. This time, anyone who had said anything that was at all critical of the regime was persecuted, assaulted or detained in custody’. This crackdown led to the detention of Iryna Khalip, later the 2013 PEN Pinter International writer of Courage (chosen by Tom Stoppard)  and her husband Andrei  Sannikov. English PEN was closely involved in the campaign for their release, working with Belarus Free Theatre and Free Belarus Now.

As well as the deterioration in human rights English PEN is also concerned about the challenging environment for publishers in Belarus following the recent new law on publishing, which introduced strict licensing requirements on publishers.

English PEN hopes that this significant honour of the Nobel Prize being awarded to Svetlana Alexievich, a tireless chronicler of voices which might not otherwise be heard, will further highlight the civil and political injustices in Belarus and go some way to bringing about the restitution of free speech and freedom of expression for all Belarusians.