Chair, English PEN: The role

The principle duties of the Chair are:

1. To show leadership to the board in its discussions, deliberations and decision making in relation to the charity’s strategy and policies.

2. To ensure the charities affairs are conducted to the highest standards and with appropriate governance, risk management, budgetary and financial procedures.

3. To show leadership to the Board and staff with respect to fundraising, including attending events and dealing with donors.

4. Together with the Director, to structure the board’s work though an annual planning cycle and ensuring decisions are made, recorded and implemented.

5. To ensure that appropriate elements of the board’s work are delegated to committees of the Board.

6. To provide support and challenge to the Director to enable them to carry out their strategic objectives and targets effectively and to develop a reflective culture, including conducting the Director’s annual review.

7. To lead on reviewing the effectiveness of the board.

8. To represent the Charity when necessary at meetings with stakeholders and to act as spokesperson for the Charity as required.

Person Specification

The new Chair may come from of many walks of life but will have some experience of leading a charity either as a board member or as an executive.

1. Experience of building a high functioning and strategic team

2. A strong grasp of finance and business planning and able to understand the financial drivers for English PEN

3. A thick skin: as an organisation committed to free speech, we live in a contested area which requires us to take brave and sometimes controversial stands

4. Patience, and a willingness to commit time to growing and motivating a small team

5. Commitment to and an ability to articulate our vision and values; translation/participation/literature/free speech, all speaking to our core mission, to promote the movement of literature across borders and barriers

6. A strong personal network and good relationship building skills with donor and with the arts and literature communities

Annual report 2017-18 and PDF impact sheets.

How to apply

Please submit a CV and a brief letter of not more than 500 words telling us about why you are interested in joining the English PEN board.

If you would like to find out more please contact Antonia Byatt at

About Cat Lucas

Cat Lucas is English PEN's Writers at Risk Programme Manager

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