Fiction | Nonfiction | Master Class

4-Week Open-Genre Master Class: Reading & Writing the City

In this generative workshop for both fiction and nonfiction writers, we will use the city around us as inspiration and material for generating new work. The city will serve as a laboratory for encounters (both real and imagined) and we will also spend time looking at the literature of the Metropolis, going back to the early 20th Century. We will also read excerpts from contemporary writing that captures the city and the new self that it has given birth to. Students can expect weekly generative writing exercises (5-8 pp.) and to workshop at least one of their pieces. You will have one individual conference with the instructor to receive feedback, and you should expect to plan and undertake research missions of your own in the city between class meetings.

This class is a good fit for writers who have some previous workshop experience and a familiarity with the basic elements of fiction and/or nonfiction writing. Students will walk away from class with a deeper understanding of the literature of the city and will be freshly inspired by New York City as a muse.

*no class on May 27th


- Opening your eyes to the city around you as a perpetual generator of useful experiences and material for writing.

- Peer and instructor feedback on new writing projects.

- A better understanding of the literature of the modern city and the diverse voices that have created it.

- Access to Catapult's list of writing opportunities and important submission deadlines, as well as a 10% discount on all future Catapult classes


- You will write three weekly exercises (5-8 pp.)

- You go up in workshop at least once;

- You will give feedback in workshop that is fair, thoughtful, respectful, and critical, based on a close reading of the text

- You will have one individual conference with the instructor

Benjamin Anastas

Benjamin Anastas is the author of the novels An Underachiever’s Diary and The Faithful Narrative of a Pastor’s Disappearance. His memoir Too Good to Be True  was a national bestseller, and his essays, reviews, journalism, and short fiction have appeared in The New York Times Magazine, Harper's, The New Republic, The Paris Review, Bookforum, and The Best American Essays. He is the recipient of a Lannan Foundation residency fellowship and a Bogliasco Fellowship from the Liguria Study Center. He teaches literature and writing at Bennington College and is fiction editor of Bennington Review.


“TOO GOOD TO BE TRUE is smart and honest and searching…so plaintive and raw that most writers (and many readers) will finish it with heart palpitations.”


“I love this book so much. Which is weird, considering that it consists in watching Anastas take blow after blow, before being battered and receiving more blows. But you won’t pity the author, who leans into even the most difficult situations with wonder and boundless empathy; instead you’ll just wish he could narrate your own disasters to you, so you could see the art in the salvage.”

Rivka Galchen, author of Atmospheric Disturbances , on Too Good to be True author of ATMOSPHERIC DISTURBANCES

"I envy the writing student working with Benjamin Anastas. He's blessed with a unique intelligence that blends precision with a wide ranging imagination and a generous heart. My writing grew more personal, daring, and incisive under his eye. In other words, my work became the best version of itself, exceeding what I knew I could do. I am so grateful to him--and you are so lucky to work with him!"