Open-Genre | Intensive

Don’t Write Alone Weekend

“I had an amazing time at DWA and made several new friends throughout the weekend. It really jumpstarted my creativity, helped me get back into a routine of writing, and was just super fun and invigorating.” - Don’t Write Alone 2017 participant

DON’T WRITE ALONE is back! This July, Catapult is taking over NYU’s Lillian Vernon Creative Writers House—the coziest brownstone in the West Village—for another summer weekend retreat dedicated to the act and craft of writing.

The three-day event will kick off on Friday evening with a welcome reception, followed by a reading and intimate conversation with Min Jin Lee, international bestseller and 2017 National Book Award finalist.

On Saturday, writers will be invited to bring their laptops and notepads and to settle in for a day of writing, punctuated by engaging, inspiring talks on subjects like breaking into publishing, overcoming rejection, and how to work through writer’s block. Writers will have the opportunity to meet one-on-one with agents and editors throughout the day to discuss their goals and careers.

On Sunday morning, we’ll wrap the weekend up with intensive workshops in small groups, so that writers leave not just with new work and plenty of inspiration, but with feedback that will make what’s on the page even stronger.

So often, the hardest thing about writing is actually sitting down to do it. But we believe that giving yourself the time and space to write, and committing to your practice with the reinforcement of others, can be deeply productive and invigorating.

Due to space constraints, this event is limited to 60 writers.

We hope this weekend can be the start of something great in your writing life—maybe even that book you’ve always wanted to write.


Regular $249 admission covers full access to the NYU Lillian Vernon Writers House starting Friday evening at 6pm, as well as readings and talks. This price includes a one-on-one pitch or information session with an acquiring literary agent. Drinks on Friday, full lunch on Saturday, and of course, unlimited coffee throughout the event are also included.

Writers also have the option of adding on a Sunday morning workshop led by a Catapult editor—please note that in order to participate in the Sunday morning workshops, you must have up to 15 pages ready for submission by July 1, so writers have enough time to evaluate your manuscripts. We will offer two workshops in fiction, and two in nonfiction; groups will be capped at six students, and spaces in workshops are limited. Cost to enroll in a workshop is $150.


Karen E. Bender is the author of the story collection Refund, a Finalist for the National Book Award in Fiction and shortlisted for the Frank O'Connor International Story Prize, and the novels Like Normal People and A Town of Empty Rooms. Her stories have appeared inThe New Yorker, Granta, Ploughshares, Zoetrope,Guernica, and Best American Short Stories and won two Pushcart prizes. She is the Distinguished Visiting Professor of Creative Writing at Hollins University, and has also worked with MFA students at Warren Wilson College, Chatham University and Antioch Los Angeles.

Manuel Gonzales is the author of The Miniature Wife and other stories, which won the Sue Kaufman Prize for First Fiction and the John Gardner Prize for first fiction, and the novel, The Regional Office is Under Attack! He has taught creative writing for the University of Kentucky, the Institute of Amerian Indian Arts Low-Residency MFA, and the Queens University Latin Amerian Low-residency MFA. He joins the Bennington literature faculty this fall and is a core member of the Bennington Writing Seminars.

Mitchell S. Jackson's debut novel The Residue Years was praised by publications including The New York Times, The Paris Review, and The Times of London. Jackson is the winner of a Whiting Award. His novel also won The Ernest J. Gaines Prize for Literary Excellence and was a finalist for the Center for Fiction’s Flaherty-Dunnan First Novel Prize, the PEN/Hemingway Award for First Fiction, and the Hurston/Wright Legacy Award. Jackson’s honors include fellowships from TED, the Lannan Foundation, the BreadLoaf Conference, and the Center for Fiction.

Min Jin Lee’s Pachinko (2017) was a finalist for the National Book Award for Fiction, a New York Times 10 Best Books of 2017, a USA Today Top 10 Books of 2017, an American Library Association Notable Book, and an American Booksellers Association’s Indie Next Great Reads. It is a New York Times Bestseller. Pachinko was also a Top 10 Books of the Year for BBC, Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, San Francisco Chronicle, the New York Public Library, Seattle Post-Intelligencer, and the Chicago Public Library. Lee’s debut novel Free Food for Millionaires (2007) was a Top 10 Books of the Year for The Times of London, NPR’s Fresh Air, and USA Today. It was a No. 1 Book Sense Pick, a New York Times Editor’s Choice, a Wall Street Journal Juggle Book Club selection, and a national bestseller. She is a recipient of a Guggenheim Fellowship for Fiction. Lee has received the NYFA Fellowship for Fiction, the Peden Prize from The Missouri Review for Best Story, the Narrative Prize for New and Emerging Writer, and the Reading Women Award.

Jia Tolentino is a staff writer at the New Yorker, formerly the deputy editor of Jezebel and contributing editor at the Hairpin. Her work has also appeared in the New York Times Magazine, Grantland, Pitchfork, Fader, Bon Appetit, and Slate, and she has an essay collection forthcoming from Random House in 2019.

Don't Write Alone

Catapult's popular writing series dedicated to generating new work in a welcoming, writer-friendly space.

If you have any questions, be in touch with Colin Drohan, [email protected].


“Don’t Write Alone is one of the best investments, both in terms of time and money, I’ve made for my writing in the past few years. The access I had to professionals and decision-makers was really unprecedented and helped me to think about my fiction and navigating this industry in ways I really hadn’t been exposed to elsewhere.”

Don’t Write Alone 2017 participant

“Don’t Write Alone 2017 was a great opportunity to learn from established authors, network, and mingle with fellow writers with a wide variety of experience, and get some writing done that I had been putting off for, let’s be real, months.”

Don’t Write Alone 2017 participant

“Thought the whole workshop and weekend was just fantastic. So many awesome writers to talk with and that made themselves accessible. I loved the panels, I loved how informal it was, and I will recommend it to others and be back next year. Thank you for creating such a safe community!”

Don’t Write Alone 2017 participant

“It's hard to pick a favorite part of the weekend because I got so much out of every single panel and speaker you presented. I was surprised how much I got out of the presentation on how to write dialogue. I got to thinking about writing dialogue in new ways after that presentation. I also loved the discussion with the two first-time authors at the end of the day on Saturday.”

Don’t Write Alone 2017 participant

“I had an amazing time at DWA and made several new friends throughout the weekend. It really jumpstarted my creativity, helped me get back into a routine of writing, and was just super fun and invigorating. Thanks for putting together an awesome event and for curating a super-smart lineup of guests.”

Don’t Write Alone 2017 participant