Open-Genre | Intensive

Don’t Write Alone Weekend

This event is in the past. To register for Don't Write Alone 2019, click here.

“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.



- 6:30 PM: Welcome and check-in

- 7:00 PM: "What's Your Process? Writing the Debut" with Crystal Hana Kim, Akil Kumarasamy, and Dan Sheehan

- 8:00 PM: Opening night reception

Saturday (writing space open from 10 AM - 6:30 PM)

- 10:00 AM: "Repetition as Philosophy, Voice, Structure" with Mitchell S. Jackson

- 11:30 AM: Interview with Jia Tolentino

- 12:30-3:30 PM: Agent/editor meetings

- 12:45 PM: Editor panel with Mensah Demary, Rakesh Satyal, and James Yeh; working lunch provided by Catapult

- 2:30: "In Particulars, the Universal" with Manuel Gonzales

- 4:00 PM: "The Business of Publishing" with Kate McKean

- 5:30 PM: Reading and conversation with Min Jin Lee

- 7:00 PM: Party time! at Formerly Crow's, 85 Washington Place

Sunday (writing space open 10 AM - 4 PM)

- 10:00 AM: Fiction and nonfiction workshops with Julie Buntin, Gabe Habash, and Megha Majumdar for those enrolled; participants will be notified of class location

-1:00-3:30 PM: Agent/editor meetings

- 1:15 PM: Lunch on your own!

- 1:45 PM: "The Octopus Moment: How to Create Stories with Reach" with Karen E. Bender

- 3:30 PM: Closing student reading and open mic. Email Stella Cabot Wilson to sign up.


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.

Julie Buntin is from northern Michigan. Her debut novel, Marlena, was a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle's John Leonard Prize, longlisted for The Center for Fiction's First Novel Prize, and named a best book of 2017 by over thirteen outlets, including The Washington Post, NPR, and Kirkus Reviews. Her writing has appeared in The Atlantic, Vogue, The New York Times Book Review, Guernica, and other publications. She has taught creative writing at New York University, Yale Writers' Workshop, and Marymount Manhattan College, and is the Director of Writing Programs at Catapult.

Emily Cunningham is an editor at Penguin Press whose authors include Lydia Fitzpatrick, Paul Greenberg, Gayle Tzemach Lemmon, Alex Mar, and Susan Quinn. She is on the hunt for nonfiction across a variety of genres, including biography, history, reportage, science, sports, and food writing, as well as literary fiction. She began her publishing career at Grove/Atlantic and has also worked at Harper. Emily is a native of the Boston area and lives in Brooklyn.

Kerry D'Agostino is a literary agent at Curtis Brown, Ltd. She received her bachelor’s degree in English from Bowdoin College, her masters in Art in Education from Harvard Graduate School of Education, and her certificate in publishing from the Columbia Journalism School. She started at Curtis Brown in 2011 as assistant to Tim Knowlton and Holly Frederick in the Film and Television Department. After some time as a film and audio rights associate, she also began assisting Peter Ginsberg. In addition to her continued work with Peter, Kerry now represents authors of literary and commercial fiction, and select narrative nonfiction. She is particularly interested in work that is voice driven, accessible, and authentic. Above all, she is drawn to work that either introduces her to someone, somewhere, or something new, or makes her see something old in a new way. She lives in Brooklyn with her husband.

Mensah Demary is an editor with Catapult, Counterpoint, and Black Balloon.

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.

Gabe Habash is the author of Stephen Florida, a finalist for the Young Lions Fiction Award. He is a graduate of New York University's MFA program and is the Fiction Reviews Editor for Publishers Weekly.

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.

Crystal Hana Kim is the author of the novel If You Leave Me, forthcoming from William Morrow. She was a 2017 PEN America/Robert J. Dau Short Story Prize winner and has received scholarships from the Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference, Hedgebrook, and Jentel. She holds an MFA from Columbia University and an M.S.Ed from Hunter College. Her work has been published in The Southern Review, Electric Literature, The Millions, and the PEN America Best Debut Short Stories 2017. She is a contributing editor at Apogee and is the Director of Writing Instruction at Leadership Enterprise for a Diverse America.

Akil Kumarasamy is a writer from New Jersey. Her fiction has appeared in Harper's Magazine, American Short Fiction, Boston Review, and elsewhere. Her debut collection of short stories, Half Gods, was published by Farrar, Straus & Giroux in 2018. She received her MFA from the University of Michigan, and has been a fiction fellow at the Fine Arts Work Center in Provincetown and the University of East Anglia.

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.

Megha Majumdar is Associate Editor at Catapult, where she works on both books and the magazine ( She grew up in India, and studied anthropology at Johns Hopkins and Harvard. Twitter: @MeghaMaj

Kate McKean is Vice President and Literary Agent at the Howard Morhaim Literary Agency. She earned her master’s degree in fiction writing at the University of Southern Mississippi and began her publishing career at the University Press of Florida. In addition to working with clients, she is an adjunct professor at New York University.

Tracy O'Neill is the author of The Hopeful and the editor-in-chief at Epiphany Magazine. She is a National Book Foundation 5 Under 35 honoree and was awarded the Center for Fiction's Emerging Writers Fellowship. Her fiction has appeared in Granta, LitHub, Vol. 1 Brooklyn, The Literarian, Narrative, and Guernica. O'Neill's nonfiction has been published in The Atlantic, the New Yorker, Bookforum, The Guardian, and Rolling Stone online; in VQR, Grantland, and the San Francisco Chronicle. She teaches at the City College of New York. Website:

Zoe Sandler joined ICM Partners in October 2011. She is actively building her own list of author clients, a mix of fiction and nonfiction, books for kids and for adults. She likes her adult fiction dark, with a hint of the strange. Narrative nonfiction is also a focus of hers. Prior to joining ICM she spent three years at an academic press in North Carolina, after graduating from McGill University in Montreal with a BA in English Literature and Hispanic Studies. She was born in England and raised in southern California, but is delighted to call New York City home.

Rakesh Satyal is a Senior Editor at Atria Books, a division of Simon & Schuster. He held previous positions at Doubleday and HarperCollins and spent three years working as a naming specialist in the world of branding. He has sat on the advisory board for the annual PEN World Voices Festival and has taught in the publishing program at New York University, and he currently sits on the board of Lambda Literary. He is the author of the novels Blue Boy and No One Can Pronounce My Name.

Dan Sheehan is an Irish fiction writer, journalist, and editor. He is a graduate of Trinity College Dublin and University College Dublin. His writing has appeared in The Irish Times, GQ, The Los Angeles Review of Books, Guernica, TriQuarterly, Words Without Borders, Epiphany, and Electric Literature, among others. He lives in New York, where he is the Book Marks editor at Literary Hub and a contributing editor at Guernica Magazine, and was a recipient of the 2016 Center for Fiction Emerging Writers Fellowship. His debut novel, Restless Souls, is available now from Weidenfeld & Nicolson (UK) and Ig Publishing (US).

Kendall Storey is Associate Editor & Publishing Manager at Catapult. Previously she worked at Archipelago Books and was Co-Director of Elsewhere Editions, a nonprofit children's press devoted to picture books in translation.

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.

Margaux Weisman is an Editor at Vintage Anchor/Knopf Doubleday. She’s worked with a number of debut authors, among them Tony Tulathimutte, Deborah Shapiro, Alice Bolin, Kimberly King Parsons, and Tara Isabella Burton. She is a graduate of Wesleyan University and the MFA program at The New School.

James Yeh is features editor at The Believer and an instructor at the School of the New York Times. His fiction, nonfiction, and other literary work have appeared in the New York Times, Harper’s, Dissent, Tin House, The Believer, VICE, Playboy, BOMB, and NOON. A graduate of the Columbia University MFA Program and former culture editor at VICE, he has received fellowships from the MacDowell Colony, Center for Fiction, and Hub City Writers Project. He was born and raised in upstate South Carolina and now lives in Brooklyn.

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 us at [email protected].


“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

“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

“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

“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

“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