Open-Genre | Intensive

Don’t Write Alone Weekend

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.

PROGRAM

Friday

- 6:30 PM: Welcome and check-in

- 7:00 PM: What's Your Process? Writing the Debut with Ryan Chapman, Julia Phillips, Regina Porter, and De’Shawn Charles Winslow

- 8:30 PM: Opening night reception

Saturday

- 10:00 AM: Writing space opens, late check-in, agent/editor meetings begin

- 11:00 AM: Publishing 101 with Monika Woods

- 12:30 PM: Lunch break! Food (vegetarian, vegan, and gluten-free options) provided by Catapult

- 1:45 PM: Writing Arts and Culture panel with Rumaan Alam, Morgan Jerkins, and Emily Nussbaum, moderated by Kendall Storey

- 3:30 PM: Craft talk with Fatima Farheen Mirza

- 5:00 PM: Reading and conversation with the Astro Poets, Alex Dimitrov and Dorothea Lasky

- 6:30 PM: Party time! Drinks, appetizers, and an open mic. Email Stella Cabot Wilson ([email protected]) to sign up.

Sunday

- 10:00 AM: Writing space opens. Fiction and nonfiction workshops with Julia Phillips and Melissa Faliveno for those enrolled; participants will be notified of class location.

- 12:15 PM: Lunch on your own!

- 12:45 PM: Craft talk with Melissa Febos

- 2:00 PM: Humor writing craft talk with Elissa Bassist

- 4:00 PM: Writing space closes. 

GUEST & SPEAKER BIOS

Rumaan Alam is the author of the novels Rich and Pretty and That Kind of Mother. His writing has appeared in the New York Times, the New Republic, the Washington Post, and elsewhere. His third novel will be published in 2021.

Elissa Bassist edits the column “Funny Women” on The Rumpus. Her award-deserving humor appears on NewYorker.com, McSweeney’s Internet Tendency, National Lampoon, Jezebel, NYMag.com, this bio, and more. Formerly the managing editor of The Best American Nonrequired Reading and writer for The Mark Twain Prize for American Humor (honorees include Will Ferrell, Ellen DeGeneres, Carol Burnett, Eddie Murphy, & Bill Murray), currently Elissa writes cultural and personal criticism, and most recently her work is featured in the best-seller Not That Bad: Dispatches from Rape Culture, ed. by Roxane Gay. elissabassist.com

Born and raised in Washington, D.C., Sarah Bolling joined The Gernert Company in 2017 after working in editorial at W. W. Norton & Company. She holds a BA in East Asian Studies from Brown University, and an MA in Comparative Literature from Goldsmiths, University of London. She currently resides in Manhattan, but has previously lived in Japan, South Korea, and the UK. Sarah is currently seeking literary fiction, especially featuring speculative elements, diverse characters, and inventive narrative structure. She is also seeking a range of nonfiction, including: memoir, pop culture, psychology, sociology, beauty, and style. Her clients include Chana Porter, Rafia Zakaria, Cher Martinetti, and Lorelei Lee.

Julie Buntin is from northern Michigan. Her debut novel, Marlena, was a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle’s John Leonard Prize, translated into ten languages, and named a best book of the year by over a dozen outlets, including the Washington Post, NPR, and Kirkus Reviews. A Bread Loaf and MacDowell Fellow, her writing has appeared in the Atlantic, Vogue, the New York Times Book Review, and other publications. She has taught creative writing at New York University, Columbia University, and the Yale Writers’ Workshop, and is both an associate editor and the director of writing programs at Catapult. In 2020, she will join the fiction faculty at the University of Michigan's Helen Zell Writers' Program.

Ryan Chapman is the author of the novel Riots I Have Known (Simon & Schuster, May 2019) and the illustrated book Conversation Sparks (Chronicle Books). He's written for The New Yorker, GQ, The Believer, Electric Literature, Longreads, Guernica, and elsewhere. He has previously worked in marketing and online editorial for Farrar, Straus, and Giroux, The Penguin Press, and BOMB Magazine. He lives in upstate New York.

Kerry Cullen's fiction has been published in The Indiana Review, Prairie Schooner, One Teen Story, and more. She is an assistant editor at Henry Holt, earned her MFA at Columbia University, and she lives in New York. She is currently writing a novel about queer teens and Christian rock. 

Stephanie Delman joined Sanford J. Greenburger Associates in early 2012. She represents a spectrum of authors who write for the adult market, with a focus on fiction: literary/upmarket, psychologically propulsive suspense, near-historical fiction, and genre-bending, literary narratives that contain elements of surrealism, magic, or sci-fi. In non-fiction, Stephanie is currently seeking longform reportage that reads like fiction, true crime, and expert accounts of dark and far-flung corners of the world. Stephanie favors #ownvoices, diverse perspectives, and feminist narratives. A graduate of the Johns Hopkins Writing Seminars program, Stephanie considers herself a “hands-on” agent and is eager to work with debut authors who are serious about their craft. Her list of clients includes Julia Fine, Jennie Melamed, Amy Feltman, Catherine Lowell, Dami Lee, Madeline Stevens, Katie M. Flynn, Amanda Litman, Monet Patrice Thomas, and more. Her authors have written for publications including The New Yorker, Tin House, and the New York Times; they’ve won or been shortlisted for the Arthur C. Clarke Award, the Chicago Review of Books Award, the Bram Stoker Award, the Barnes & Noble Discover Award, the Nelligan Prize for Short Fiction, the Steinbeck Fellowship, the Marianne Russo Award, and more.

Alex Dimitrov is the author of two books of poems, Together and by Ourselves (Copper Canyon Press, 2017), Begging for It (Four Way Books, 2013), and the online chapbook American Boys. He has taught writing at Columbia University, Bennington College, and Rutgers University-New Brunswick. His poems have appeared in The New Yorker, The New York Times, Poetry, and The American Poetry Review. He lives in New York City. He has two forthcoming books: Astro Poets (2019) and Love and Other Poems (2020).

Caroline Eisenmann is an associate agent at the Frances Goldin Literary Agency. Prior to joining the agency in 2017, she spent four years at ICM Partners. She represents adult upmarket and literary fiction, as well as nonfiction including reported narratives, memoir, cultural criticism, essay collections, and history and biography with a surprising point of view. In fiction, she is particularly drawn to work that centers around intimacy and its discontents, stories about obsession, and narratives that grapple with our current cultural climate. Caroline was raised in the Boston area and received an undergraduate degree from Wesleyan University.

Melissa Faliveno is a writer and editor whose debut essay collection, Tomboyland, is forthcoming in 2020. Most recently the senior editor of Poets & Writers Magazine, she was previously a book editor at an independent press and a cultural reporter for Isthmus, an alternative weekly in Madison, Wisconsin. She teaches nonfiction writing at Sarah Lawrence College and has led talks, panels, workshops, and interviews on writing and publishing throughout the country and abroad. Her work has appeared in Prairie Schooner, DIAGRAM, Midwestern Gothic, and Green Mountains Review, among others, and received a notable selection in Best American Essays 2016. She lives in Brooklyn.

Melissa Febos is the author of the memoirs Whip Smart and Abandon Me. Her essays have appeared in Tin House, The Believer, The New York Times, The Kenyon Review, Lenny Letter, and elsewhere. Portions from Abandon Me have won prizes from Prairie Schooner, StoryQuarterly, and twice earned notice in the 2015 Best American Essays anthology. The recipient of fellowships from The MacDowell Colony, Ragdale, Virginia Center for Creative Arts, Vermont Studio Center, The Lower Manhattan Cultural Council, and The Barbara Deming Memorial Fund, Febos serves on the directorial board of VIDA: Women in Literary Arts, and is an assistant professor of creative writing at Monmouth University. She lives in Brooklyn.  melissafebos.com

Morgan Jerkins is the author of the New York Times bestseller, This Will Be My Undoing: Living at the Intersection of Black, Female, and Feminist in (White) America. Her other work has been featured in The New Yorker, The New York Times, Esquire, Rolling Stone, and The Atlantic, among many others. She teaches nonfiction at Columbia University's MFA program.

Dorothea Lasky is the author of six books of poetry and prose, most recently Animal and Milk (both out from Wave Books). She currently is an Associate Professor of Poetry at Columbia University's School of the Arts and lives in New York City.

Fatima Farheen Mirza is a graduate of the Iowa Writers’ Workshop, where she was a Teaching-Writing Fellow. She has taught creative writing and fiction courses at the University of Iowa and at the Iowa Young Writers’ Studio. Awarded the Michener-Copernicus Fellowship in 2016 and The Chancellor’s Award for Excellence in Undergraduate Research/Creative Achievement from The University of California, Riverside, she has also received residencies from The Marble House Project and The MacDowell Colony. Her debut novel, A Place for Us, was published by SJP for Hogarth in 2019 and was a New York Times bestseller.

Emily Nussbaum is the television critic for The New Yorker and, in 2016, won the Pulitzer Prize for criticism. Previously, she worked at New York for seven years, editing the Culture Pages (and creating the Approval Matrix) and writing both features and criticism. Her anthology, I Like to Watch: Arguing My Way Through the TV Revolution, was released in June.

Julia Phillips is the author of the novel Disappearing Earth. Her writing has appeared in The Atlantic, Slate, and The Paris Review and been supported by a Fulbright fellowship. She lives in Brooklyn.

Regina Porter is a graduate of the Iowa Writers’ Workshop, where she was an Iowa Arts Fellow. She is the recipient of a Rae Armour West Postgraduate Scholarship and a Tin House Scholar. Her fiction has been published in The Harvard Review. An award-winning playwright, Porter has worked with Playwrights Horizons, the Joseph Papp Theater, New York Stage and Film, the Women’s Project, Woolly Mammoth Theatre Company, and Horizon Theatre Company. She has been anthologized in Plays from Woolly Mammoth and Scenes for Women by Women. Porter was born in Savannah, Georgia, and lives in Brooklyn. Her first novel is The Travelers.

Sarah Lyn Rogers is an NYC-based writer from the San Francisco Bay Area. She is the editorial assistant for Soft Skull Press, a contributing editor for Catapult, and was formerly the fiction editor for The Rumpus. She is the author of Inevitable What, a poetry chapbook focused on magic and rituals, and is seeking a home for Cosmic Tantrum, a full-length poetry collection. For more of her work, visit sarahlynrogers.com.

Kendall Storey is Associate Editor & Foreign Rights 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.

Alice Whitwham joined The Cheney Agency in August 2016. She represents a range of voice-driven narrative nonfiction, cultural criticism, history, and select literary fiction. Previously, she worked at the Zoë Pagnamenta Agency and managed programming and marketing at McNally Jackson Books. She studied literature at Cambridge and holds an MA in poetry and cultural theory from the University of Chicago.

De'Shawn Charles Winslow was born and raised in Elizabeth City, North Carolina, and has lived in Brooklyn for most of his adult life. He enjoys reading and writing fiction about the complex relationships within families and small, close-knit communities. De'Shawn has taught writing courses at multiple CUNY campuses, and at the University of Iowa. He is a 2017 graduate of the Iowa Writers' Workshop, where he wrote his first novel, In West Mills (Bloomsbury, June 2019). His second novel, Pharaoh's Army, will also be published by Bloomsbury.

Monika Woods is a writer and literary agent at Curtis Brown, Ltd. She is a graduate of the Columbia Publishing Course and has worked at Trident Media Group and InkWell Management, where she worked closely with leading voices in contemporary literature. Her interests include literary and commercial fiction and compelling non-fiction in food, popular culture, journalism, science, and current affairs. She lives in Bed-Stuy, Brooklyn, with her husband, son, and two cats.

ADMISSION COSTS

Regular $299 admission covers full access to the NYU Lillian Vernon Creative Writers House starting Friday evening at 6 pm, as well as readings and talks. This price includes a one-on-one pitch or information session with an acquiring literary agent or editor. Drinks on Friday, full lunch on Saturday, and, of course, unlimited coffee throughout the event are 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 double-spaced pages ready for submission by July 15th. We will offer two workshops in fiction, and one in nonfiction. Groups will be capped at six students, and spaces in workshops are limited. Cost to enroll in a workshop is an additional $199. If you would like to enroll in a workshop, please purchase your DWA admission and email Stella at [email protected]

Housing for Don't Write Alone is not included in tuition. Students participating in the weekend must make independent housing arrangements. Feel free to email us for recommendations!

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].

Testimonials

"I left feeling incredibly inspired. I was encouraged personally by people in my field and that really shored up my inspiration to continue the project I'm working on. I would recommend this weekend for anyone feeling stuck in the later stages of a project they really want to finish."

Don't Write Alone 2018 participant

"The whole weekend was positive. It was so much more than I thought it was going to be when I signed up."

Don't Write Alone 2018 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

“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