Open-Genre | Intensive

Don't Write Alone Weekend

Time, space, inspiration, and a community of other writers. Plus coffee. Buckets of coffee. Is there a better recipe for generating new writing?

For the next installment of DON’T WRITE ALONE, Catapult is taking over NYU’s Lillian Vernon Creative Writers House (the coziest brownstone in the West Village) for a summer weekend writing party.  

The three-day event will kick off on Friday evening with a welcome reception, followed by a reading and intimate conversation with international bestseller Paul Auster, who will discuss the ups and downs of committing to life as a novelist.

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 with authors Mira Jacob, Porochista Khakpour,  Victor LaValle, and more. Writers will have the opportunity to meet one-on-one with agents from leading agencies, and Catapult instructors will be stopping in throughout the day. 

On Sunday morning, we’ll wrap the weekend up with intensive workshops in small groups, so that writers can leave the retreat not only with new work and inspiration, but also with valuable feedback to help them 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. 

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

Due to space constraints, this event is limited to 75 writers.


Regular $150 admission covers full access to the NYU Lillian Vernon Creative Writers House starting Friday evening at 6 p.m., as well as readings and talks by Paul Auster, Mira Jacob, Porochista Khakpour, Victor LaValle, and other writers and publishing visionaries. Drinks on Friday, full lunch on Saturday, and of course, unlimited coffee throughout the event are also included.

Writers have the option of adding on a Sunday morning workshop led by a Catapult editor. 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 an additional $150. Please note that in order to participate in the Sunday morning workshops, you must be prepared to submit up to 15 pages of your writing by June 1, so that your writing may be shared with your classmates in advance of the workshop. To sign up for a workshop, please email Colin Drohan ([email protected]). 

A limited number of one-on-one cold pitch sessions with editors (from houses big and small) and agents (from ICM, Janklow & Nesbit, William Morris Endeavor, Union Literary, and Curtis Brown) will also be scheduled throughout the day on Saturday; these sessions are $50.  


PAUL AUSTER is the bestselling author of Sunset Park, Invisible, The Book of Illusions, and The New York Trilogy, among many other works. In 2006 he was awarded the Prince of Asturias Prize for Literature. Among his other honors are the Prix Médicis étranger for Leviathan, the Independent Spirit Award for the screenplay of Smoke, and the Premio Napoli for Sunset Park. In 2012 he was the first recipient of the NYC Literary Honors in the category of fiction. He has also been a finalist for the International IMPAC Dublin Literary Award (The Book of Illusions), the PEN/Faulkner Award for Fiction (The Music of Chance), and the Edgar Award (City of Glass). He is a member of the American Academy of Arts and Letters and a Commandeur de l’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres. His work has been translated into more than forty languages. He lives in Brooklyn, New York.

EMILY CUNNINGHAM is an Editor at Penguin Press whose authors include Susan Quinn, Elizabeth L. Silver, Paul Greenberg, Kevin Davis, and Priya Satia. 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.

MIRA JACOB is the author of the critically acclaimed novel The Sleepwalker’s Guide to Dancing, which was shortlisted for India’s Tata First Literature Award, honored by the Asian Pacific American Library Association, and named one of the best books of 2014 by Kirkus Reviews, the Boston Globe, Goodreads, Bustle, and The Millions. Her recent work has appeared in the New York Times Book Review, Vogue, Guernica, and The Scofield. She is currently drawing her graphic memoir, GOOD TALK: Conversations I’m Still Confused About (forthcoming from Dial Press).

POROCHISTA KHAKPOUR  was born in Tehran in 1978 and raised in the Greater Los Angeles area. She has been awarded fellowships from the Johns Hopkins University Writing Seminars, Northwestern University, the Sewanee Writers’ Conference, Virginia Center for the Creative Arts, The Ucross Foundation, Djerassi, and Yaddo.  She is most recently the recipient of a 2012 National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) Literature Fellowship in Creative Writing (Prose). Her debut novel Sons and Other Flammable Objects (Grove/Atlantic, 2007) was a New York Times “Editor’s Choice,” Chicago Tribune “Fall’s Best,” and 2007 California Book Award winner.  Her second novel, The Last Illusion (Bloomsbury, 2014) was a Kirkus Best Book of 2014, a Buzzfeed Best Fiction Book of 2014, and an NPR Best Book of 2014, among others. Her next book, Sick, will be published by HarperPerennial (May 2018): “a memoir of chronic illness, misdiagnosis, addiction, and the myth of full recovery, chronicling the long, arduous discovery of her late-stage Lyme Disease.”

DANYA KUKAFKA has been at Riverhead for two and a half years. She works as assistant editor for the publisher, Geoff Kloske, and VP/editor-in-chief, Sarah McGrath, with whom she has edited authors like Paula Hawkins, Lauren Groff, Meg Wolitzer, Brit Bennett, Maile Meloy, Helen Oyeyemi, Emma Straub, and many more. She is now acquiring her own books for the Riverhead list; she is looking for big, expansive fiction with rich inner worlds, and narrative-driven nonfiction. She is also the author of the novel Girl in Snow, coming this summer from Simon & Schuster.

VICTOR LAVALLE is the author of the short story collection Slapboxing with Jesus, three novels, The Ecstatic, Big Machine, and The Devil in Silver, and two novellas, Lucretia and the Kroons and The Ballad of Black Tom. He has been the recipient of numerous awards including a Whiting Writers' Award, a United States Artists Ford Fellowship, a Guggenheim Fellowship, a Shirley Jackson Award, an American Book Award, and the key to Southeast Queens. He was raised in Queens, New York. He now lives in Washington Heights with his wife and kids. He teaches at Columbia University.

CALVERT MORGAN is an Executive Editor at Riverhead Books. His authors have included Jess Walter, Roxane Gay, Lidia Yuknavitch, Stanley Crouch, Molly Crabapple, Rachel B. Glaser, Porochista Khakpour, Amber Tamblyn, Robin Wasserman, and Kate Zambreno. A graduate of Yale University, Cal previously worked at HarperCollins, where he was editorial director of Harper Perennial, and at St. Martin’s Press. He also currently serves as board chair of the Center for Fiction, the only organization in the United States devoted exclusively to the art of fiction.

ANNA STEIN is a literary agent at ICM. Prior to joining ICM, Anna Stein opened and ran the New York office of Aitken Alexander Associates from 2009 to 2015. Previously, she was an agent and foreign rights manager at the Irene Skolnick Literary Agency. She holds a B.A. in Comparative Literature from Barnard College, an M.A. in International Relations from the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies, and a M.Phil. in Textual and Visual Studies from Trinity College, Dublin. Her authors include Ben Lerner, Maria Semple, and Hanya Yanagihara.

MONIKA WOODS is a literary agent at Curtis Brown. Her interests include literary and commercial fiction and compelling non-fiction in food, popular culture, science, and current affairs.  Some of her dream projects include historical fiction about feminists, the Roma, and Maxim Lieber, darkly suspenseful stories (both true and made-up) with unreliable narrators, anything about Poland and its history, nonfiction that is creatively critical, and above all, novels written in a singular voice.  Monika lives in Brooklyn with her husband, son, and two cats and can be found writing about the book she just finished at or @booksijustread.


"The Catapult Write-In I attended in December was a really special experience. With anxiety levels high in the weeks following the presidential election, Catapult provided a quiet space to sit and think and share with other writers. Most importantly, the Write-In gave us all the opportunity to encourage each other to keep writing and to keep telling our stories at a time when it feels to many that our stories are getting ignored, or that our writing isn't important enough compared to our activism. The Write-In was a reminder that writing is another form of activism, and that gathering in large numbers in this pursuit can be powerful."

"I had forgotten how good it felt to write with other people. (I had forgotten how good it felt to write, period.) I think some amazing stories are going to come from nights like these."

Catapult student

"Can an atmosphere feel both cozy and charged? Catapult write-ins feel a bit like a silent monastic retreat, except for the pizza and beer, and the writing prompts on the table, and this quiet electric sense of story ideas coalescing like clouds all around you. It felt good to be among writers without the pressure of being social. It felt good to be around comrades—to see other people writing, as if the act of writing mattered. Also, because everyone was working, I felt embarrassed to check my phone...and wrote four new pages in my novel."

Catapult student