Open-Genre | Intensive

Writer’s Winter Break 2020

Get out of the cold, hone your craft, and achieve your publishing goals in a festive atmosphere—and in the company of today's top literary agents and inspiring, successful authors. 

Catapult and William Morris Endeavor invite you to spend five days (Jan. 22 - Jan. 26) at IMG Academy in beautiful Bradenton, Florida, just south of Tampa and on the Manatee River, for one of the most unique writing conferences in the world. 

Join Chloe Benjamin, Vanessa Hua, Jean Kwok, Morgan Parker, Héctor Tobar, Meg Wolitzer, and many other award-winning and bestselling novelists, journalists, poets, essayists, and memoirists for a revitalizing blend of carefully curated social, educational, and creative events all tailored around the writing life.  

You can expect everything from panels to lectures, workshops to agent one-on-ones, alongside networking events and other social programming. Unlike conferences that focus purely on craft or only on the publishing industry, our Writer's Winter Break will offer emerging and experienced writers alike the opportunity to dive deep into their creative work while developing meaningful relationships to help kickstart a career as a published author. Focus on your manuscript, connect with your peers, find new mentors, receive detailed feedback from leading literary writers, learn how to launch and navigate a writing career, and forge transformative connections with agents and other key players in the industry.

It wouldn't be January in Florida without some time at the pool, so you can count on that, too! With a book in hand, of course.

If you have questions about Writer's Winter Break, please be in touch: [email protected].


Four sessions. Three hours each. Ten writers maximum. One incredible faculty mentor. Your core workshop will provide a creative and social foundation for your packed schedule of networking and dynamic literary programs.

Explore the descriptions below to find the opportunities that suit your writing priorities best. Shortly after your admission costs are paid, you will receive an online registration form to rank your workshop preferences.  Workshops are filled first come, first served—so sign up now by selecting "TAKE THIS CLASS" at the top of this page!

Generative Fiction | Meg Wolitzer

Novel | Jean Kwok


The $2,500 admission cost includes private lodging and passes to all events, including special seminars and group activities—plus a one-on-one consultation with an acquiring agent. Meals, reception drinks, and unlimited coffee throughout the week are also included.  (Please note that all admission costs directly pay our faculty, speakers, agents, program staff, and the hotel.)

Discount codes created for Catapult classes may not be used for Writer's Winter Break. However, if you'd be interested in enrolling with a payment plan, please email [email protected].

Included with admission:

- Private lodging at the Legacy Hotel at IMG Academy

- Breakfast, lunch, and dinner (beginning Wednesday evening and ending Sunday afternoon)

- Enrollment in one four-day core workshop

- Access to all conference programming (e.g. lectures and panels)

- One-on-one meeting with acquiring WME literary agent (20 minutes, cold reads/pitch only)

- Convivial social hours with fellow conference participants

Not included:

- Transportation to IMG Academy (including from airport or bus/train station)

- IMG Academy activities/outings

- Printing and/or copying services

 Please note: no discounts can be applied to registration in Writer's Winter Break.

We recommend waiting to book travel until after your four-day workshop registration has been confirmed.


Most days will resemble something like what we’ve outlined below. Plan to arrive by Wednesday afternoon, in time for a dinner-hour program, and to depart no earlier than Sunday afternoon, after your final workshop session and a farewell lunch.

9 am- 12pm: Core workshop

12:30 - 1:30pm: Working lunch panel

1:30 - 3pm: One-on-one meetings with workshop faculty and/or WME agents, Manatee River outing

3:30 - 5pm: Héctor Tobar craft lecture

5 - 7pm: Eat, drink, and be literary: dinner and faculty reading

7 - 9pm: Page to stage screening and talk, followed by cocktail reception


Chloe Benjamin is the author of The Immortalists, a New York Times bestseller, and The Anatomy of Dreams. A Barnes & Noble Discover Great New Writers selection, LibraryReads favorite, and #1 Indie Next pick, The Immortalists was a named a best book of 2018 by NPR, The Washington Post, Entertainment Weekly, and others. The Anatomy of Dreams received the Edna Ferber Fiction Book Award and was long listed for the 2014 Center for Fiction First Novel Prize. Her work has been translated into over thirty languages. Originally from San Francisco, CA, Chloe is a graduate of Vassar College and the M.F.A. in fiction at the University of Wisconsin. She lives with her husband in Madison, WI.

For more than two decades, Vanessa Hua has been writing about Asia and the diaspora in journalism and in fiction. An award-winning columnist for the San Francisco Chronicle, she’s the author of A River of Stars, a national bestseller and a 2018 best book pick by NPR and the Washington Post. Her short story collection, Deceit and Other Possibilities, winner of the Asian/Pacific American Award for Literature, was a finalist for the California Book Award, and will be reissued by Counterpoint in March 2020. Her honors include a Rona Jaffe Foundation Writers’ Award, a Steinbeck Fellowship in Creative Writing, the San Francisco Foundation’s James D. Phelan Award, as well as awards from the Society of Professional Journalists and the Asian American Journalists Association, among others. Her work appeared in the New York Times, Washington Post, FRONTLINE/World, and elsewhere. She lives in the Bay Area with her family, and works and teaches at the Writers Grotto in San Francisco.

Jean Kwok is the award-winning, New York Times and international bestselling author of Searching for Sylvie Lee, Girl in Translation, and Mambo in Chinatown. Her work has been published in twenty countries and taught in universities, colleges, and high schools across the world. An instant New York Times bestseller, Searching for Sylvie Lee was selected for the Today Show Book Club and featured in the New York Times, Time, Newsweek, CNN, the New York Post, the Washington Post, O Magazine, People, Entertainment Weekly, and more. Jean has been chosen for numerous honors including the American Library Association Alex Award, the Chinese American Librarians Association Best Book Award, and the Sunday Times Short Story Award international shortlist. Jean immigrated from Hong Kong to Brooklyn when she was five and worked in a Chinatown clothing factory for much of her childhood. She received her bachelor's degree from Harvard and completed an MFA in fiction at Columbia University. She currently lives in the Netherlands.

Richard Panek’s most recent book is The Trouble with Gravity: Solving the Mystery Beneath Our Feet (2019). Among his awards are a Guggenheim Fellowship, the Science Communication Award from the American Institute of Physics, a New York State Fellowship in Literary Nonfiction, and an Antarctic Artists and Writers grant from the National Science Foundation. His other books include The 4% Universe: Dark Matter, Dark Energy, and the Race to Discover the Rest of Reality, The Invisible Century: Einstein, Freud, and the Search for Hidden Universes, and Seeing and Believing: How the Telescope Opened Our Eyes and Minds to the Heavens. His collaboration with Temple Grandin, The Autistic Brain: Helping Different Kinds of Minds Succeed, was a New York Times bestseller and the winner of the Goodreads Choice award for Best Nonfiction Book of the Year. His own work has been translated into sixteen languages. He teaches creative writing in the Writing Seminars at Johns Hopkins University and in the MFA Writing program at Goddard College.

Morgan Parker is a poet, essayist, and novelist. She is the author of the poetry collections Magical Negro (Tin House 2019), There Are More Beautiful Things Than Beyoncé (Tin House 2017), and Other People’s Comfort Keeps Me Up At Night (Switchback Books 2015). Her debut young adult novel Who Put This Song On? was released by Delacorte Press in September 2019. A debut book of nonfiction is forthcoming from One World. Parker is the recipient of a 2017 National Endowment for the Arts Literature Fellowship, winner of a Pushcart Prize, and has been hailed by The New York Times as “a dynamic craftsperson” of “considerable consequence to American poetry.” 

JD Scott is the most recent winner of the Madeleine P. Plonsker Emerging Writer’s Residency Prize, selected by Lidia Yuknavitch, which will result in the publication of Moonflower, Nightshade, All the Hours of the Day (&NOW Books, 2020), a debut short story collection. Their debut poetry collection, Mask for Mask, is forthcoming from New Rivers Press in 2021. Scott has also authored two poetry chapbooks: FUNERALS & THRONES (Birds of Lace Press, 2013) and Night Errands (YellowJacket Press, 2012), which was the winner of the 2011 Peter Meinke Prize. Scott’s prose and poems has appeared in Denver Quarterly, Prairie Schooner, Indiana Review, Ninth Letter, Salt Hill, Sonora Review, The Pinch, Spoon River Poetry Review, and elsewhere. Other writing has been featured in the Best American Experimental Writing and Best New Poets anthologies. Scott’s accolades include being awarded a Lambda Emerging LGBTQ Voices fellowship, attending the Poetry Foundation’s inaugural Poetry Incubator, and being awarded residencies at the Millay Colony, the Edward F. Albee Foundation, and Writers at the Eyrie. Scott holds an MFA from the University of Alabama, where they edited and designed for Black Warrior Review.

Héctor Tobar is the Los Angeles-born author of five books, including the novels The Tattooed Soldier and The Barbarian Nurseries. His non-fiction Deep Down Dark: The Untold Stories of Thirty-Three Men Buried in a Chilean Mine and the Miracle that Set Them Free, was a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award and the Los Angeles Times Book Prize: it was also a New York Times bestseller and adapted into the film The 33. The Barbarian Nurseries was a New York Times Notable Book and won the California Book Award Gold Medal for fiction. Tobar's fiction has also appeared in ZYZZYVA and in Best American Short Stories. He earned his MFA in Fiction from the University of California, Irvine, and has taught writing at Pomona College and the University of Oregon. Currently, he is an associate professor of Chicano/Latino Studies and English at UC Irvine. His other books include the nonfiction Translation Nation: Defining a New American Identity in the Spanish-Speaking United States. His books have been translated into ten languages, including French, German, Portuguese, Italian, and Mandarin. As a journalist, he was a foreign correspondent with the Los Angeles Times in Buenos Aires and Mexico City, and a part of the reporting team that earned a Pulitzer Prize for coverage of the 1992 Los Angeles riots. Tobar has also been an op-ed writer for the New York Times and a contributor to The New Yorker, Smithsonian, and National Geographic. He is the son of Guatemalan immigrants. Farrar, Straus and Giroux will publish his fifth book, the novel The Last Great Road Bum, next year.

Meg Wolitzer is the New York Times bestselling author of The Interestings, The Ten-Year Nap, The Wife, and other books. Her latest novel, The Female Persuasion, was named to various Notable and Best Books of 2018 lists, including in The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Atlantic, People, Glamour, and Kirkus Reviews. She was the guest editor of The Best American Short Stories 2017, and has also published books for young readers, including To Night Owl From Dogfish, co-written with Holly Goldberg Sloan. Wolitzer is currently a faculty member in the Stony Brook Southampton MFA program, where she co-directs BookEnds, a one-year, non-credit intensive in the novel. The recent, critically-acclaimed film based on her novel The Wife starred Glenn Close and Jonathan Pryce.


 Note: Every Writer's Winter Break participant will meet for 20 minutes with one WME agent.

Suzanne Gluck is a literary agent and Global Co-Head of the WME Literary Department. Suzanne has represented over 100 New York Times bestselling books across a wide variety of genres. Her client list includes Stephen Dubner and Steven Levitt of Freakonomics; Min Jin Lee, acclaimed author of Pachinko; Meg Wolitzer, bestselling author of The Female Persuasion and The Wife; author of Searching for Sylvie Lee Jean Kwok, radio host and author Kurt Andersen, and generation-defining children’s author Judy Blume.

Margaret Riley King is a literary agent at William Morris Endeavor, where she began her career after graduating from Princeton University. She represents both literary and commercial fiction, along with narrative nonfiction, memoir, and lifestyle titles in the areas of food, home, faith/spirituality, and well-being. Clients and projects represented include Chloe Benjamin, author of the New York Times bestselling novel The Immortalists; Glennon Doyle, author of #1 New York Times bestseller and Oprah Book Club pick Love Warrior; Laura Moriarty; Ann Kidd Taylor; Cammie McGovern; New York Times bestselling author Nadia Bolz-Weber; Newbery Award winner Sheila Turnage; Annie Grace; Emily Henderson; Rachel Brathen; Kristin Cavallari; Jessie James Decker; Michael Symon; Ruthie Lindsey; Hannah Bronfman; Karlie Kloss; and Kristen Howerton; among others. She splits her time between her hometown of Nashville, Tennessee, and New York City. 

Jay Mandel has been a literary agent at WME since 2001. He began his career at The Writers Shop (née the Virginia Barber Literary Agency) in 1994. Among the clients he represents are iconic science writer Mary Roach, the twice Booker shortlisted Pakistani novelist Mohsin Hamid, essayist and novelist Sloane Crosley, the author of the international bestselling thriller I Am Pilgrim Terry Hayes, historian Alexis Coe, award winning Australian journalist Christine Kenneally, Atlantic contributor David Frum, syndicated columnist Jonah Goldberg, mathematician/writer Jordan Ellenberg, data scientist Cathy O’Neil, documentarian Ken Burns, the creator host of the podcast 99% Invisible Roman Mars, co-host of the podcast Call Your Girlfriend Aminatou Sow, and the Estate of Young Adult novelist Ned Vizzini. He lives in Brooklyn with his wife, two sons and a needy but lovable labradoodle named Rita. 


"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