Fiction | Novel | Workshop

8-Week Novel Workshop

Are you writing a novel? So am I! Let’s take a crack at it together.

This course is geared at the would-be novelist. The writer who has always dreamed of tackling something long, the writer who has had the idea for a book simmering for ages, the writer who is eager to figure out how to get to the next stage.

Students should have the drive and commitment for the long-form, and it would be ideal to have a strong sense of what you want your novel to about, even if you haven’t started writing.

We’ll do short, in-class writing exercises to loosen our muscles; we’ll talk about some of my favorite novelists (such as Anita Brookner, Renata Adler, Thomas Mann, Louise Erdrich--there are a million!); we will talk about form, and dialogue, and time, and character. But our primary focus will of course be one another’s work. A workshop isn't one person instructing others, but a group of like-minded writers working toward a common goal. I usually say it's like toying with a ouija board: everyone’s hands are involved.

The aim will be to build our confidence, make our work better, hone our skills as critical readers, and make real progress on our novels. Be prepared to write, revise, read, and discuss intelligently and honestly.


- A one-on-one meeting with the instructor

- One novelist’s (admittedly subjective) take on craft and writing

- Tips and strategies for staying engaged in a novel-length project outside of the workshop

- Some inside perspective on the business of publishing (finding an agent, navigating social media, making money, etc.)

- Access to Catapult's list of writing opportunities and important submission deadlines, as well as a 10% discount on all future Catapult classes

Rumaan Alam

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 2020.


"Rumaan is the kind of writer (and the kind of person) who challenges the rest of us to demand more of ourselves, be more daring, more ambitious, more engaging—and he does so with such generosity and charm that it makes trying harder seem like the easiest thing in the world."

Robin Wasserman author of GIRLS ON FIRE

"Rumaan's insights as a reader, a thinker, and a sentence-maker are filled with brilliance, specificity, and warmth. He is that rare writer who works hard to think and talk about other people's work as carefully and thoughtfully as he does his own."

Profile Photo Lynn Steger Strong author of HOLD STILL

"Smart, sharp, and beautifully made, Rumaan Alam’s portrait of two childhood best friends transitioning into their adult lives is vividly rendered, set against a tantalizing background of moneyed New York City that is impossible to resist."

Emma Straub author of THE VACATIONERS

"Deceptively easy to read, RICH AND PRETTY is a complex testimony to the resilience of female friendship. With clarity and heart, Rumaan Alam brings to life the fraught, bewildering and beautiful nuances that keep us reaching for each other over decades."

Profile Photo Mira Jacob author of THE SLEEPWALKER'S GUIDE TO DANCING

"Engrossing, funny, and wise, RICH AND PRETTY by Rumaan Alam is the story of two young women growing up and growing out of their past selves, even as that past still, profoundly, matters. Its cleverness is surpassed only by its compassion. A marvelous debut."

Edan Lepucki author of WOMAN NO. 17

"Sharply observed and incredibly entertaining, RICH AND PRETTY tells the story of childhood friends struggling to hold onto their relationship as they grow up and grow apart. Rumaan Alam’s debut is one of the most honest portrayals of the complicated world of female friendship."

Jennifer Close author of THE HOPEFULS

"RICH AND PRETTY is a beautifully written novel, a lushly detailed portrait of the mores and manners of contemporary Manhattan and a penetrating look into the heart of the generation now facing their thirties... wickedly witty, keenly insightful, and deeply, compassionately wise."

Dan Chaon author of ILL WILL