our team


* CITADEL is committed to the values of equity, diversity and inclusion and encourages applications from members of groups that have been under-represented, marginalized or discriminated against. While we are actively seeking out diverse mentors, we also encourage applicants who think they would be a good fit.

Founder


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Robin Richardson

POETRY

Robin Richardson has been teaching for over six years, and has mentored numerous emerging writers, many of whom have gone on to publish books and win awards for the work they processed under Robin’s guidance. She takes a rigorous and personalized approach to mentorship, and believes everyone is capable of greatness if willing to set aside the ego, and engage in challenging work.

She is the author of three collections of poetry, including Sit How You Want (winner of the Trillium Book Award / named one of the best books of the year by CBC), and is Editor-in-Chief at Minola Review. Her work has appeared in Salon, POETRY, The American Poetry Review, The Walrus, Hazlitt, Best Canadian Poetry, and Tin House, among others. She holds an MFA in Writing from Sarah Lawrence College, has won the Fortnight Poetry Prize in the U.K., The John B. Santorini Award, The Joan T. Baldwin Award, and has been shortlisted for the CBC, Walrus, and ARC Poetry Prizes, among others. She is a MacDowell and Berton House Fellow.

Photo credit: Alejandro Nunez


Mentors


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Russell Smith

FICTION / CREATIVE NON FICTION

Russell Smith is a novelist and journalist, the author of nine books (eight fiction, one non-fiction). His most recent book, Confidence (short stories) was shortlisted for the Rogers Writers Trust Fiction Prize and longlisted for the Giller Prize. He has won the National Magazine Award for fiction twice. He has taught creative writing at several universities, most recently in the University of Guelph MFA in creative writing program, where he taught a fiction workshop for nine years. An experienced editor, he has supervised many book-length MFA theses, and several of these have gone on to be published books. For his journalism he has won the William Allen White Award in the United States. For the past 20 years he has written a weekly column on the arts in the Globe and Mail. He has also been a radio writer and host, producing and narrating a one-hour documentary for Ideas on CBC Radio, and co-writing and hosting the weekly show on language And Sometimes Y for two seasons.


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Farzana Doctor

LONG FORM LITERARY FICTION / MAGIC REALISM

Farzana Doctor is the Toronto-based author of four novels: Stealing Nasreen, Six Metres of Pavement, All Inclusive and Seven (Summer, 2020).


When working with emerging writers, Farzana sees her role as a facilitator and mentor. This includes critical feedback, editorial support, help with navigating the publishing industry and encouragement. It's important to respect a writer's individual voice, while providing options and suggestions for how they might improve their craft. Her twenty-five years of experience as a part-time psychotherapist helps her to be gentle and direct and she has often have candid conversations with writers about writers' block and creating healthy writing habits.

She has mentored emerging writers with Diaspora Dialogues, The Writers Union of Canada's Manuscript Evaluation Service and as a Writer in Residence at the Toronto Public Library. She founded and curated the Brockton Writers Series and has been on advisory committees with the Writers' Trust and Writers Union of Canada.

She is also an activist, part-time psychotherapist

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Jowita Bydlowska

MEMOIR

Jowita is a firm believer that with patience, good guidance and enthusiasm it is possible to install confidence and faith in any aspiring writer. She is amiable and kind in her dealings with the students, but she expects clear thinking and hard work from them. When this commitment is forthcoming she mirrors it with a rich supply of advice and support, and takes palpable pride in the students' resulting efforts.

Jowita Bydlowska is an author, editor and a writing instructor. She has published two books: a bestselling memoir, Drunk Mom (2013), and a critically acclaimed novel, GUY (2016). She’s had more than 20 short stories published in various magazines and journals, internationally. Most recently, her story “Funny Hat” was chosen for Best Canadian Short Stories 2017. She doesn’t remember how many essays she’s published but many. As a journalist and an essayist, she writes about culture, social issues, and mental health, and has been published in many national and international publications.


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Arif Anwar

NON-FICTION
FICTION

Arif approaches each writing project by first trying to understand the writer’s goals, and if that is unclear, finding possible avenues of expression for the writer’s imagination, their latent stories. Arif works closely with his clients, focusing on not just the trajectory of the narrative, but also developing the ‘feel’ for a good sentence, a ‘full’ paragraph. Writers should expect a healthy balance of workshopping, editing and both writing and reading assignments.

Arif Anwar was born near the Bay of Bengal, in Bangladesh. His debut novel, The Storm, about the devastating 1970 Bhola Cyclone, was published and translated worldwide to critical acclaim. He lives in Toronto and is currently working on his second novel and a collection of short stories.


STAFF


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Clay MacDonald

EXECUTIVE ASSISTANT

Clay MacDonald is a non-binary writer who grew up in Saudi Arabia before settling in Toronto.

They study Arts and Contemporary Studies at Ryerson University and their passions include poetry, travelling and film photography.


MEMBERS


Nancy Halifax // Urban

Susan Zimmerman // Urban

Sara Patterson // Urban

Elizabeth Cockle // Urban

Francine Diodati // Urban

Meg Max // Distance

Reid Newfeld // Urban

Milree Latimer // Distance

Laura McGavin // Distance

Lerolynn Cochrane // Urban

Samantha Jeric // Distance

Vanessa Moeller // Distance

Margaret Nowaczyk // Distance

Paola Ferrante // Distance

Julie Cameron Gray // Distance

Nashid Kamal // Distance