The Program

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Sister Writes is a creative writing and literacy program dedicated to honouring the wisdom and experiences of women in downtown Toronto. Founded by writer Lauren Kirshner in 2010, with the support of Sistering, a drop-in center empowering ordinary women in extraordinary situations, Sister Writes provides women with the opportunity to work with professional women writers, develop creative potential, hone literary and leadership skills, receive mentorship, and build self-esteem. Hailed by The Toronto Star as a groundbreaking program, Sister Writes is one-of-a-kind in Toronto.

Now in its eighth year, Sister Writes provides an artistically empowering and collaborative creative writing program for women affected by homelessness, underhousing, trauma, mental health issues and addictions,  and women who face extraordinary circumstances or life transitions. Through the support of our sponsors and the assistance of our guest writers, Sister Writes offers a range of hands-on programming that is free and inclusive: The Writing Workshop; The Mentorship Program; and our newly launched Sister Writes in the Community Program, which brings one-off creative writing workshops to women’s agencies across Toronto.

Since 2010, our longest running program, The Writing Workshop, has provided over 300 free creative writing workshops in the community for budding women writers, and published seven literary magazines. Our guest workshop leaders have included acclaimed authors, poets, and journalists.

Empowering, inclusive, and hands on, Sister Writes is dedicated to the principle of breaking down barriers to arts, one story at a time.

Staff, Editorial and Guest Workshop Leaders

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Founding Creative Director
Lauren Kirshner

Anna Gallagher-Ross

Magazine Designer
Virginia LeBlanc

Community Coordinators
Cindy Maguire
Donna Reid

Lindsay Miles

Special Projects Illustrator
Meredith Sadler

Kate Schneider

Guest Workshop Leaders
Gwen Benaway
Danila Botha
Kate Cayley
Laura Clarke
Jennifer Cowan
Lynn Crosbie
Farzana Doctor
Bernice Eisenstein
Lisa Foad
Catherine Graham
Danielle Groen
Aisha Sasha John
Ibi Kaslik
Emily M. Keeler
Ben Ladouceur
Brooke Lockyer
Hoa Nguyen
Grace O’Connell
Morgan M. Page
Sarah Pinder
Souvankham Thammavongsa
Andrea Thompson
Emily Pohl-Weary
Vivek Shraya
Zoe Whittall
Lindsay Zier-Vogel
Carlyn Zwarenstein


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The Ontario Trillium Foundation
The Toronto Arts Council
The Ontario Arts Council
The Toronto Public Library


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Sister Writes volunteers are passionate about creative writing, literary arts, urban arts education, and women’s stories. We ask volunteers to commit to at least three months of approximately two hours of work per week. This way, you have enough time to learn from us and we from you. We also have longer term opportunities for students looking to fulfill Bachelor of Education internship requirements. Right now, we have  volunteer openings in these areas:

  • Editing: substantive, copyediting and proofreading
  • Event planning
  • Research
  • Administrative support
  • Poster design
  • Software skills (InDesign, Excel and Adobe)

To apply send us your CV and a cover letter (contact information here). We are especially interested in how your skills complement our program, so be sure to read through our Programs page first. We accept volunteers at the start of each session, in September, January and May.