Crossing Over: Writers Talk About Their Reasons for Working in Different Forms, Styles, and Genres



Our first program is scheduled for Thursday, Nov. 29, from 7:30 to 9:00pm at the Centre for Social Innovation, 192 Spadina Avenue. FREE for members; introductory rate of $5 for non-members (students and non-students).

Crossing Over: Writers Talk About Their Reasons for Working in Different Forms, Styles, and Genres will feature three Toronto writers: Diana Fitzgerald Bryden, Catherine Graham, and Robin Richardson. They will tell their stories of working across styles and genres — or of wanting to and not always being able to do so — and will share what they’ve learned from those experiences:

  • Diana Fitzgerald Bryden will speak about her movement from poetry to the novel and back to short fiction, and discuss how an experiment with short, online fiction led her to hone her skills and place a story in the Malahat Review.
  • Catherine Graham (Quarry, The Celery Forest) will speak about the journey that led her to branch out beyond poetry to write her award-winning novel, Quarry (Two Wolves Press, 2017), and the impact it had on her current writing.
  • Robin Richardson (Sit How You Want) will discuss her transition from poetry to personal essays and memoir, as well as her attempts at long-form fiction.

This panel will explore a wide range of artistic and business considerations for writers working (or considering working) across different styles and genres. You’ll hear about our speakers’ struggles to diversify at the same time that you’ll hear about their accomplishments. We’ll be asking: Are there constraints within the publishing industry that tend to discourage authors from working in multiple forms? Are some forms (like poetry, perhaps) already more open to lane-switching than others? If you write a successful domestic thriller, can you go back to writing literary novels or poetry? What role(s) do agents and publishers play in keeping authors working primarily within one or, at most, two forms? What are some routes of escape from narrow casting within the publishing world? What are the risks and rewards of writing whatever you want to write, regardless of past publishing history?

Our three panellists will speak from experience about what it was like for them to journey across different genres and styles. They’ll talk about the specific pressures and experiences that led them to vary (or consider varying) their repertoire, and about the intrinsic and extrinsic risks and rewards of following your muse into new and different rooms.

Raffle prizes!

Be sure to pocket a toonie and enter our raffle for a chance to win valuable prizes! Prizes include: two passes to the Art Gallery of Ontario; various books; free stories and a tote bag from; and a one-hour mentorship with CAA-Toronto vice-president member Jennifer D. Foster on any aspect of writing and/or editing.

  • Raffle proceeds will go toward programming and help us pay our speakers.
  • Raffle tickets are $2 each, $5 for three, or $10 for seven.
  • Raffle winners must be present (or represented by someone) in order to claim their prize.

Author Bios

Catherine Graham is a Toronto-based writer. Among her six poetry collections, The Celery Forest was shortlisted for the Fred Cogswell Award for Excellence in Poetry, named a CBC Best Book of the Year, and appears on its Ultimate Canadian Poetry List. Michael Longley praised it as “a work of great fortitude and invention, full of jewel-like moments and dark gnomic utterance.” Her Red Hair Rises with the Wings of Insects was a finalist for the Raymond Souster Award and CAA Award for Poetry. Graham’s debut novel Quarry won an Independent Publisher Book Awards gold medal for fiction, “The Very Best!” Book Awards for Best Fiction, and was a finalist for the Canadian Authors Association’s Fred Kerner Book Award. She received an Excellence in Teaching Award at the University of Toronto School of Continuing Studies and was also a winner of the Toronto International Festival of Authors Poetry NOW competition. While living in Northern Ireland, Catherine completed an MA in creative writing from Lancaster University. Her work has appeared in journals and anthologies around the world, and she has appeared on CBC Radio One’s The Next Chapter with Shelagh Rogers. Visit her at Follow her on Twitter and Instagram: @catgrahampoet.

Diana Fitzgerald Bryden lives in Toronto, where she writes fiction, poetry, and essays. She is the author of two books of poetry, Learning Russian and Clinic Day, and a novel, No Place Strange. Her most recent publications include “The Hedonists” in the Malahat Review, and two poems in the anthology Another Dysfunctional Cancer Poem, edited by Priscila Uppal and Meaghan Strimas.

Robin Richardson is the author of three collections of poetry, including Sit How You Want, and is Editor-in-Chief at Minola Review. Her work has appeared in SalonPoetry MagazineThe American Poetry ReviewThe WalrusHazlitt, 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. Robin’s work has been adapted to song by acclaimed composer Andrew Staniland through The Brooklyn Art Song Society.