Seeing a need for innovative and forward-thinking creative organizations, we have created a space where writers and artists receive extensive creative guidance. Pulling on the expertise of founder Robin Richardson, as well as guest mentors and lecturers, CITADEL in not your average creative writing school. We provide not only individualized feedback and career guidance, but also a space for play, exploration, learning, and networking.
It is our singular goal to create and foster a space that is uniquely intense and original, sparking the creative flame that so many creators feel devoid of in an otherwise homogenized support system.
CITADEL founder Robin Richardson is the award-winning author of four collections of poetry. She received her MFA at Sarah Lawrence College and has been teaching and mentoring many now-established authors for half a decade. Robin found that Canada lacked the ambition and access to craft and career guidance to achieve world-stage quality. She has made it her mission to cultivate writing within the country, catapulting students not just to publication, but to sustainable greatness. The approach she brings to CITADEL is one of egolessness, of stripping away the desire for praise in favour of the desire to deepen quality of craft and content, to be open and receptive to learning and improvement.
WE OFFER ORIGINAL AND INTENSIVE EXPERIENCES THAT MAKE THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN ASPIRING AND BEING
Top-notch workshops and editorial feedback
One-on-one consultations with an established mentor of your choice
Time and space to work in our Toronto clubhouse
regularly scheduled workshops, seminars, and lectures
Tailored immersive experiences emphasizing play and creative exploration
Intensive accessing the unconscious seminars
dedicated GUIDANCE from the conception of your project to its publication
Unique Networking Opportunities
High-profile events and arts experiences
Publication resources and guidance
Cross-pollination of arts disciplines
Access to publishers and agents in the form of meet-and-greets and Q&As
Coming Soon: certification upon completion of our creative writing program
Events will take place regularly, for nine months out of the year
fight isolation with Open houses and dop-in writing consultation
Make deep connections with members, facilitators, and patrons
attend lectures and events with diverse writers, publishers, editors, and agents
vision for our county retreat centre
LOCATED IN PRINCE EDWARD COUNTY, IN PROXIMITY TO DRAKE DEVONSHIRE. WE WILL BE BUYING OVER AN ACRE OF LAND AND DEVELOPING IT FROM THE GROUND UP USING SUSTAINABLE AND RECYCLED SHIPPING CONTAINERS. THE STRUCTURE WILL SLEEP UP TO 8 PEOPLE, AND WILL BE USED FOR ONE-OFF EVENTS AND EXTENDED RETREATS FOR MEMBERS.
“These workshops will make you a better writer and a better person” — Michael Janzen - Animator and poet
“I highly recommend this workshop (honestly, any workshop with Robin!) I can’t believe it was just four sessions, because it has profoundly wiggled stuff loose. I finally have a practical way to investigate my dreams and now I see the wisdom of fairy tales and can’t wait to read more! Robin creates a warm and welcoming space to explore your writing, without judgement. Even when I doubt my own work, she always finds layers of meaning and the jewel at the centre. It’s clear she is on her own journey and honestly delights in supporting others on theirs. Now I have new tools for my ongoing exploration of writing and life—it feels like I’m starting a new chapter.” — Diane Hill - Student
“Whenever someone reaches out to me to ask about how to break into poetry, I send them towards Robin Richardson’s workshop first. It’s such an amazing space to share your work and be vulnerable and open to people’s opinion, process, and art.” — Tea Mutonji, author of Shut Up, You're Pretty, Forthcoming with Arsenal Pulp Press
“I do not have the words to express the profound ways in which Robin impacted my writing. She picked me up when I was deep in the middle of a writers rut. It seemed like I had written, re written and edited my work a thousand times already, and I just didn't know how to get it to where it needed to be. I had 42 published works in Bangladesh, USA and India at the time. But it was a dream of mine to have my work published by a Canadian publisher. Robin saw the light in my work. She was honest about its shortcomings and provided incredibly clear insight, feedback, guidance, and direction on how to make it better. She made both simple and complicated edits to my work that took the writing to a whole new level. Robin said my short stories were exceptional and had great potential. And of course, she has magic in her pen and compassion in her heart. Just like that, my work became clearer, more meaningful, more engaging.
“Robin then taught me how to approach the publishing process. How to connect with editors, how to engage publishers, how to get the word out about my work. This really made the difference. She helped bring it to light, and in under a year, a Canadian publisher had a contract on my desk. I could not believe it! I cannot thank Robin enough. She is truly a gem to the writing community and an asset to the literary circle.” - Rummana Chowdhury
Robin Richardson 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. Learn more about Robin Here.
Explore and create Freely
You may also apply for a Canada Council for the Arts Grant to cover the cost of your CITADEL membership.
“The Professional Development for Artists component of Explore and Create supports the career growth of Canadian artists and artistic groups by encouraging participation in a wide range of development opportunities. Grants fund activities that contribute to the professional advancement of Canadian artists working in all artistic disciplines.”
While the Canada Council offers guidance to certain individuals, please contact us if you need further assistance with your application.
The transparent Robin Hood approach to accessibility
Accessibility matters to us. We’re currently seeking corporate and individual sponsors for our scholarship program. If you have the means and want to make a difference in the arts in Canada, you can fund one or more writers at $3200 + HST, or contribute a partial scholarship from $500, $800, or $1200. The scholarship will be given in the donor’s name, and the donor will have input on the requirements of their scholarship, as well as updates on the progress of the recipient. Contact us for more details or purchase your scholarship below.
We are committed to making CITADEL accessible to everyone. Diversity and inclusivity are important to us. We’re especially interested in working with writers who feel set apart from established systems within CanLit, whether that’s due to marginalization, racialization, discrimination, having come to writing later in life, or having led a life that doesn’t necessarily align with the Standard Writer Career Path. We’re also currently in the process of creating scholarships for those who need financial assistance. If you’re in a position to be able to contribute to a scholarship, you can do so here.
Thanks to our first member, Susan Zimmerman, we’re now offering an accessible space for events upon request, located near the subway in Toronto. For more information about this space, please contact us. We’re also interested in working with writers outside of the GTA. Distance memberships are available now and include streaming access to our live seminars, as well as recordings.