The Toronto Writers’ Centre was originally established by Mitch Kowalski in 2006 as Canada’s first literary incubator. After Mitch, Jocelyn Hidi ran the Centre through to 2023. Then, standing members Rixa Guzman and Polly Phokeev stepped forward and moved the beloved co-working space to its new home at 500A Bloor Street West to start the next chapter of the community’s story.
The TWC has hosted hundreds of writers, from Nino Ricci and Vincent Lam to Elizabeth Renzetti and Sarah Polley. Writers that have used the TWC (and some continue to do so) have garnered many prestigious accolades including Governor General’s Awards, the Giller Prize, Genie Awards, Edgar Awards, Arthur Ellis Awards for Excellence in Crime Fiction, Silver Dagger Awards, and the Charles Taylor Prize.
Our boardroom has been rented out by television writers of successful shows which have aired on The Disney Channel, Hulu, CBC and CTV. The writers for the hit show “Murdoch Mysteries” (now entering its 10th season) have routinely used the TWC boardroom to focus their ideas, break stories, and nurture the collaborative writing process of a writers’ room.
Rixa and Polly are very excited to grow the TWC as a support to Canadian writers, not only as a quiet place to write, but also an education hub that offers hands-on writing workshops. Our goal is to foster a supportive community of writers cheering each other on through the many roads of a creative path. .
When asked about the importance of a distraction-free space to write, Paulette Bourgeois, the author of the successful “Franklin the Turtle” books, said: “I’ve been writing for over 22 years at home. When you’ve been writing for 22 years at home… you tend to procrastinate. When you’re at home and you should be writing, suddenly the laundry becomes important.”. The TWC has, for over 16 years, provided that place. No distractions. No excuses. No laundry.