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Kirshner, Lauren


Assistant Professor


BA Honours (Toronto); BEd (Toronto); MA (Toronto); PhD (York-Ryerson)




416-979-5000 ext 3031


I’m a writer, researcher, and arts educator, and I teach creative writing in the Department of English’s Undergraduate and Graduate programs.

My creative work traverses a variety of genres to explore how women experience gender, sexuality, mental health, work, and family. My novel, Where We Have to Go (M&S), a coming-of-age story set in the 1990s, was a finalist for the City of Toronto Book Award. My short fiction, memoir, feature writing, literary reviews, and interviews have appeared in journals and popular publications across North America including Hazlitt, Carousel, ELLE CANADA, THIS, The Globe and Mail, PRISM, and Room. My current non-fiction project examines how American popular culture – films, TV, ads, and digital media – represents women sex workers in a neoliberal economy and in light of ongoing feminist debates.

I bring my creative and scholarly interests into the community through participatory projects focused on arts for social justice. I am Founding Director of Sister Writes, a creative writing program that honours the wisdom and experience of women. Through workshops, public arts events, and literary magazines, Sister Writes strives to empower women, provide mentorship, and inspire the community with vital stories about women’s lives. Recognized by The Toronto Star and CBC, Sister Writes was the winner of a 2018 Arts Bridges Award for Remarkable Achievement in Community Arts. My other community initiatives, including an intergenerational oral history program, have won the support of various arts councils and foundations, and my Young Authors Project was a finalist for the 2013 Ontario Minister’s Award for Innovation in the Arts.

Currently, I continue to lead Sister Writes and am working on a book of interconnected short stories and a monograph on sex workers in popular culture.

Research Interests:

fiction writing, non-fiction writing, community arts education, feminism, arts for social justice, cultural studies, popular culture, participatory communications, contemporary fiction