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author_rightside_loDebra Anderson is the recipient of the Writers’ Trust of Canada’s prestigious Dayne Ogilvie Prize, an award given to an emerging Canadian writer from the LGBT community for a body of work (2009) and recently appeared for World Pride & Nuit Rose at the Cunning Linguists at the Propeller Centre for the Arts (2014), POETRIX – a Get Lit World Pride Program organized by Glad Day Bookshop (2014), PROUD VOICES – Dirty.Sexy.Queer, a reading organized by Pride Toronto & Glad Day Bookshop (2013), ‘Querying the Page Panel’ an event organized by the Toronto Public Library as part of the Thought Exchange Program at the Palmerston Public Library (2013), Glad Day Bookstore’s Pride Program’s ‘Fiction with Friction’ event (2012), the Brockton Writers Series (2011), the Trigger Festival (2010), Word on the Street (Toronto, 2009), and Proud Voices Reading Series as part of Pride Toronto (2009).

Her novel, Code White is on the syllabus for WMST 1510 – ‘Sex, Gender & Popular Culture’ at York University (2014 & upcoming in 2015) and she guest lectured there in 2014. She was the guest lecturer for World Pride 2014 at Monarch Park Collegiate through the Toronto Public Library (Danforth/Coxwell Branch), and was also a guest author for World Pride 2014 at the Parkdale Library. She was a guest lecturer at York University’s Canadian Writers in Person Reading Series (AP/CLTR 1953 6.0A) where her book was on the syllabus in 2009 and was a guest author at UBC in a reading and panel discussion (2006).

Debra has also taught Creative Writing Workshops for World Pride 2014 at Glad Day Bookshop, to the Toronto Wordsmiths (a writing group for youth between the ages of 16-29) that runs out of the Parkdale Library, at Queer Writes, a writing group run through the Sexual & Gender Diversity Office and The Mark S. Bonham Centre for Sexual Diversity Studies at U of T (2014), the Unity Conference at OISE (2013), which is a one-day gathering of LGBTQ2S youth & their allies belonging to or interested in creating GSA’s, Word on the Street (2007) and at Pink Ink, a Toronto writing group for queer/trans youth run by Supporting Our Youth (SOY) in 2007.

Code White was supported by the Ontario Arts Council Writers’ Reserve Program (2004) and the work of her current untitled work-in-progress has been supported by both the Ontario Arts Council Writers’ Works in Progress Grant (2011) and the Ontario Arts Council Writers’ Reserve Program (2011 & 2012).

Her recent out of town reading highlights include performing at the tenth anniversary of the Thin Air — Winnipeg International Writers Festival (2006), The Robson Reading Series (Vancouver, 2006), Festival Voix d’Ameriques (Montreal, 2006) and the Durtygurls Reading Series (Ottawa, 2006).

Debra promoted her first novel, Code White (McGilligan Books, 2005) on a cross-Canada tour including stops in Montreal, Ottawa, Winnipeg, Calgary, Vancouver and Victoria.

Debra has also performed and given artist talks and lectures at Canadian universities and high schools. She has facilitated original Creative Writing Workshops for writing festivals, youth groups, libraries, students and the general public. She is a dynamic speaker on a wide variety of topics, among them: the creative writing process, the publishing process, feminist issues in texts, gender and sexuality, the outsider, finding your voice, how to create realistic dialogue, tips on working through writer’s block, facing your inner critic, building a sacred creative writing space, creating characters who speak from a marginalized perspective, performing your work, creating successful writing groups, where to find inspiration, and how to tell your own story.

To book Debra to give a lecture, artist talk or to facilitate uniquely tailored Creative Writing Workshops for groups of any size, or to schedule her for festival events, readings, or book club visits, please email.

To book Debra Anderson for an event or interview, or to receive promotional materials to review, please email

Debra is also the organizer and promoter of Get Your Lit Out, a reading series based in Toronto that promotes local female authors. She also organizes and promotes additional local literary events. To inquire about Debra organizing an event, please email.

PRAISE FOR CODE WHITE & PUBLICATIONS

Getting Schooled: Code White is on the Syllabus at York University
— Happy to announce that Code White is on the syllabus for WMST 1510 – “Sex, Gender and Popular Culture,” taught by Allyson Mitchell, Professor at York University (2014 and upcoming in 2015). I was invited as a Guest Lecturer in Feb. 2014 & March 2015.

Glad Day Bookshop – Shop Online & Support LGBT Bookstores
— Code White is chosen as one of Glad Day Bookshop’s Staff Picks! (2013)

Autostraddle (July 13, 2012)
Review of Anthology — Brazen Femme: Queering Femininity, ed. Chloe Brushwood Rose & Anna Camilleri
“Read a F*cking Book: “Brazen Femme: Queering Femininity”Autostraddle
Autostraddle

Among my favorite pieces is “fading femme” by Debra Anderson, a poem that describes the institutionalized femme stripped of her trappings: “I’m losing my colors / cloaked in the faded blue / of hospital property pjs / almost forget the femme in me.” One aspect of the poem that stands out specifically is the interesting and important perspective Anderson offers on makeup: “this ritualized mask-making / not to hide behind / but to put forth;” that the aim of a femme’s makeup is not to cover up the face, but to create the face. It’s a form of performance art.”—Autostraddle

Xtra! (February 9, 2012)
Article
Xtra!
“The book is both tragically hilarious and unabashedly sexy.”—Xtra!

Writers’ Trust of Canada
Dayne Ogilvie Prize Winner (2009)

“Debra Anderson is a courageous writer, unafraid to explore and expose the deeper chasms in life. Combined with enviable craft, a big heart, a sense of humour and mischief, and that larger vision that makes a great writer, she holds her reader with a firm, delightful grip.”—Dayne Ogilvie Prize Jury

For more info & prize history on the Dayne Ogilvie Prize, please visit the Writers’ Trust of Canada.

Capital Xtra! (Summer 2009 – Ottawa)
Interview
Capital Xtra!
Code White is a very sexy book…”—Capital Xtra!

York University Alumni News
Profile (May 2009)
“Alumna Debra Anderson Decodes Mental Health in Debut Novel”
“Written in the form of journal entries, Code White explores the experience of Alex, a woman who is locked inside a mental institution. Reading her journal gives you get an unfiltered view of Alex’s thoughts and feelings, which are often sharply humorous…”— Chris Cornish

Herizons (Winter 2007)
Review
“The work of a writer who takes her issues as seriously as she takes her fun. Code White is a book that meets your eye, has a good handshake, and looks killer in a pair of fishnets.” —Herizons

Shameless Magazine (Summer 2006)
Review
Code White provides a unique story rife with butches and femmes, kindly and cruel nurses, and love and friendships lost and found.” —Shameless Magazine

Swerve Magazine (June 2006 Issue – Winnipeg)
Review and Interview Feature
“In Code White, Anderson delivers a lot of humour and hope.” —Swerve Magazine

Broken Pencil (Issue 31)
Review
“A passionate and realistic no-nonsense portrait of femme culture in the unstable world of modern mental health, Code White is the kind of book that those ‘chick lit’ books have nightmares about.” —Broken Pencil

ffwd (March 16, 2006 – Calgary)
Interview
“Machinations of a psych ward — Debra Anderson’s novel Code White an intimate look at mental illness.” —ffwd

Calgary Herald (March 11, 2006 – Calgary)
Review
“Two Tales of Down-and-out Young Women.” —Calgary Herald

TRADE: Queer Things (Winter 2006 Issue – Toronto)
Cover, Feature Interview
“Debra Anderson Fans the Flames of Fame” —Trade: Queer Things

The Hour (February 9, 2006 – Montreal)
Review
“Worlds Apart — Two Valentine’s Releases Resurrect Feminist Critiques of Future World Orders.” —The Hour

“Anderson evokes the tension and tedium of trying to maintain impossible but gorgeous desires while regaining the strength and grounding to realize them. As much a novel of trauma and recovery as a critique of the conditions we create for those in recovery, Code White poses important questions about the ongoing pathologization of queerness in psychiatric practice and about how we know what wellness, integrity and sanity are in the first place.” —The Hour

Ottawa Xpress (Volume 13, Issue 6 – Ottawa)
“Save Your Cash For the Brash.” —Ottawa Express
Highlighting Durtygurls Reading Series

NOW Magazine (November 2005 – Toronto)
Review

TRADE: Queer Things (Summer 2004 Issue – Toronto)
Interview
“Why Can’t I Be You? —Trade: Queer Things

PRESS PHOTOS

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Debra Anderson

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PRESS BIO 

DebraAnderson_NuitRose_©AFSAAD_0002_origDebra Anderson is the recipient of the Writers’ Trust of Canada’s prestigious third annual Dayne Ogilvie Prize, an award given to an emerging Canadian writer from the LGBT community for a body of work (2009) and is a graduate of the York University Creative Writing Program. Her novel, Code White was supported by the Ontario Arts Council Writers’ Reserve Program (2004) and the work of her current untitled work-in-progress has been supported by both the Ontario Arts Council Writers’ Works in Progress Grant (2011) and the Ontario Arts Council Writers’ Reserve Program (2011 & 2012). She has been a regular on the Toronto reading scene, and has performed across Canada, most recently appearing at for World Pride & Nuit Rose at the Cunning Linguists at the Propeller Centre for the Arts (2014), POETRIX – a Get Lit World Pride Program organized by Glad Day Bookshop (2014), PROUD VOICES – Dirty.Sexy.Queer, a reading organized by Pride Toronto & Glad Day Bookshop (2013), ‘Querying the Page Panel’ an event organized by the Toronto Public Library as part of the Thought Exchange Program at the Palmerston Public Library (2013), Glad Day Bookstore’s Pride Program’s ‘Fiction with Friction’ event (2012), the Brockton Writers Series (Toronto, 2011), Word on the Street (Toronto, 2009), and Proud Voices Reading Series at Pride Toronto (2009). Her novel, Code White is on the syllabus for WMST 1510 – ‘Sex, Gender & Popular Culture’ at York University (2014 & upcoming in 2015). She was the guest lecturer for World Pride 2014 at Monarch Park Collegiate through the Toronto Public Library (Danforth/Coxwell Branch), and was also a guest author for World Pride 2014 at the Parkdale Library. She was a guest lecturer at York University’s Canadian Writers in Person Reading Series (AP/CLTR 1953 6.0A) where her book was on the syllabus in 2009 and a guest author at UBC (2006). Debra has taught Creative Writing Workshops  for World Pride 2014 at Glad Day Bookshop, to the Toronto Wordsmiths (a writing group for youth between the ages of 16-29) that runs out of the Parkdale Library, at Queer Writes, a writing group run through the Sexual & Gender Diversity Office and The Mark S. Bonham Centre for Sexual Diversity Studies at U of T (2014), the Unity Conference at OISE (2013), which is a one-day gathering of LGBTQ2S youth & their allies belonging to or interested in creating GSA’s, Word on the Street (2007) and at Pink Ink, a Toronto writing group for queer/trans youth run by Supporting Our Youth (SOY) in 2007. Debra’s writing has been anthologized in numerous publications. Debra currently resides in Toronto, where she was born and raised. Code White (McGilligan Books, 2005) is her first novel.