Meet #LeadingLady Diane Terrana: Author And Teacher

As a group of women working towards common goals for STYLE Canada‘s brand and business, we understand the value of peer support in the workplace. So, we decided to bring like-minded ladies in business together for dinner with Soho House Toronto last Fall to discuss how they got sh*t done while supporting one another. STYLE’s Supper Club at Soho House has now become a quarterly event for storytelling, networking, inspiring, and so much more.

After this month’s Supper Club, we decided to feature the women who make these events as beneficial and empowering as they are, and we’ll continue to feature them throughout the year in our #LeadingLadies series. Here’s hoping that we’ll see you at our next Supper Club. Keep your eyes peeled on our events page for more details.

Photo: Diane Terrana / @dianeterrana

Diane Terrana – Author And Teacher

City: Mississauga

Industry: Publishing

Side Hustle: Editing and teaching


SC: What led you to pursue your career?

DT: My lifelong love of books and passion for reading.

SC: What has your career path looked like?

DT: My career path has been varied and wildly divergent. I’ve been an actress, a high school English/drama teacher, a belly dancer, and a co-founder of an online lit mag. Currently, I’m the executive editor at Toronto literary agency the Rights Factory, an award-winning instructor in the Creative Writing Program at the University of Toronto, and, finally—after years of trying—an author. As I’m very close to the official age of retirement, it’s thrilling to start a new career. In the last two years, I’ve published a memoir piece in FreeFall Magazine recounting the day my 14-year-old son was diagnosed with cancer and a young adult novel about a suicidal teenage girl – The World on Either Side.

SC: What obstacles have you overcome to get to where you are today?

DT: Almost every writer has daunting obstacles, and I’m no exception. Back in 2007, I took a creative writing course because I had started writing a novel. That novel got me an agent and freelance work at the agency, but it didn’t sell. I spent several years writing it and had over fifty rejections. (Maybe more than that – it was submitted widely in Canada, the U.S., and England – but that period is a bit of a black hole.) Then I spent two years writing a proposal for a nonfiction book that also didn’t sell. At that point, I had to think long and hard about whether I would try again. I decided I wanted to write, that the creative process was intrinsic to my well-being, and that the result was not as important as the process. Thus, I began to rework a novel I’d started a few years prior but put aside. That novel is The World on Either Side. I talk a lot about failure in my writing classes, because we all experience it. Failure can be crushing – that mountain you can’t get over, or, approached positively, it can teach you how to climb.

SC: What’s a social issue you’re passionate about?

DT: Animal rights. I fervently hope that in the not-too-distant future, animals—the world over—are treated with the compassion and respect belonging to all sentient and feeling beings. Elephant poaching is a sub-plot in my novel.

SC: Do you have any resolutions for 2020?

DT: I want to get organized. I want to have neat drawers, sparkling closets, and magazine-worthy cabinets. As I’m fast-approaching 65, I might be running out of time to change my habits. This year is the year to channel my mother and try to rival her linen closet. Then I’ll tackle my messy bookshelves.


This interview has been edited and condensed by STYLE Canada



  1. Ewa Kasinska

    February 15, 2020 at 11:02 PM

    I love this author’s honesty in her interview: how frank she is about the obstacles she overcame and challenges she still faces in life! The photos of the elephants reading her novel are spectacular!!

  2. Allanna

    February 21, 2020 at 7:50 PM

    Love the #LeadingLady series!

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