The 2017 Alistair MacLeod Mentorship Program hits the half-way point this month, and participating writers are busy honing their craft and developing their manuscripts with guidance from their mentors.
As part of the Writers’ Federation of Nova Scotia’s ecology of writer development programs, the Alistair MacLeod Mentorship Program supports the development of writers in Nova Scotia who are on the cusp of professional publication. The program pairs published writers with emerging writers, taking care through a peer assessment process to match the experience and craft of the former with project goals and draft manuscripts of the latter.
The resulting five-month apprenticeships are a focused and hands-on period of work, a one-on-one process through which apprentice writers hone their craft, make significant progress on their manuscripts, and gain confidence to refine their work and develop their writing careers after the program.
Since its beginning in 2001, the Alistair MacLeod Mentorship Program has helped writers of diverse artistic practices and cultural backgrounds take the next crucial step in their careers. For this year's program, twenty-four applications from emerging writers and twenty-two expressions of interest from prospective mentors were reviewed by an assessment panel of three peers.
The three mentorship pairs began working together on January 5, 2017, and will conclude the program with a public reading at the WFNS Celebration of Emerging Writers on June 10, 2017. (Mark your calendars!) Here are the 2017 Alistair MacLeod Mentorship Program participants:
Stephanie Domet (Halifax) mentoring Amanda Peters (Falmouth) on a fiction manuscript:
Stephanie Domet’s debut novel, Homing (Invisible Publishing, 2007), won the Margaret and John Savage First Book Award in 2008. Fallsy Downsies was published in October 2013 by Invisible Publishing, and won the Jim Connors Dartmouth Book Award in 2014. She is at work on a third novel. Her non-fiction writing has been published in the National Post, Quill and Quire, The Coast and other local and national outlets. In addition she has taught writing workshops at the Shelburne Writers’ Festival, the Writers’ Federation of Nova Scotia and the Tatamagouche Centre, and has served on literary arts juries for the Canada Council, the Province of Nova Scotia and the Writers’ Federation of Nova Scotia. She lives in Halifax, where she makes a mean brisket, and is always up for a little tennis.
Amanda Peters has wanted to write for most of her life. In 2016 she completed her Certificate in Creative Writing from the University of Toronto. Last year she was short listed for the Atlantic Writing Competition in the short fiction category. She is excited to be one of the recipients of the 2017 Alistair Macleod Mentorship program. Amanda was born and raised in the Annapolis Valley and currently resides in Falmouth with her husband.
Stephen Law (Kennetcook) mentoring Louise Cameron (Halifax) on a fiction manuscript:
Stephen Law is an author, mediator, facilitator and grows organic garlic while watching his kids play up in their treehouse on his farm. For him, writing in alternative coffee shops, on his couch or in libraries seems to work best. His first novel, Tailings of Warren Peace (Roseway, 2013) was nominated for the Margaret and John Savage First Book Award. His second novel, Under Her Skin (Roseway) will be published in the fall of 2017.
Louise Cameron was born in England and grew up in Halifax. She got her Master’s degree in English at Dalhousie University where she discovered that she was not cut out for an academic career. Since then, Louise has worked as a book-seller, a free-lance writer, a news writer for CBC’s The National and a producer for CBC News. Currently she works in her attic on her first novel.
Margo Wheaton (Halifax) mentoring Caira Clark (Halifax) on a poetry manuscript:
Margo Wheaton was born in Moncton, New Brunswick and currently lives in Halifax. Her poems, essays, and reviews have appeared in publications including The Fiddlehead, The Globe and Mail, The Literary Review of Canada, The New Quarterly, Prism, and Undercurrents: New Voices in Canadian Poetry (Cormorant). Her work received the Alfred Bailey Award for poetry and her first collection of poems The Unlit Path Behind the House was published by McGill-Queen’s University Press in 2016.
Caira Clark writes poetry and (sometimes) fiction. Her poetry has been shortlisted in the untethered Poetry Competition (2015) and placed in the Fog Lit Emerging Writers Competition (2015). She is working on her first poetry collection, which distills her experiences as an environmental scientist and a marine biologist in remote Canadian locations. She grew up in New Brunswick, but now calls Dartmouth home.