About Us

The Writers’ Federation of Nova Scotia (WFNS) is an arts service organization founded on a collaborative philosophy: writers helping writers. This philosophy informs a complete cycle of development programming and a wide array of professional services that support the craft of writing, the business of being a writer, and the promotion of Nova Scotia writers as integral to the province’s cultural life and creative economy. WFNS has over 700 annual members, at all career stages, who are engaged in a diverse range of forms, genres, and writing practices.

WFNS is based in Kjipuktuk, in Mi’kma’ki, the ancestral and unceded territory of the Mi’kmaq People. This territory is covered by the Treaties of Peace and Friendship, which Mi’kmaq and Wolastoqiyik (Maliseet) Peoples first signed with the British Crown in 1725. The treaties do not deal with surrender of lands and resources but in fact recognize Mi’kmaq and Wolastoqiyik (Maliseet) title and establish the rules for an ongoing relationship between nations.

WFNS was incorporated as a non-profit organization in 1976 and obtained official charitable status in 1990. WFNS now fulfils its province-wide mandate with funds raised from membership dues, program and service fees, and ongoing grant support from the Nova Scotia Department of Communities, Culture, Tourism, and Heritage; the Nova Scotia Department of Education; Arts Nova Scotia; and the Canada Council for the Arts. WFNS also seeks out mutually beneficial partnerships with businesses and other not-for-profit organizations, which help keep programming costs low and membership and workshop fees affordable. See our full list of investors and partners.

Behind the scenes, WFNS represents the interests of writers to a variety of government departments and community organizations, lobbying on behalf of the interests of these writers.

WFNS also delivers public programming that provides a broad range of opportunities for emerging and established writers as well as professional authors. Programming activities include the following:

WFNS staff members are not able to provide the following literary services:You can, however, find comparable services through WFNS programs and those of other arts organizations:
those of a funding or grants organization (funding, bursaries, grants to individuals, etc.)For support in creating literary works, see our creative writing workshops and our Emerging Writers Prizes, as well as granting programs provided by Arts Nova Scotia and Canada Council for the Arts.
those of a publisher, press, or developmental editor (publication, book promotion, 'big picture' manuscript feedback, etc.)For feedback on unpublished writing, see our Manuscript Review Program and Nova Writes Competition.
those of a publicist or literary agent (publicity, author promotion, marketing, tour booking, etc.)For advice on the writing life, see our free public resources and our Coffee Chats program.
those of a contracted editor (sensitivity reading, fact-checking, corrective editing, ghostwriting, etc.)For editing and other services for which you would hire a service provider, see our Service Directory. We also recommend Editors Canada and the Canadian Freelance Guild.
those of an arts lawyer (contract review, legal advice, etc.)For questions of a legal nature, we recommend starting with Legal Info Nova Scotia.

The mission of WFNS is to foster creative writing and the profession of writing in the Province of Nova Scotia; to provide advice and assistance to writers at all stages of their careers; to encourage greater public recognition of writers and their achievements; and to enhance the literary arts in our regional and national culture.

Our staff, board of directors, and membership work to maintain a supportive and vibrant writing community in Nova Scotia according to WFNS’s six core values:

  1. We value the diversity of writers in all regions of Nova Scotia and are inclusive of all backgrounds, abilities, and languages represented in the province. We value all genres of writing and strive to create a welcoming, accessible, and supportive atmosphere for all writers. 
  2. We value the practice of writing and the importance of developing our skill and craft as writers.
  3. We value writing as a profession and a passion. We strive to represent the interests and protect the rights of all writers.
  4. We value community building among writers. We encourage writers to connect to readers, services, and resources. We have an appreciation for writing and a commitment to supporting its role in the life of Nova Scotians. We value the contributions of Nova Scotian writers regionally, nationally and internationally.
  5. We value the inherent skills and resources of our community and, where possible, will use the skills and resources of our membership and community at large. 
  6. We value professionalism and conduct ourselves with a high level of integrity. We are resourceful and creative in how we manage our organization’s operations.

WFNS has three core communications priorities: communications with members, communications on behalf of and in the interests of members, and communications with the diverse markets for Nova Scotia writers and writing. These communications priorities are achieved through a range of approaches, including our weekly email newsletter for members (Subtext) and our comprehensive social media communications strategy (with its regional and national profile-raising channels).

  • Subtext, our official member newsletter, communicates time-sensitive information on WFNS’s programs, events, and workshops. We also note the accomplishments and publications of our members; convey the events, writing groups, & writing retreats offered by the broader Nova Scotia literary community; and list a selection of opportunities for literary employment, publication, & competition. Subtext is emailed to all general members on a weekly schedule.
  • WFNS uses Facebook (@WritersFedofNS)Twitter (@WritersFedofNS), and Instagram (@WritersFedofNS) to promote WFNS programming. Our Facebook Page (with its concentrated local impact) is primarily leveraged for outreach, while our Twitter account (with about 3500 followers across Canada’s writing and publishing sectors) helps raise the profile of Nova Scotia writers and writing farther afield.

The board and staff of the Writers’ Federation of Nova Scotia stand in solidarity with all people seeking justice in the face of anti-Black and anti-Indigenous racism, police brutality, and white supremacy.

As an organization, we are listening to Black, Indigenous, and other marginalized communities, who continue to remind us that the crucial and difficult work of both confronting and overcoming racism and injustice is ongoing and requires active engagement.

We grieve every life taken by white supremacy, racism, and police and community violence. We acknowledge that systemic and institutional racism continues to be responsible for the subjugation of Indigenous people, including those in Mi’kma’ki, the traditional and unceded territory of the Mi’kmaq. Systemic and institutional racism has also been responsible for the oppression and destruction of Black communities such as Africville. We acknowledge the writers in these communities whose artistic works and contributions to anti-oppressive practices continue to lay the ground for work to come.

We understand that literature has long been privileged as the art form of ideology. It is partly through the pen and the press that racist and oppressive ideologies have been systematized, aggressively promoted, normalized, and subtly reinforced. We support literature as a tool for challenging and decentering such ideologies and for organizing communities around better ideals and actions.

We support those who speak out and engage in action to bring an end to systemic racism and white supremacy. The Writers’ Federation of Nova Scotia has an active role to play in this critical process of creating a more equitable future. To this end, we have outlined some strategies for our organization to undertake now and in the near future.

Right now, we will

  • build and strengthen current relationships with Black and Indigenous writers and organizations (such as the Delmore “Buddy” Daye Learning Institute)
  • amplify the voices of BIPOC authors on our website, through our social media, and in our newsletters
  • continue to recruit writers from diverse communities to join our board of directors, to contribute to our award and program adjudication, and to lead our creative writing workshops and professional development sessions

Moving forward, we will

  • coordinate anti-oppression training opportunities for our staff and board members
  • review and update our policies and protocols to ensure they embody anti-oppressive and anti-racist practices within our organization
  • revise and finalize an inclusion statement for all WFNS programming
  • treat this statement as a working document to be developed and adapted for permanent inclusion on our website (alongside our publicly available mandate, mission statement, and core values) so that we might be held accountable in our commitment to learning more, doing more, and remaining transparent about our actions
The Writers’ Federation of Nova Scotia is committed to being a catalyst for positive change in Nova Scotia’s arts community and the province as a whole, all the while acknowledging we have much to do in that regard. We will listen and we will learn. We will continue to work to amplify and celebrate marginalized voices.

Last updated: July 16, 2020

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Recommended Experience Levels

The Writers’ Federation of Nova Scotia (WFNS) recommends that each workshop’s participants share a level or range of writing / publication experience. This is to ensure that each participant gets value from the workshop⁠ and is presented with information, strategies, and skills that suit their current writing priorities.

To this end, the “Recommended experience level” section of each workshop description refers to the following definitions developed by WFNS:

  • New writers: those with no professional publications (yet!) or a few short professional publications (i.e., poems, stories, or essays in literary magazines, journals, anthologies, or chapbooks).
  • Emerging writers: those with numerous professional publications and/or one book-length publication.
  • Established writers/authors: those with two book-length publications or the equivalent in book-length and short publications.
  • Professional authors: those with more than two book-length publications.

For “intensive” and “masterclass” creative writing workshops, which provide more opportunities for participant-to-participant feedback, the recommended experience level should be followed.

For all other workshops, the recommended experience level is just that—a recommendation—and we encourage potential participants to follow their own judgment when registering.

If you’re uncertain of your experience level with regard to any particular workshop, please feel free to contact us at communications@writers.ns.ca