The Writers’ Federation of Nova Scotia 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.
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 approximately 600 members, at all career stages, who are engaged in a diverse range of forms, genres, and writing practices.
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, 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.
Mission & Core Values
The mission of the Writers’ Federation of Nova Scotia 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:
- 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.
- We value the practice of writing and the importance of developing our skill and craft as writers.
- We value writing as a profession and a passion. We strive to represent the interests and protect the rights of all writers.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
Statement of Solidarity & Support
Last updated: July 16, 2020
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
What We Do
Behind the scenes, the Writers’ Federation of Nova Scotia represents the interests of writers to a variety of agencies and government departments and lobbies on behalf of the interests of these writers. Our public programming offers a broad range of opportunities for emerging and established writers as well as professional authors.
- Offering the Alistair MacLeod Mentorship Program for writers on the cusp of professional publication
- Administering and managing the Elizabeth Venart Prize for women and writers of other marginalized genders
- Administering and managing five of the fourteen Atlantic Book Awards
- Facilitating writer-to-writer manuscript feedback and advice through the Manuscript Review Program and the Coffee Chats program
- Offer the annual Nova Writes Competition for Unpublished Manuscripts, which provides valuable feedback on all submitted manuscripts once a year
- Administering Writers in the Schools (WITS), a program which brings nearly 100 writers a year to schools in every Nova Scotian county
- Organizing and promoting projects and events that serve writers and readers and that foster literary community
- Organizing and promoting professional development sessions, creative writing workshops, and writer’s panels, which provide compensated instructing and speaking opportunities for professional authors
- Maintaining www.writers.ns.ca as an online resource containing a directory of NS writers and illustrators, event and submission listings, and other creative and professional literary resources
Please note that WFNS staff members are unable to provide the following literary services:
the services of a funding or grants organization
(funding, bursaries, grants to individuals, etc.)
the services of a publisher or press
(manuscript feedback, book promotion, etc.)
the services of a literary agent
(career advice, tour booking, etc.)
the services of an arts lawyer
(contract review, legal advice, etc.)
the services of an editor
(technical editing, ghostwriting, etc.)
You can, however, find comparable services through WFNS programs and those of other arts organizations:
For questions of a legal nature, we recommend the Nova Scotia Artists’ Legal Information Society.
For editing services of a technical nature, we recommend Editors Canada.
The Writers’ Federation of Nova Scotia 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 bi-weekly email newsletter (Subtext) and our comprehensive social media communications strategy (with its regional and national profile-raising channels).
- The official newsletter of the Writers’ Federation of Nova Scotia, Subtext communicates time-sensitive information on WFNS’s programs & awards, projects & events, and workshops, PD sessions, & writers’ panels. 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, & prize-winning. Subtext is emailed to all general members at least once bi-weekly, usually on Thursdays.
- WFNS uses Facebook (@WritersFedofNS), Twitter (@WritersFedofNS), and Instagram (@WritersFedofNS) to promote WFNS programming and share our members’ events. Our Facebook Page (with its concentrated local impact) is primarily leveraged for outreach, while our Twitter account (with more than 3000 followers across Canada’s writing and publishing sectors) helps raise the profile of Nova Scotia writers and writing farther afield.