The Writers’ Federation of Nova Scotia (WFNS) is committed to better serving equity-deserving writers by reviewing, revising, and expanding our programs, our communication and outreach practices, and our organizational governance.

In particular, WFNS is striving to reduce and remove barriers to participation for Mi’kmaw and other Indigenous writers, Black and African Nova Scotian writers, 2SLGBTQIA+ writers, and writers with disabilities. We acknowledge that other equity-deserving writers are not included in the above focus areas; we are building the administrative capacity to expand our efforts.

Are you an equity-deserving writer—or an organization that works with equity-deserving writers in Nova Scotia?

You can subscribe for personal email notifications when relevant programming opportunities open for application or registration. WFNS Membership is not required, and you may unsubscribe by replying to any notification email.

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In addition to offering waivers on membership dues, application fees, and submission fees, WFNS offers the following annual programming for equity-deserving writers.

Alistair MacLeod Mentorship Program: WFNS reserves at least two literary mentorships each year for writers from communities that are marginalized on the basis of (dis)ability, ethnicity, gender, or sexuality.

Emerging Writers Prizes: WFNS administers three annual prizes for emerging writers, each of which recognizes barriers to literary creation and supports writers as they advance book-length works-in-progress:

  • The Charles R. Saunders Prize encourages literary creation in speculative fiction and in nonfiction by emerging writers of marginalized backgrounds.
  • The Elizabeth Venart Prize recognizes the unique barriers to literary creation faced by women and other marginalized genders.
  • The Senator Don Oliver Black Voices Prize recognizes the barriers to literary creation and recognition faced by Black and African Nova Scotian writers.

Jampolis Cottage Residency Program: WFNS is committed to growing Jampolis Cottage into a literary residency program that is accessible to writers of all backgrounds, experiences, and abilities. Our renovations in 2023 and 2024 aim to remove all barriers for wheelchair users by 2025. We outline (and invite feedback on) our accessibility efforts on the program page.

In February, 2024, WFNS’s Board of Directors approved the creation of a standing committee on Equity, Diversity, Inclusion, and Accessibility (EDIA).

Populated by Board members, Writers’ Council members, and General members, the EDIA Committee oversees the improvement of programming and of communication and outreach practices to create more equitable opportunities for member and public participation and to eliminate barriers to participation created by discrimination and bias on the basis of (dis)ability, ethnicity, gender, or sexual orientation.

The EDIA Committee also works with the standing Strategy & Policies Committee to ensure WFNS policies are equitable.

To express interest in joining this committee (populated after the WFNS Annual General Meeting each June) or to request its full terms of reference, please contact WFNS’s Executive Director (director@writers.ns.ca).

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 participants in any given workshop have similar levels of creative writing and / or publication experience. This ensures that each participant gets value from the workshop⁠ and is presented with information, strategies, and skills that suit their career stage. The “Recommended experience level” section of each workshop description refers to the following definitions used by WFNS.

  • New writers: those with less than two years’ creative writing experience and/or no short-form publications (e.g., short stories, personal essays, or poems in literary magazines, journals, anthologies, or chapbooks).
  • Emerging writers: those with more than two years’ creative writing experience and/or numerous short-form publications.
  • Early-career authors: those with 1 or 2 book-length publications or the equivalent in book-length and short-form publications.
  • Established authors: those with 3 or 4 book-length publications.
  • Professional authors: those with 5 or more book-length publications.

Please keep in mind that each form of creative writing (fiction, nonfiction, poetry, and writing for children and young adults) provides you with a unique set of experiences and skills, so you might consider yourself an ‘established author’ in one form but a ‘new writer’ in another.

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

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