Staff & Board of Directors

Staff

Marilyn Smulders joined the Writers’ Federation of Nova Scotia as Executive Director in November, 2017. Her other jobs include working as the Communications Director at NSCAD University (Nova Scotia College of Art and Design) and as a reporter and editor at the Halifax Daily News. She has a Bachelor of Journalism from Carleton University in Ottawa, Ontario, and a Bachelor of Fine Art from NSCAD University.

Marilyn Smulders took the reins of WFNS in November of 2017.

“Marilyn brings an impressive mix of skills to the WFNS,” says WFNS President Kim Pittaway. “We were fortunate to have attracted an impressive field of candidates, but only Marilyn brought experience in all three areas of communications, management, and fundraising, as well as a deep knowledge of and passion for the work of Nova Scotia writers.”

“I’m delighted to join the Writers Federation and to work on behalf of this province’s writers, people who play such an essential role in capturing and conveying Nova Scotia’s diverse culture,” says Smulders. “My bookshelves at home are filled with the books of Atlantic Canadian writers, many of whom I had the chance to talk to as arts writer at the Halifax Daily News. I look forward to doing what I can to promote and support their important work, and to support Nova Scotia writers at all stages of their careers in developing their skills and reaching readers.”

Smulders was most recently Director of Communications at NSCAD University and was previously Manager, Communications and Marketing, at Dalhousie University and Arts Editor at the Halifax Daily News. She has been a National Magazine Awards finalist and has won a number of awards from the Canadian Council for the Advancement of Education for communications-related work. She is also a juried member of Craft Nova Scotia and produces original screen-printed fabrics and home decor items under the name Ellemeno Textiles.

Linda Hudson earned an Bachelor of Arts (Honours) in English Literature from Mount Saint Vincent University, a Masters of Arts from Acadia University, and a Masters in Library and Information Studies. She has been employed at several institutions, providing her with diverse experience that helps guide her work for the WFNS. She has been a graduate Research Assistant at Acadia, completed her MLIS practicum at the Halifax Public Library, and was an intern at the Dalhousie Centre for Learning and Teaching. Linda has also assisted in the coordination of a number of events over the years (such as the annual CLT conference), provided literacy training, and currently also works for the Halifax Regional School Board in the Excel program.

Andy Verboom holds a BA (Dalhousie U), an MA (U of Alberta), and the better half of a PhD (Western U) in Literature, with specialties in contemporary poetry, postcolonial and feminist literatures, and critical theory. He has worked extensively as a writing & communications instructor (primarily in arts, engineering, and medical fields), an academic & literary editor, and a print & digital publisher. From 2019 through 2020, he shepherded WFNS through its extensive brand and website redesign process.

Executive Directors (2022 - 2023)

Sean Paul Bedell lives and writes in Dartmouth. His novel, Somewhere There’s Music, is forthcoming from Now or Never Publishing in the Spring of 2022. His poetry and short fiction has appeared in numerous journals and magazines throughout Canada and the United States. Sean has been on the Board of the Writers’ Federation of Nova Scotia since 2019.

Halifax-based Jessica Scott Kerrin is the bestselling author of 16 books, but she didn’t always want to be a writer. She wanted to be an astronaut. Then she had to get glasses in grade two, putting an end to her starry dreams. So she started writing stories, and when she grew up, an astronaut signed her book about rockets. Jessica is still fascinated by outer space, and her latest novel, Clear Skies, takes place during the 1960s Space Race to the Moon. Jessica has mentored many writers, has toured hundreds of schools and libraries across Canada and the United States, and has seen her books translated into six languages.

Alison DeLory is a writer, editor, teacher and business communicator. She’s written news and feature stories, blog posts, personal essays and papers for print publications and web. As an author, she’s published two children’s chapter books and a contemporary adult novel called Making it Home (Nimbus Publishing, 2019) that was short-listed for the Rakuten Kobo Emerging Authors Prize, 2020. She’s taught dozens of writing workshops and courses, been a judge and juror for local and national writing competitions, and currently works in marketing and communications at Dalhousie University.

Carol Shillibeer, a recent Cape Breton arrival, is happily adjusting to life in Mi’kma’ki. She brings with her a long history of work finding funding for individual artists and building administrative tools to help artist-run organizations weather difficult times. As a retired academic, she blends her long-established interests in art and anthropology with investigations into what it means to be a writer in the contemporary world. Personally, her preferences are lodged with abstract surrealism. Carol publishes under a number of names, and has a book coming out in 2022 with Dancing Girl Press under one of her heteronyms.

Lorri Neilsen Glenn is the author and editor of 14 collections of creative nonfiction, scholarly work, and poetry. A former Halifax Poet Laureate (and the first of Métis descent), she is Professor Emerita at Mount Saint Vincent University and a mentor in the University of King’s College MFA program in creative nonfiction. Her poetry and creative nonfiction are widely anthologized. Lorri has worked with writers in all provinces of Canada, as well as in Australia, Chile, Greece and Ireland. She is a freelance editor for authors and publishers and regularly serves on literary juries and committees. Lorri’s most recent book, Following the River: Traces of Red River Women (Wolsak and Wynn, 2017), won the Miramichi Reader’s Best Books of 2018 (Non-Fiction) and was shortlisted for the Evelyn Richardson Non-Fiction Award.

Directors-at-Large (2022 - 2023)

Charlene Carr studied literature at university, attaining both a BA and MA in English, including a study program at Oxford. She attained a degree in Journalism and, after travelling the globe for several years and working an array of mostly writing related jobs, she decided the time had come to focus exclusively on her true love – novel writing. She has independently published nine novels and her first agented novel, Hold My Girl, has sold to HarperCollins Canada, Sourcebooks Landmark (US), Welbeck Publishing (UK), Alma Littera (Lithuania), and is set for adaptation to TV by Blink49 Studios in partnership with Groundswell Productions. She received grants from Arts Nova Scotia and Canada Council for the Arts to write and revise her next novel. She lives in Nova Scotia with her husband and young daughter.

A few years after graduating from Mount Allison University, Robert made Halifax his home, one far away from the tropical sands of his birth. Twenty years later, he’s still here, teaching French to high schoolers, and advocating for equitable education for Black and Indigenous learners, as well as championing both Women’s and LGBTQ+ rights. He’s a lifelong learner, a soccer dad, avid soccer player himself, not to mention being knee-deep in the querying trenches. These days, he’s pretty much up for most challenges—most.

Philip Moscovitch has been a full-time freelance writer for more than 20 years. He works primarily in non-fiction, though he has also published fiction for adults and children as well as poetry and comics. A fermentation enthusiast, he is the author of Adventures in Bubbles and Brine, a book about the culture of fermentation in Nova Scotia and the fascinating characters reviving and re-inventing traditional practices. He writes regularly for Saltscapes, Halifax Magazine, and Halifax Examiner and was a National Magazine Award finalist for a short feature in The Walrus. Philip’s board experience includes a previous stint on the WFNS Board of Directors, as well as a term as chair of the Halifax Public Libraries board.

Whitney Moran is an editor and writer from Nova Scotia, the unceded territory of the Mi’kmaq. She has spent the past decade editing dozens of Nova Scotia authors in her role with Nimbus Publishing and Vagrant Press, where she currently serves as Managing Editor. Whitney works with both new and established writers, editing books for all ages, with a specific focus on adult fiction and children’s picture books. Her editorial projects have won or been nominated for numerous awards and honours, including the Dublin Literary Award, the Marilyn Baillie Children’s Book Award, IBBY White Ravens Selection, the First Nation Communities READ Indigenous Literature Award, the Geoffrey Bilson Award for Historical Fiction for Young People, the ReLit Awards, and multiple Atlantic Book Awards. In 2017 she published her first book, East Coast Crafted, co-authored with Christopher Reynolds. Her first children’s picture book, I Want to Build A Seahouse, illustrated by Josée Bisaillon, will publish in Spring 2023.

Tiffany Morris is a Mi’kmaw/settler writer from Kjipuktuk (Halifax), Nova Scotia. Focusing mainly on speculative fiction and poetry, her work has appeared in Uncanny Magazine, Nightmare Magazine, and Apex Magazine, among others. She has a Master of Arts in English from Acadia University, with a focus on Indigenous speculative literatures and Indigenous Futurisms. She has edited for Apparition Lit Magazine and Eye to the Telescope and is a member of the Writers Federation of Nova Scotia, the Science Fiction Poetry Association, and the Horrors Writers Association. Her debut poetry collection, Elegies of Rotting Stars, is forthcoming from Nictitating Books in 2022.

Amanda Peters (MA, MLIS, MPA, CAPA) is the Director of Policy and Planning with Glooscap First Nation in the Annapolis Valley, NS. Amanda has worked for First Nations government and business for 10 years. She currently sits on the NSCC Board of Governors, the Acadia Entrepreneurship Centre Board of Directors and as a Commissioner for the Nova Scotia Sustainability Economy Commission. In 2016, Amanda decided to follow her passion and completed a Certificate in Creative Writing through the University of Toronto. In 2017, Amanda won the Budge Wilson Short Fiction Award through the Writers’ Federation of Nova Scotia and was accepted to the Alistair MacLeod Mentorship Program, working with Stephanie Domet. In the spring of 2018, she was a finalist for the inaugural national Indigenous Voices Award and received an RBC Aspiring Artist scholarship to attend an eight-day Emerging Writers Intensive at the Banff Centre for Arts and Creativity. She had her first published story in the 2018 Fall edition of The Antigonish Review.

Lindsay Ruck is an author and editor from Dartmouth, Nova Scotia. Her first book, Winds of Change: The Life and Legacy of Calvin W. Ruck, was published in 2014 and was nominated for a Dartmouth Book Award. Lindsay has proudly contributed to a number of collaborative works, including The Nova Scotia Book of Fathers, Nova Scotia Love Stories, and an updated edition of Canadian bestseller The Black Battalion: Canada’s Best-Kept Military Secret. Against the Grain is a biography of former Nova Scotia premier Dr. John Savage and was released in 2019. Lindsay lived in Ottawa for over a decade and studied journalism at Carleton University’s School of Journalism before returning to Halifax to continue her writing career. Like her grandfather, the late Senator Calvin Ruck, Lindsay is a storyteller, and does her best to inspire others through the written word. Amazing Black Atlantic Canadians is Lindsay’s first book for younger readers. Lindsay lives in Dartmouth with her husband and two children.

Margo Wheaton’s debut poetry collection, The Unlit Path Behind the House (McGill-Queen’s University Press), was published in 2016 and received a Canadian Authors’ Association Award. It was also shortlisted for the J.M. Abraham Award, The Gerald Lampert Award, the Fred Cogswell Award, and the Relit Award. Wild Green Light, a collaborative poetry collection co-authored with David Adams Richards, was published in 2021 by Pottersfield Press. Her next full-length collection of poems, Rags of Night in Our Mouths, is forthcoming in 2022 from McGill-Queen’s.

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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 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 who have been writing creatively for less than two years and/or have not yet been published in any form.
  • Emerging writers: those who have been writing creatively for less than five years and/or have some short publications (poems, stories, or essays) in literary magazines, journals, or anthologies.
  • Established writers/authors: those with numerous publications in magazines, journals, or anthologies and/or a full-length book publication.
  • Professional authors: those with two or more full-length book publications.

For “intensive” and “masterclass” workshops, which provide more opportunities for peer-to-peer (that is, 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