Introducing Oriana Duinker, incoming Executive Director

A message from Philip Moscovitch, Board President

A few months ago, we learned that Executive Director Marilyn Smulders would be retiring. Marilyn oversaw an extraordinary period in the Fed’s development and leaves behind her an organization on a solid financial footing, with record-high membership, a significantly expanded slate of innovative and accessible programs, and a positive public profile.

We wish Marilyn the best and hope she enjoys her retirement: a new home in Mahone Bay and opportunities to be with her family while also having more time for her own art practice with textiles.

And we are delighted and excited to introduce you to the new WFNS Executive Director, Oriana Duinker. Oriana is no stranger to WFNS, having worked closely with our staff — Marilyn, Andy, and Linda — over the past year, in her capacity as Executive Director of the Hackmatack Children’s Choice Book Award organization (with an office directly upstairs from the Fed). She has even done some volunteer work at Jampolis Cottage, assisting last week with our first Jampolis Creative Writing Day Camp for youth and our first Summer Literary Soirée at the cottage, and she has some great ideas for the place. We are thrilled to have someone with her abilities and background joining us, and I am excited to work with her over the coming year.

But enough from me. I will turn it over to Oriana so she can introduce herself.

A message from Oriana Duinker, incoming Executive Director

Hi, everyone! I’m writing this message from Jampolis Cottage on a cozy, rainy day at the end of a bustling week of the first Jampolis summer day camp. As I reflect on the week I’ve spent in this beautiful setting, I am—in truth—overwhelmed: by the generosity of Neil and Jane through the gift of their summer home, by the creativity of our young campers, by the talents of the many writers I had the pleasure of meeting at our first (but certainly not last) Summer Literary Soirée, and by the knowledge that I am stepping into some very big shoes.

Having had the pleasure of working alongside Marilyn and the WFNS team during my time with Hackmatack, I’ve seen just how much can be accomplished by a small staff with a dedicated executive director. I’m absolutely thrilled to be joining WFNS in this capacity—and so very grateful to Marilyn for both her mentorship and the incredible work she has done for the writing community in our province.

In my work with Hackmatack, and in previous positions in various museums and other arts/culture organizations, I have always been drawn to programs that engage local communities with the arts. I don’t really consider myself a writer, but I’m creative in other ways: I’m a classical musician (French horn), I’m crafty (sewing), and I love to prepare food. Nevertheless, reading and storytelling have long been an integral part of my life, even more so now that I am a parent to two young book-lovers who share my longstanding enthusiasm for whimsical children’s literature.

I’m happiest when I can play a supporting role, working busily behind the scenes to support creators and facilitate opportunities to build community. It’s a cliché, but my door will always be open, and I invite you to drop in, call, or email me whenever you need anything. I look forward to connecting with each of you in the coming months and to supporting your writing however I can.

Starting August 21, Oriana Duinker can be reached at

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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