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Storytelling (with shalan joudry)

Apr 6 – 27, 6:30 – 8:30pm >>

In a time when so many of us are working to reclaim our Indigenous methodologies, shalan joudry feels that it’s imperative that we practice oral storytelling and deep listening to oral story. Through this 4-week workshop series, she will work with Indigenous writers, storytellers, poets and other narrative crafters to share about her experiences, tips, tools, and philosophy about storytelling. Shalan will share her background in this art form, why and how she turned to oral storytelling, but also discuss the importance and role of written work. Weaving between conversation and times for activities/exercises, participants are also encouraged to bring paper and a pencil to the sessions.

ABOUT THE INSTRUCTOR:

Shalan is a mother and narrative artist working in many mediums. She is a poet, playwright, podcast producer, oral storyteller and actor, as well as a cultural interpreter. Her first and third books are poetry collections, both with Gaspereau Press, Generations Re-merging (2014) and Waking Ground (2020). She also has a published theatrical play, Elapultiek, through Pottersfield Press (2019). Elapultiek was produced by Two Planks and a Passion Theatre in August 2018 and October 2019. Shalan has shared her poetry, oral storytelling and drum singing with numerous stages, events, schools and organizations for the past decade. Shalan also runs a seasonal cultural retreat centre with her partner, facilitating cultural and ecological professional development workshops. She lives in her home territory of Kespukwitk (southwest Nova Scotia) with her family in their community of L’sitkuk (Bear River First Nation).

Location: Writers’ Federation of Nova Scotia (online with Zoom)

Dates of 4-week workshop: Tuesdays, Apr. 6 + Apr. 13 + Apr. 20 + Apr. 27 (6:30pm to 8:30pm)

Registration for this workshop is open to Indigenous participants only. The workshop is free.

A $10 deposit ($5 for members) is required to register. This deposit will be refunded immediately after the first workshop date. If the deposit poses a barrier to your registration, please contact us at communications@writers.ns.ca so that we can waive your deposit fee.

First Words: Poetry (with Andy Verboom, Lucas Crawford, and Shannon Webb-Campbell)

Apr 1 – May 27, 7 – 9pm >>

As a welcoming space for beginner or emerging writers, First Words: Poetry provides an overview of the craft from several professional perspectives. No prerequisites or pre-existing pieces of writing are necessary for participation in this course.

ABOUT THE INSTRUCTORS:

Andy Verboom is from subrural Nova Scotia and lives in K’jipuktuk (Halifax). He is the publisher of Insomniac Press and Collusion Books, the co-founder of long con magazine, and the author of six poetry chapbooks, most recently DBL (knife fork book, 2020). His poetry has won Frog Hollow’s Chapbook Contest and Descant’s Winston Collins Prize and appeared in several Canadian literary magazines. Andy is also the Communications Officer at the Writers’ Federation of Nova Scotia.

Lucas Crawford is the author of three books of poetry. Sideshow Concessions (Invisible Publishing, 2015), his first book, was awarded the Robert Kroetsch Award for Innovative Poetry. Belated Bris of the Brainsick (Nightwood Editions, 2019), his third book, addresses queer mental health by way of poems about ancestry, food, gender, struggle, and connection. It was awarded the 2020 J.M. Abraham Atlantic Poetry Award. Lucas guest-edited Matrix magazine‘s “Trans Lit” in 2016, during which time he was also the Critic-in-Residence for CWILA.

Shannon Webb-Campbell is a Mi’kmaq-settler poet, writer, and critic. Her books include Still No Word (Breakwater 2015), the recipient of Eagle Canada’s Out in Print Award; I Am A Body of Land (Book*hug 2019); and the forthcoming collection, Lunar Tides (Book*hug 2021). Shannon holds a MFA in Creative Writing from University of British Columbia and a MA in English Literature at Memorial University of Newfoundland and Labrador. She is a doctoral student at the University of New Brunswick and the editor of Visual Arts News Magazine.

Location: Writers’ Federation of Nova Scotia (online with Zoom)

Dates of 9-week workshop:
with Andy Verboom: Thursdays, Apr. 1 + Apr. 8 + Apr. 15 (7:00pm to 9:00pm)
with Lucas Crawford: Thursdays, Apr. 22 + Apr. 29 + May 6 (7:00pm to 9:00pm)
with Shannon Webb-Campbell: Thursdays, May 13 + May 20 + May 27 (7:00pm to 9:00pm)

Price: $279 (incl. 1-year WFNS membership for 2021)

Member Price: $215

Writing YA Mysteries and Thrillers (with Jo Treggiari)

Mar 29 – Apr 19, 7 – 9pm >>

Learn how to craft page-turning mysteries and thrillers for the young adult audience using techniques like plotting backwards, building suspense, giving your characters agency, motives and motivation, utilizing red herrings, plot twists, clues and reveals for maximum impact, and incorporating an emotional or coming-of-age change in your main character’s arc.

ABOUT THE INSTRUCTOR:

Jo Treggiari was born in London, England, and raised in Canada. She spent many years in Oakland, California and New York, where she trained as a boxer, wrote for a punk magazine, and owned a gangster rap/indie rock record label. Her novel Ashes, Ashes, a YA post-apocalyptic adventure published by Scholastic Press, was a multiple award nominee and bestseller. Her acclaimed novella Love You Like Suicide, appeared in the Fierce Ink Press anthology Becoming Fierce: Teen Stories IRL and as a limited edition of the long-running zine Cometbus. Her most recent YA novels are Blood Will Out, a psych-thriller, published by Penguin Teen (2018), and a second thriller, The Grey Sisters, (Penguin Teen 2019) which was a finalist for the Governor General’s Literary award and was shortlisted for an Arthur Ellis award.

Location: Writers’ Federation of Nova Scotia (online with Zoom)

Dates of 4-week workshop: Mondays, Mar. 29 + Apr. 5 + Apr. 12 + Apr. 19 (7:00pm to 9:00pm)

Price: $214 (incl. 1-year WFNS membership for 2021)

Member Price: $149

Who are these people and what is happening to them?: Character and Plot in Short Fiction (with Alexander MacLeod)

Mar 17 – Apr 7, 7 – 9pm >>

Sorry: this creative writing workshop is now full, and we are no longer taking names for its waitlist. 
We recommend registering for the second iteration of this workshop, running from May 4 – May 25.

Character and plot. For many readers and writers, these are the two most important narrative elements in any short story. Some people read and/or write primarily for characters. They feel that a story, at its core, has to be about someone or about a collection of figures. A family saga, for example. Others prefer plot. For them, narrative is what happens, and, in the end, a good story—a mystery for example—is essentially a sequence of unfolding scenes or events. What is a writer to do with this back-and-forth, chicken-and-egg kind of problem? We’ve been talking about it since at least the year 4 (in Horace’s Ars Poetica) and the issue doesn’t seem to be getting much closer to resolution. 

Rather than trying to quiet these tensions, this workshop explores the vital interdependence of plot and character and asks us to think deeply about the way characters are produced and/or revealed by what happens to them. Using some key exercises and working with examples selected from the participants own work, we will try to reflect on the way these two narrative elements can be strategically combined to produce powerful and memorable scenes. We will also try to branch out a bit to see how, especially in short fiction,  good characters and good plotting absolutely require key contributions from the more poetic elements of our writing such as pacing, tone, rhythm, diction, imagery and sentence structure. Who are these people and what is happening to them? What does their story sound like? How does it “go”? These are just a few of the questions we will try to answer in this sequence of workshops.

ABOUT THE INSTRUCTOR:

Alexander MacLeod teaches English, Atlantic Canada Studies, and Creative Writing at Saint Mary’s University. His first book of short stories, Light Lifting, won an Atlantic Book Award and was a finalist for the Scotiabank Giller Prize, the Commonwealth Writers’ Prize and The Frank O’Connor International Short Story Award. The collection was also long-listed for the Andrew Carnegie Medal Award for Excellence in Fiction and was named a “Book of the year” by the American Library Association, the Globe and Mail, The Irish Times, Amazon.ca, and Quill and Quire. In 2019, his story “Lagomorph,” first published in Granta, won the 100th O. Henry Prize, an international award recognizing excellence in short fiction. He lives in Dartmouth.

Location: Writers’ Federation of Nova Scotia (online with Zoom)

Dates of 4-week workshop: Wednesdays, Mar. 17 + Mar. 24 + Mar. 31 + Apr. 7 (7:00pm to 9:00pm)

Price: $214 (incl. 1-year WFNS membership for 2021)

Member Price: $149

Sorting Fact from Fiction: How to Get and Verify Information for your Non-Fiction Work (with Joan Baxter)

Mar 9 – 30, 7 – 9 pm >>

In this age of social media, when it is becoming ever more difficult to sort fact from fanciful fiction, the importance of well-researched non-fiction writing has never been greater. But where and to whom does one go to get facts, what are some of the most important and reliable sources of information for non-fiction writers? Let the treasure hunt begin—with practical activities, shared ideas, tips and experiences, and group discussions about how best to collect, verify and then sort through all that information that goes into a non-fiction book.

ABOUT THE INSTRUCTOR:

Joan Baxter is a Nova Scotian author, journalist, development researcher/writer and anthropologist who divides her time between Canada and Africa. Her 2017 book, The Mill – Fifty Years of Pulp and Protest, won the 2018 Atlantic Book Award for Scholarly Writing, and was shortlisted for three other awards. It also topped the Nova Scotia Chapters Indigo bestseller list for three months. Other books include Dust From Our Eyes (2008), an unblinkered look at Africa; A Serious Pair of Shoes: An African Journal (2001), winner of the Evelyn Richardson Non-Fiction Award; and Graveyard for Dreams: One Woman’s Odyssey in Africa (1994). In addition to hundreds of news reports and features for BBC World Service, her short fiction has also been aired on this worldwide radio service in several languages. She has lived and worked in Mexico, Guatemala, Niger, Cameroon, Burkina Faso, Ghana, Kenya, Mali and Sierra Leone, and is multi-lingual.

Location: Writers’ Federation of Nova Scotia (online with Zoom)

Dates of 4-week workshop: Tuesdays, Mar. 9 + Mar. 16 + Mar. 23 + Mar. 30 (7:00pm to 9:00pm)

Price: $214 (incl. 1-year WFNS membership for 2021)

Member Price: $149

Let’s Create Stories Together (with Theresa Meuse)

Mar 6 – 27, 11am – 12pm >>

This Saturday morning workshop, designed especially for Indigenous children ages 7 to 12, will encourage children to their own stories and get them down on paper. Hour-long sessions held on Zoom will take the form of sharing circles, so children can share stories, brainstorm ideas, talk about inspiration, and get feedback on written work. Participants in the workshop will receive a package of books by Mi’kmaq authors, including L’Nuk: The People by Theresa Meuse, I’m Finding My Talk by Rebecca Thomas, and Wolverine and Little Thunder by Alan Syliboy.

ABOUT THE INSTRUCTOR:

Mi’kmaw author Theresa Meuse was born and raised in the Bear River First Nation community.  In her late twenties, she moved to Halifax and entered Dalhousie University as a mature student. After graduating, she remained in the city and worked for two Mi’kmaw organizations over the next ten years. She then became Chief of her community for a two-year term, which then led her to become a First Nation Educator and Advisor for several years. In 2003, Theresa published her first children’s story book entitled, The Sharing Circle, and had two more since then, L’nu’k and The Gathering. She presently works as a Mi’kmaq Indigenous Student Support Worker in three school here in the Metro area. Theresa enjoys sharing her culture with others and spending her spare time creating crafts.

Location: Writers’ Federation of Nova Scotia (online with Zoom)

Dates of 4-week workshop: Saturdays, Mar. 6 + Mar. 13 + Mar. 20 + Mar. 27 (11:00am to 12:00pm)

Registration for this workshop is open to Indigenous participants only. The workshop is free.

A $10 deposit ($5 for members) is required to register. This deposit will be refunded immediately after the first workshop date. If the deposit poses a barrier to your registration, please contact us at communications@writers.ns.ca so that we can waive your deposit fee.

Writing for Children and Youth (with Sylvia Gunnery)

Mar 2 – 30, 7 – 9pm >>

Develop your unique voice in writing for children and youth in this four-part workshop. Through focused activities and group discussion, you will reflect on all stages of the writing process as you create setting, characters, dialogue, storyline, and structure.  There will be opportunities to share draft writing, chat about books by your favourite authors, and consider how to move successfully toward publication. 

ABOUT THE INSTRUCTOR:

Sylvia Gunnery first took her writing seriously by attending the Banff Centre in 1976 under the instruction of W.O. Mitchell, Alice Munro, and others.  Since then, she has published more than 25 books for teens and younger readers, including her 2017 YA novel Road Signs That Say WestOut of Bounds and Game Face were nominated for the Hackmatack Children’s Choice Award.  She has been honoured with a Prime Minister’s Teaching Award and a Writers’ Federation of Nova Scotia legacy membership.  Sylvia lives at Crescent Beach on the South Shore where she’s writing a YA novel what I know about next.

Location: Writers’ Federation of Nova Scotia (online with Zoom)

Dates of 4-week workshop: Tuesdays, March 2 + March 9 + March 23 + March 30 (7:00pm to 9:00pm)

Price: $214 (incl. 1-year WFNS membership for 2021)

Member Price: $149

Split, Float, Scatter, Trace: poetry workshop (with Anne Simpson)

Feb 24 – March 17, 7 – 9pm >>

We will consider one of four words – split, float, scatter, and trace – in each of the workshop sessions to understand how content and form come together in the making of a poem. We will look at the work of other poets, but we will concentrate first and foremost on the playful writing and shaping of new work. Many years ago, I took art classes with a Syrian artist who gave us a word to think about each week—words like “ancient” and “earth” and “celebration” became fascinating as we made art based on our ideas about these words. 

ABOUT THE INSTRUCTOR:

Anne Simpson’s third novel, Speechless, came out in 2020, as did her book of essays, Experiments in Distant Influence. She has published five books of poetry, most recently, Strange Attractor, and a previous book of essays, The Marram Grass: Poetry and Otherness. Her work of mentoring other writers has taken her to libraries and universities across the country. She lives on an estuary in Antigonish, Nova Scotia, sharing space with ravens, herons, and bald eagles.

Location: Writers’ Federation of Nova Scotia (online with Zoom)

Dates of 4-week workshop: Wednesdays, Feb. 24 + Mar. 3 + Mar. 10 + Mar. 17 (7:00pm to 9:00pm)

Price: $214 (incl. 1-year WFNS membership for 2021)

Member Price: $149

Super Fans: Building an Engaged Social Media Community

PD session | Feb 23, 7 pm >>

When you’ve spent two years with your head in a manuscript, jumping into social media doesn’t always feel like a natural transition. Yet with traditional book coverage at an all-time low, that’s exactly what prospective publishers expect you to do. In this PD session, author and communications specialist Sarah Sawler will give you the tools you need to build an engaged and supportive social community. Learn
  • which platforms are right for you
  • when to post–and when you really, really shouldn’t
  • how to build your digital brand
  • how to find and build a loyal audience
  • how to encourage online dialogue
  • and more!
ABOUT THE PRESENTER

Sarah Sawler is the award-winning author of the regional bestsellers Be Prepared: The Frankie MacDonald Guide to Life, the Weather, and Everything (co-written with Frankie MacDonald), 100 Things You Don’t Know About Atlantic Canada — For Kids, and 100 Things You Don’t Know About Nova Scotia. She’s also the publicist at Conundrum Press and an alumni engagement officer at Dalhousie University.

Location: Writers’ Federation of Nova Scotia (online with Zoom)

Date of professional development session: Tuesday, Feb. 23 (7:00pm)

Price: $85 (incl. 1-year WFNS membership for 2021 + access to all PD sessions in the Taking Care of Business series)

Member Price: $20 (incl. access to all PD sessions in the Taking Care of Business series)

Contemplative Writing: Breathe, Stretch, and Write (with Sheree Fitch)

Feb 22 – Mar 15, 7 – 9pm >>

Sorry: this creative writing workshop is now full!
To join the waitlist, please contact us at communications@writers.ns.ca

With poetry and prose prompts, Sheree will guide participants in first-burst writing activities and in using these activities as a point of departure for new work or works-in-progress. There will also be discussion on writing as a spiritual practice. 

ABOUT THE INSTRUCTOR:

Sheree Fitch’s first two books, Toes in My Nose (1987) and Sleeping Dragons All Around (1989), launched her career as a poet, rhymester, and a “kind of Canadian female Dr. Seuss.” Since then, she has won almost every major award for Canadian children’s literature, including the Vicky Metcalfe Award for a Body of Work Inspirational to Canadian Children. She has more than 25 books to her credit, including her latest book for children, Summer Feet, and a collection of moments, You Won’t Always Be This Sad. Her poem “Because We Love, We Cry,” written after the tragic events in Portapique, NS, has just been published as a keepsake book by Nimbus.

Location: Writers’ Federation of Nova Scotia (online with Zoom)

Dates of 4-week workshop: Mondays, Feb. 22 + Mar. 1 + Mar. 8 + Mar. 15 (7:00pm to 9:00pm)

Price: $214 (incl. 1-year WFNS membership for 2021)

Member Price: $149

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