Meet the recipients of the 2024 Emerging Writers Prizes

Congratulations to the 2024 recipients of WFNS’s three Emerging Writers Prizes!

Each established between 2021 and 2023, these three prizes support writers as they advance book-length works-in-progress and as they undertake creative writing mentorships and professional training to advance their literary careers.

  • The Charles R. Saunders Prize (valued at $4000) encourages literary creation in speculative fiction and in nonfiction by emerging writers of marginalized backgrounds—in short, writing by someone like Charles R. Saunders at the beginning of his career.
  • The Elizabeth Venart Prize (valued at $1700) recognizes the unique barriers to literary creation faced by women and other marginalized genders—in particular, the lack of time and space imposed by systems of gendered labour and gendered childrearing.
  • The Senator Don Oliver Black Voices Prize (valued at $5000) recognizes the barriers to literary creation and recognition faced by Black and African Nova Scotian writers—who have been and still are marginalized by systemic inequality, including within Canadian publishing.

Theo Feehan-Peters

2024 Charles R. Saunders Prize

Theo Feehan-Peters is a software developer by trade who lives in Windsor, Nova Scotia. After discovering creative writing through game development, he has fallen in love with the craft. Theo grew up in the United States, but Canada has always been his home—particularly Cape Breton, where his parents are from.

Theo's prize-winning submission is an excerpt from his speculative novel-in-progress, Paradise, a loose retelling of the war in Heaven from Lucifer's perspective, set in a cyberpunk dystopia ruled by angels. He is developing this manuscript through a five-month Alistair MacLeod Mentorship with author Tom Ryan.

Janice Sampson

2024 Elizabeth Venart Prize

Janice Sampson attended the University of King's College in Halifax, NS, and has lived her whole life on the beautiful south shore of Nova Scotia. The beach is one of her favourite places. The library is a close second as she loves books, slightly dismayed when a good one ends. She enjoys fiction and non-fiction and reads constantly.

Writing continuously since grade school, Janice has attended many creative writing workshops and joined several wonderful writers' groups. It is only recently that she submitted her stories to share with readers, just deciding she has a story to tell.

She is overjoyed and thrilled to win the Elizabeth Venart Prize. Her youthful aspiration was to be an author; being selected will give her the encouragement to pursue her dream.

Habiba Diallo

2024 Senator Don Oliver Black Voices Prize

Habiba Diallo is the author of #BlackInSchool (University of Regina Press, 2021). She was a finalist in the 2020 Bristol Short Story Prize, the 2019 Writers' Union of Canada Short Prose Competition, and the 2018 London Book Fair Pitch Competition. Habiba is an advocate and activist in support of women's maternal health. The Federal Government of Canada recognized her as an outstanding woman in 2019.

Habiba's prize-winning submission is an excerpt from her debut novel-in-progress, which captures the life of a young woman who must try to forgive to free herself from the burden of loss.

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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