Nova Writes Competition winners

Congratulations to the winners of the 2022 Nova Writes Competition for Unpublished Manuscripts! These winners will receive $250 each and be featured in special Author Spotlights over the summer:

  • Budge Wilson Short Fiction Prize: Briony Merritt, “Blackfriars Bridge” | Shortlist: Amy Donovan, Lindsey Harrington, Scott L. Neilson, Andrea Reynolds
    • Citation from judge Ian Colford: “‘Blackfriars Bridge’ carries the reader along on a gripping wave of dramatic urgency. The story—concise, action-packed—is set in London during an unspecified past era, probably during the reign of Queen Victoria. The author works with a light touch, skillfully and unobtrusively weaving period details into this brief tale, which involves a teenage girl being sent to fetch a doctor to attend to a pregnant woman in distress. The girl, a lover of poetry, remains unnamed throughout. She is smart, observant and determined. We experience events through her eyes. We feel the throb of her anxiety and share her deep concern for the stricken woman. The narrative voice is absolutely convincing, the writing evocative and memorable and filled with descriptive nuggets, such as ‘gossip burning on their lips’ and ‘the horse snorted dragon’s breath.’ ‘Blackfriars Bridge’ is a polished and sophisticated piece of writing.”
  • H.R. (Bill) Percy Short Creative Non-Fiction Prize: Monika Dutt, “Foundations” | Shortlist: Elizabeth Collis, Lois Ann Dort, Jessica Marsh, Tiffany Mosher
    • Citation from judge Joanne Gallant: “‘Foundations’ is about the beauty and heaviness of single motherhood. Compelling and filled with grit, Dutt had me at times in tears, and then whooping with delight as she proved to herself—and to all mothers—that we are much stronger than we think. She captured the experience of life as a single mother caring for her son, relying on her determination to keep them both safe, as she tries to make the long drive home. Her car becomes a metaphor for the obstacles of raising a child, and Dutt provides the reader with snapshots of both the joy and the arduous experience of childrearing as a single parent. I was in the hands of a masterful storyteller while reading ‘Foundations.’ Dutt delivers right up until the very end. An exceptionally well-written piece that was heartfelt and satisfying to read.”
  • Joyce Barkhouse Young Adult Fiction Prize: Libby Broadbent, “Seventh Son” | Shortlist: Claire MacDonell, Andrea Reynolds
    • Citation from judge Melanie Mosher: “In this short excerpt, Broadbent has managed to create a believable world with intriguing characters, Runa and Button, twins separated at birth yet connected by magic and spells. Artful writing draws the reader into this world: Broadbent’s word choice and phrasing are spot on for the genre, and the work is captivating, full of wonderful descriptions that conjure vivid images. Good vs evil, greed, power, and love are all at play. A mother’s sacrifice, long lost spells, secret identities, and lurking mysteries entice. […] Already, in this short section, the reader is rooting for Runa and Button. Wanting Runa to overcome her mean Aunt Elinor. Wanting Button to stand up to his father and leave his basement room. Wanting the twins to be reunited and for good to reign. Well done!”
  • Rita Joe Poetry Prize: Jan Fancy Hull, “Moss Meditations” | Shortlist: Cynthia Germain Bazinet, Sophia Godsoe, Teresa Killbride, Louise Piper
    • Citation from judge Margo Wheaton: “‘Moss Meditations’ is a clear, beautifully-crafted seven-part poem and earthy hymn to moss, that ‘daughter of seaweed.’ Part praise poem and part confession, each section in this stirring meditation depicts an acutely personal interaction with the physical world. Asserting that ‘we must kneel to see it,’ the poem’s speaker adopts a stance of reverence in order to study ‘the moss-lined cradle of the forest floor’ and the stream ‘singing its ancient song.’ Clear-eyed and open-hearted, the politics of this poem are insistent, reminding us that we are stewards of a world we ourselves destroy. Elegant and hushed, this poem offers an alternative way to be with the living world and calls us to remember that we walk daily through ‘a kingdom of wonder.'”
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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