Announcement

Gift Giv’er donor campaign

For two years before the pandemic, the Writers’ Federation of Nova Scotia’s signature fundraising event, the Writing Relay/Rumble—a fun writing competition with writers raising money through sponsorships—earned more than $10,000 in support of WFNS programming. That’s a lot of money for a nonprofit charity like us!

Alas, gathering restrictions make staging a 2022 Writing Rumble difficult—so instead we are announcing the fundraiser Gift Giv’er.

Gift Giv'er

Everyone who donates $20 or more to WFNS by Sunday, June 19, will be entered to win one of eleven amazing prizes! A new prize was revealed each week from February 10 to April 21. The value of prizes totals $2,000. See the prizes >>

Donations of any size are welcome and appreciated. Every $20 donated will get your name in the running once. (E.g., a $60 donation will get your name entered three times.) All donors of $10 or more will receive a charitable tax receipt for the full amount of their donation.

Donations will support Writers’ Federation of Nova Scotia programming, including subsidized workshops for writers from marginalized communities (such as Creative Writing for Newcomers), literary awards (such as the Maxine Tynes Nova Scotia Poetry Award), and endowment-funded programs (such as the Elizabeth Venart Prize).

Donate by clicking on the button below or through the e-transfer, phone, or mail options outlined on our Donate page.

Prize draws will take place live during our Annual General Meeting on Monday, June 20, 2022. Prize winners will be responsible for claiming their prizes after the draw.

Prizes

Prize 1:
Lagomorph

Copy of the handmade, limited-edition book Lagomorph, signed by author Alexander MacLeod and Gaspereau Press's Andrew Steeves

Prize 2:
Soji Haworth office chair

Reliable, lumbar-supporting and writing-marathon-supporting chair (valued at $600) donated by Office Interiors

giv'er painting - Qwerty

Prize 3:
Quertybet

Original painting (acrylic on canvas, 20" x 16") by novelist and poet Anna Quon celebrating the "qwerty" keyboard layout

Gift Giv'er Davison headshots

Prize 4:
1-hour portrait session

Session with photographer and writer Nicola Davison, resulting in six retouched images suitable for book jacket, website, and social media

Prize 5:
Crystal Bowl

Collector's item (out of production since the closing of NovaScotian Crystal last year) donated by Carole MacDougall

Prize 6:
Donna Morrissey Bundle

Four novels and memoir Pluck (donated by Penguin Random House) + print donated by Sheila Morrison

Promptly-inspired book bundle

Prize 7:
Promptly-inspired bundle

Six books by Promptly contributors: The Speed of Mercy (Christy Ann Conlin), You Won't Always Be this Sad (Sheree Fitch), I Hope You're Listening (Tom Ryan), Pluck (Donna Morrissey), Murmurations (Annick MacAskill), Anthesis (Sue Goyette)

Collusion Books bundle

Prize 8:
Collusion Books bundle

Six newest chapbooks from Collusion Books, featuring collaborative poetry by 27 poets, including the Yoko’s Dogs collective (Jan Conn, Mary di Michele, Susan Gillis, and Griffin Poetry Prize-winner Jane Munro)

gift giv'er audiobook bundle unbound

Prize 9:
Unbound Bundle

Four audiobooks from the first season of Unbound ("Nova Scotia books read by Nova Scotian actors"): The Leaving (Budge Wilson), We Keep a Light (Evelyn Richardson), The Door of My Heart and Other Poems (Maxine Tynes), Lagomorph (Alexander MacLeod)

gift giver kids bundle

Prize 10:
Young Readers Bundle

Nine Atlantic-authored and -illustrated titles, including 3 picture books (by Riel Nason, Sydney Smith, & Heather Smith) and 6 middle-grade books (by Charis Cotter, Chad Lucas, Jill MacLean, Clare O'Connor, Sherry D. Ramsey, & Wade White)

gift giver quilt

Prize 11:
Star of Bethlehem Quilt

Hand-quilted by WFNS Executive Director Marilyn Smulders, this traditional design is known as the Star of Bethlehem, the Lone Star, or the Mathematical Star. The eight-pointed star motif (symbolic of the sun) is also important in Mi'kmaq culture. Suitable for hanging from a wall or cuddling under on the couch.

Celebrating 30 years of Atlantic Canadian Children’s Literature

More than three decades ago, a Nova Scotia teacher helped lay the groundwork for a thriving children’s literature scene in Atlantic Canada. Alongside Liz and Brian Crocker, Ann Connor Brimer co-founded Canada’s oldest children’s bookstore—Woozles, “A Place For and About Children”—back in 1978.

Then, to encourage writers of children’s books and recognize their excellence, the Ann Connor Brimer Award for Atlantic Canadian Children’s Literature was established. To celebrate the award’s 30th anniversary, Ann’s son Gavin is increasing the prize money to $5,000 a year.

“She wanted to create an award that would keep writers writing,” says Gavin Brimer. “This award really crystalized her vision.”

Ann died in 1988, before the first award was given out. Named in her memory, the inaugural award went to the late Joyce Barkhouse for her book, Pit Pony, in 1991.

“I think what’s notable is that she always encouraged Atlantic Canadian writers—before there was even a community,” said Kathleen Martin, author of six non-fiction books for children. “She thought it was so important to write from this place.”

The award, one of the oldest for children’s literature in Canada, is unique in that it recognizes both books for children, and, in alternate years, books for young adult (YA) readers. The most recent winner of the award is Nova Scotia writer Tom Ryan for the YA thriller Keep This to Yourself.

Providing encouragement to writers is exactly what the award has done. Winners of the award say getting nominated was a major milestone in their careers and foundational to regarding themselves as writers.

For example, Lisa Harrington, who won the award for her book Live to Tell in 2013, distinctly recalls the phone call informing her she was nominated. It was the day she felt confident enough to call herself a writer.

“It was a Friday evening, and I was cleaning the bathroom. I answered the phone in rubber gloves, holding a toilet brush,” she says. “I just couldn’t believe it…. It was like the first time I ever thought, ‘Wow, maybe I can do this. Maybe I can be a writer.'”

Her writing group commemorated the moment by giving her a sequin-bedazzled toilet brush, she adds with a laugh.

Newfoundland writer Kevin Major says the award gave him the confidence to carry on. He too has won the award three times—each time for a book that was initially rejected by publishers.

“It was only perseverance and a personal belief in the merit of what I had written that saw me through to the books finally being accepted for publication,” says Major, who won for Aunt Olga’s Christmas Postcards in 2006, The House of Wooden Santas in 1998, and Eating Between the Lines in 1992. “Then, having these same books judged to be exceptional by juries for the Ann Connor Brimer Award became an absolute cause for celebration. And an injection of confidence to keep challenging myself as a writer and taking my books for young people in new and different directions.”

The Writers’ Federation of Nova Scotia has administered the literary award since 2019. Submissions for the 2022 award recently closed (Nov. 1, 2021). The next winner will be announced during the Atlantic Book Awards Gala on Thursday, June 9, 2022. 

Quotable quotes:

“It is no exaggeration that the Ann Connor Brimer Award played a significant role in the success I’ve enjoyed as a YA author. I began writing in 1988 and, while I published a few short pieces in the following years, it wasn’t until my first novel, Of Things Not Seen, won the Brimer in 1996 that editors became eager to see my work. Receiving the award a second time in 2004 for my novel The First Stone solidified my reputation as an award-winning author, enabling me to publish more than 20 books and numerous shorter pieces. There is, quite simply, no more important award for Atlantic Canadian writers of children’s and young adult literature than the Brimer, and I will always be grateful not only for the acknowledgement that this prize has afforded my work but also for the sense of validation and encouragement it brought me in the early years of my career.”

—Don Aker is a two-time winner of the Ann Connor Brimer Award, for Of Things Not Seen in 1996 and The First Stone in 2004

“Winning this award for my book, The Painting, in 2018 was a milestone in my career. Although my books had received awards before, this was my first Atlantic Canada award and it meant so much to me to have recognition from my peers in the place I have chosen to call home. I felt a sense of acceptance and belonging to a larger community than the one I am part of in Newfoundland, a feeling that I had somehow “arrived,” both professionally and personally, and that my work had resonance for people who live here. Writing is such a solitary and insecure profession, and I have often felt lost in the larger scheme of things across Canada, but this award kindled a warm fire inside me that my work was appreciated and that I was not invisible after all. It inspired me to keep writing even when it’s the hardest thing to do.”

—Charis Cotter is a 2018 winner of the Ann Connor Brimer Award for her book The Painting (Tundra Books)

“Winning the Brimer Award gave me just the boost I needed at a critical point in my writing career and set me on a course to write many more books for young people. It was much appreciated.”

—Prolific writer Lesley Choyce won the Ann Connor Brimer Award for Atlantic Canadian Children’s Literature for Into the Wasteland in 2017, Shoulder to the Sky in 2003, and Good Idea Gone Bad in 1994.

“The Ann Connor Brimer Award does so much to help support and promote works for young people by Atlantic Canadians. As an award that has gained recognition across the country, it strengthens and elevates the Maritime’s voice of children’s literature.”

—Valerie Sherrard won the Ann Connor Brimer Award for Atlantic Canadian Children’s Literature for The Glory Wind in 2011.

“I certainly regard being an Ann Connor Brimer winner among my proudest accomplishments. As an elementary school teacher I read many excellent books to my students by Atlantic Canadian authors and Joyce Barkhouse’s Pit Pony was among them. I acknowledged her 1991 win when I accepted my 2012 award.”

—New Brunswick writer Susan White won the Ann Connor Brimer Award for Atlantic Canadian Literature for The Year Mrs. Montague Cried in 2012. A second book, The Memory Chair, was shortlisted for the award in 2018.

“Encouragement and validation were the words that came to mind after my first two middle-grade novels, The Nine Lives of Travis Keating and The Present Tense of Prinny Murphy, won the Ann Connor Brimer Award in successive years: my best efforts of imagination and craft had been more than rewarded. Somehow I’d stumbled across a path that was taking me places I wanted to go, and despite boots getting stuck in the mud or the path wandering too close to the cliff-edge, the sheer doggedness required to write and revise a novel had also been honoured.
     “When Nix Minus One won the award in 2014, I was, quite simply, delighted because this free verse novel is, of all my books, the one closest to my heart. My warm thanks to Gavin Brimer for his enduring generosity, and my deep gratitude also to all those who work so hard behind the scenes for an award that spurs Atlantic Canadian writers for young people to keep to the solitary, joyful trail of words.”

—Jill MacLean is a three-time winner of the Ann Connor Brimer Award for The Nine Lives of Travis Keating in 2009, The Present Tense of Prinny Murphy in 2010, and Nix Minus One in 2014.

“Writing is often an isolating vocation. Winning the Brimer Award near the beginning of my career made it possible for me to imagine my work was reaching readers and subsequent wins helped me to believe I was doing something worthwhile.”

—Janet McNaughton won the Ann Connor Brimer Award for The Secret Under My Skin in 2001, Make or Break Spring in 1999, and To Dance at the Palais Royal in 1997.

A who’s who of Atlantic Canadian children’s literature:

  • 2021 – Tom Ryan, Keep This to Yourself
  • 2020 – Sheree Fitch, Everybody’s Different on EveryBody Street
  • 2019 – Susan Sinnott, Catching the Light
  • 2018 – Charis Cotter, The Painting
  • 2017 — Lesley Choyce, Into the Wasteland
  • 2016 – Sharon E. McKay, Prison Boy
  • 2015 – Sharon E. McKay, The End of the Line
  • 2014 – Jill MacLean, Nix Minus One
  • 2013 – Lisa Harrington, Live to Tell
  • 2012 – Susan White, The Year Mrs. Montague Cried
  • 2011 – Valerie Sherrard, The Glory Wind
  • 2010 – Jill MacLean, The Present Tense of Prinny Murphy
  • 2009 – Jill MacLean, The Nine Lives of Travis Keating
  • 2008 – K.V. Johansen, Nightwalker
  • 2007 – Budge Wilson, Friendships
  • 2006 – Kevin Major, Aunt Olga’s Christmas Postcards
  • 2005 – Alice Walsh, Pomiuk, Prince of the North
  • 2004 – Don Aker, The First Stone
  • 2003 – Lesley Choyce, Shoulder the Sky
  • 2002 – Francis Wolfe, Where I Live
  • 2001 – Janet McNaughton, The Secret Under My Skin
  • 2000 – David Weale, The True Meaning of Crumbfest
  • 1999 – Janet McNaughton, Make or Break Spring
  • 1998 – Kevin Major, The House of the Wooden Santas
  • 1997 – Janet McNaughton, To Dance at the Palais Royale
  • 1996 – Don Aker, Of Things Not Seen
  • 1995 – Sheree Fitch, Mable Murple
  • 1994 – Lesley Choyce, Good Idea Gone Bad
  • 1993 – Budge Wilson, Oliver’s War
  • 1992 – Kevin Major, Eating Between the Lines
  • 1991 – Joyce Barkhouse, Pit Pony. 

Celebrating 30 years of Atlantic fiction with a $30,000 prize

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Thursday, Sept. 23, 2021

HALIFAX — The Thomas Raddall Atlantic Fiction Award, already the most generous literary award in the Atlantic Region, is now even more so.

During a Zoom event held in celebration of the award’s 30th anniversary, Thomas Raddall III announced the prize money for the winner will go up to $30,000.

To commemorate and celebrate the 30th anniversary of this award, the Raddall family would like to announce tonight that the award, commencing in 2022, will go from $25,000 to $30,000,” said Raddall, speaking from a replica of his grandfather’s writing room in Queen’s County Museum in Liverpool. “We hope it will continue to provide the authors of Atlantic Canada the gift of time and peace of mind.

The award is named for Thomas Head Raddall, a best-selling author and three-time Governor General’s Award winner. Established in 1991 by the author’s son, Thomas Raddall II, and the late Jane Buss at the Writers’ Federation of Nova Scotia, the award was initially funded through Public Lending Right payments—money paid to authors for free public use of their works in libraries. Through the years, the now-retired dentist carefully tended the award endowment with the idea that the prize money could provide authors time to continue writing without financial worry.

Over the past three decades, the support of the Raddall family of Liverpool has nurtured the Atlantic literary scene. Past winners of the award include a who’s who of acclaimed Canadian novelists, including three-time winner Donna Morrissey, Carol Bruneau, David Adams Richards, Wayne Johnston, Bernice Morgan, and the late Alistair MacLeod. During the Zoom event, winners Anne Simpson, Don Hannah, John Steffler, Linda Little, Lisa Moore, and Michael Crummey talked about the award and its impact.

The family has done such a wonderful thing for all of us,” said Anne Simpson, who won the award earlier this year for her novel Speechless (Freehand Books). “It means a lot, not only for the financial support it provides but for the sense that writing is important to the broader culture,” said John Steffler, whose novel The Afterlife of George Cartwright (McClelland & Stewart) was the winner in 1993. “And the sense of community it builds,” added Lisa Moore, 2019 winner for the short story collection Something for Everyone (House of Anansi).

The celebration event was co-sponsored by the Writers’ Federation of Nova Scotia and Dalhousie Libraries. 

The Writers’ Federation of Nova Scotia is currently accepting submissions of books published between Nov. 2, 2020, and Nov. 1, 2021, for four of its annual literary awards: the Thomas Raddall Atlantic Fiction Award, the Evelyn Richardson Non-Fiction Award, J.M. Abraham Atlantic Poetry Award, and Ann Connor Brimer Award for Atlantic Canadian Children’s Literature.

-30-

For more info, please see:
https://writers.ns.ca/programs-awards/atlantic-book-awards/thomas-raddall-atlantic-fiction-award/

Marilyn Smulders
Writers’ Federation of Nova Scotia
director@writers.ns.ca
902-266-7411

Heading photograph of Thomas Head Raddall courtesy of Thomas Head Raddall, Dalhousie University Archives, Halifax, Nova Scotia.

Poetry in Motion update

Our 2021 Poetry in Motion program is in motion! Full steam ahead!

The jury met on July 22 to review the submissions and select 10 poems for publication & public installation this fall. Jury members were Evelyn White and Tiffany Morris, writers whose poems were selected for last year’s project, and Marilyn Smulders, WFNS Executive Director.

The 10 poems chosen will appear inside Metro Transit buses during the months of October and November. They will also be printed on postcards and delivered to 450 Meals on Wheels clients in Halifax, Dartmouth, Sackville, and Bedford for 10 weeks in the fall. The theme for this year is “connection.”

Additional sets of 10 postcards will be available for sale through our website.

Congratulations to the writers whose poems were selected. And thank you to everyone who submitted. What a pleasure it was to read all the poems.

Without further ado, here are the 10 poems selected for the 2021 edition of Poetry in Motion:

  • “Open” by Anna Elmira
  • “Spring 2020” by Brian Bartlett
  • “Blaze” by Carole Glasser Langille
  • “And Yet…” by Christina McRae
  • “Spring Arrival” by Deborah Banks
  • “Roots” by Joanne Bealy
  • “Used Envelopes” by Leanne Schneider
  • “Light & Darkness” by Martha Mutale
  • “One Bite” by Robin Metcalfe
  • “Clematis” by Susan Drain

Many thanks to our partners for Poetry in Motion: Arts Nova Scotia, Halifax Regional Municipality, and Halifax Public Libraries.

Annual General Meeting: Registration & Reports

WFNS’s Annual General Meeting will take place via Zoom webinar on Monday, June 21, 7pm.

It’s been a very busy year for the Writers’ Federation of Nova Scotia. This is your opportunity to meet our board, take a look at the books, and find out about everything we’ve been up during these pandemic times.

Over the past year, we’ve introduced the Maxine Tynes Nova Scotia Poetry Award, new programs like Coffee Chats, and innovative projects and events that test new ways to serve our membership and the general public. This winter, we offered our most ambitious slate of writing workshops ever as well as a wide array of online writers’ panels and readings. We’ll also be announcing a new prize and its associated endowment fund.

WFNS President Lorri Neilsen Glenn will conduct the meeting, which should take approximately 1 hour.

If you have not already registered, click below to receive your link to attend.

Once you have registered, please review the following documents in advance so you can follow along during the meeting.

  • 2021 WFNS AGM Agenda
  • 2020 WFNS AGM Minutes
  • 2021-2022 WFNS Operating Budget
  • 2020-2021 WFNS Financial Statements
  • 2020-2021 WFNS Annual Report

Call for Proposals: Anti-oppression workshop facilitator

This past summer, the Writers’ Federation of Nova Scotia (WFNS) issued a Statement of Solidarity with equity-seeking communities and all people who are engaged in the crucial and difficult work of both confronting and overcoming racism and injustice.

In this context, the WFNS is seeking a facilitator to deliver an anti-oppression training workshop to its members who offer presentations and workshops through WFNS’s Writers In The Schools (WITS) program.

Through WITS, visiting Nova Scotia writers provide presentations, workshops, and readings for students of every grade. The program encourages students’ enjoyment of reading and writing and engages them in the development of literacy skills. WITS is our most public educational outreach program, investing more than one quarter of our resources and much of our organizational energies.

The facilitator would deliver a two-hour interactive workshop in September 2021 to WITS writers via Zoom. This workshop would be repeated two to three times that month, depending on the number of participants and the maximum number for effective sessions, which will be determined in consultation with the facilitator. Approximately 40 to 60 WITS writers are expected to participate.

The facilitator must have experience delivering anti-oppression training and working on equity and diversity and inclusion initiatives. Providing practical advice pertaining to visiting school-aged children is expected.

How to submit a proposal: Please send your CV; a 100- to 150-word description of the type of workshop you propose to deliver; several references; and your proposed rate of pay for workshop development and delivery to Executive Director Marilyn Smulders at director@writers.ns.ca

Proposal deadline: July 30, 2021

New poetry award honours Maxine Tynes

The Writers’ Federation of Nova Scotia (WFNS) is naming its new literary award in honour of the late writer Maxine Tynes.

The Maxine Tynes Nova Scotia Poetry Award will be awarded every other year for the best book of poetry written by a Nova Scotian writer. The inaugural award will be presented this year during the Atlantic Book Awards virtual gala on May 13.

Fundraising for the new award started in 2020, with $1,800 received by an anonymous donor. More than 75 individual WFNS members also contributed to the endowment fund for the award. When Dr. Afua Cooper won the Portia White Prize in November, she named the WFNS her protégé, boosting the fund by $7,000. Additional donations were received from the Delmore “Buddy” Daye Learning Institute and the Nova Scotia Teachers’ Union.

“I am thrilled to be part of the initiative established to recognize Maxine Tynes,” says Dr. Cooper. “This pioneering Nova Scotian poet, over several decades, delighted us with stories of thunder, rain, formidable women, moonshine, windswept shores, Black Africans arriving from the sea, and making life on rocky land and swampy soil, and of sweet love in the afternoon. Maxine Tynes is our own people’s poet, and we celebrate her.”

Maxine was a celebrated poet, teacher, and lifelong resident of Dartmouth, Nova Scotia. A descendant of Black Loyalists, she drew on their rich and enduring heritage in her writing. Her poems explored her Blackness, feminism, and physical disability. Maxine contracted polio as a child, and complications brought on by the disease led to her death in 2011 at the age of 62.

She wrote four books of poetry, all published by Pottersfield Press. Her first, Borrowed Beauty (1987), announced her as a major new talent and received the Milton Acorn People’s Poetry Award, recognizing her as a People’s Poet of Canada. Her later books include Woman Talking Woman (1990) and The Door of My Heart (1993), as well as a collection of poetry for children, Save the World For Me (1991).

Maxine championed the search for Black Nova Scotian identity and community. “We are constantly looking for who we are,” she wrote in Borrowed Beauty. “So many signals have been lost historically and culturally along the way.” She was also known as a beloved English teacher at Cole Harbour High and Auburn Drive High schools, where she worked for a combined 31 years. For excellence in teaching, she received a Canada Medal from the Governor General in 1993.

The new Maxine Tynes Nova Scotia Poetry Award joins the four other literary awards administered by the WFNS, including the $25,000 Thomas Raddall Atlantic Fiction Award, the J.M. Abraham Atlantic Poetry Award, the Evelyn Richardson Non-Fiction Award, and the Ann Connor Brimer Award for Atlantic Canadian Children’s Literature.

Photo of Maxine Tynes by Albert Lee.

Read more: “Maxine Tynes Prize Finalists Reflect on Her Legacy” by Evelyn White in Atlantic Books Today

Help us build the Second-Wave Relief Fund

So we’re all indoors once again — limiting our contact by staying home, waving hello to the computer at Zoom meetings, and planning for a quiet holiday season. COVID-19 and its lockdowns have been bearable for many of us but — as we all know — much more difficult for some of our fellow writers. Publishing dates have been delayed. Part-time jobs have dried up. And money for living expenses is running short.

This Giving Tuesday, the Writers’ Federation of Nova Scotia is asking for help with our Second-Wave Relief Fund — newly established to help writers in precarious financial circumstances with immediate, non-deferrable living expenses, such as utility and phone bills, housing costs, groceries, and fuel. Beginning in January, 2021, the fund will provide applying writers with one-time disbursements of up to $250.

We have set aside some funds in the WFNS budget for this relief program — as well as for an annual assistance fund, which is still in development. We hope, with your donations, we can collectively help as many writers in need as possible. If you feel able at this time, please consider directly supporting our efforts. Whether $100, $50, or $20 — any amount will help, and any gift of $10 or more will qualify you for a charitable tax receipt.

If you are a writer in need of financial assistance, please keep an eye out for the launch of the Second-Wave Relief Fund in early January.

Yours Truly,

Lorri Neilsen Glenn
President
Writers’ Federation of Nova Scotia 

Marilyn Smulders
Executive Director
Writers’ Federation of Nova Scotia

WFNS Statement of Solidarity and Support

This below statement is permanently included in the “About Us” section of our website, where it will be regularly maintained and updated.

The board and staff of the Writers’ Federation of Nova Scotia stand in solidarity with all people seeking justice in the face of anti-Black and anti-Indigenous racism, police brutality, and white supremacy. 

As an organization, we are listening to Black, Indigenous, and other marginalized communities who continue to remind us the crucial and difficult work of both confronting and overcoming racism and injustice is ongoing and requires active engagement.

We grieve every life taken by white supremacy, racism, and police and community violence. We acknowledge that systemic and institutional racism continues to be responsible for the subjugation of Indigenous people, including those in Mi’kma’ki, the traditional and unceded territory of the Mi’kmaq. Systemic and institutional racism has also been responsible for the oppression and destruction of Black communities such as Africville. We acknowledge the writers in these communities whose artistic works and contributions to anti-oppressive practices continue to lay the ground for work to come. 

We understand that literature has long been privileged as the art form of ideology. It is partly through the pen and the press that racist and oppressive ideologies have been systematized, aggressively promoted, normalized, and subtly reinforced. We support literature as a tool for challenging and decentering such ideologies and for organizing communities around better ideals and actions. 

We support those who speak out and engage in action to bring an end to systemic racism and white supremacy. The Writers’ Federation of Nova Scotia has an active role to play in this critical process of creating a more equitable future. To this end, we have outlined some strategies for our organization to undertake now and in the near future. 

Right now, we will 

  • build and strengthen current relationships with Black and Indigenous writers and organizations (such as the Delmore Buddy Daye Learning Institute, and more)
  • amplify the voices of BIPOC authors on our website, through our social media, and in our newsletters
  • continue to recruit writers from diverse communities to join our board of directors, to contribute to our award and program adjudication, and to lead our creative writing workshops and professional development sessions

Moving forward, we will

  • coordinate anti-oppression training opportunities for our staff and board members
  • review and update our policies and protocols to ensure they embody anti-oppressive and anti-racist practices within our organization
  • revise and finalize an inclusion statement for all WFNS programming
  • treat this statement as a working document to be developed and adapted for permanent inclusion on our website (alongside our publicly available mandate, mission statement, and core values) so that we might be held accountable in our commitment to learning more, doing more, and remaining transparent about our actions

The Writers’ Federation of Nova Scotia is committed to being a catalyst for positive change in Nova Scotia’s arts community and the province as a whole, all the while acknowledging we have much to do in that regard. We will listen and we will learn. We will continue to work to amplify and celebrate marginalized voices.

The Writers’ Fed’s new face

I’m Kate Macintosh of Mblem Graphic Design, and I’ve taken over your WFNS blog in order to introduce you to the new face of the Writers’ Fed.

After several iterations and lots of feedback from board members and staff, the WFNS and I have come up with this clean and contemporary negative space logo in three versions:

What’s a negative space logo?

As you can see above, the actual letters are missing from the new WFNS logo. But you can still see them, right? The use of negative space allows the background to create a second image—making something out of the blank page, just like writers do every day. The coloured positive spaces also provide a secondary pleasure of abstract, floating shapes.

This multilayered logo marries the activity of writing with the visual nature of type to create a unique and ingenious mark that celebrates creativity, interpretation, and the search for meaning. It’s a logo with “subtext.” It’s the visual equivalent of critical thinking.

We’re singing the blues…

The blue palette of this new logo is a deliberate nod to the province your Writers’ Federation serves. Nova Scotia is embraced by the ocean, so we’ve started with the province’s official blue and added darker teals and lighter blues to reflect the changing tones of the sea. To us, these variations represent the diversity of Nova Scotia’s many communities and the rich variety of its ecosystems.

Stay tuned!

We’ve got the bug now! Moving onward and upward from this new logo, we will be updating WFNS signage, redesigning Subtext, and launching a brand new WFNS website this spring.

—Kate Macintosh, mblem.ca

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