Atlantic & Nova Scotia Book Awards shortlists

The shortlists for the 2024 Atlantic Book Awards and 2024 Nova Scotia Book Awards were jointly announced on April 15 at Trident Booksellers (Halifax).

The Atlantic Book Awards Society also opened voting on April 15 for its new Readers’ Choice Award, open to any book written by an Atlantic Canadian author or published by an Atlantic Canadian press in 2023. Over 130 titles are on the ballot, with the option to submit more titles before voting closes. Vote on the 2024 Atlantic Readers’ Choice Award

Congratulations to the below authors shortlisted for WFNS’s Atlantic & Nova Scotia Book Awards!

(See the websites of the Atlantic Book Awards, Nova Scotia Book Awards, and Dartmouth Book Awards for Atlantic & Nova Scotia Book Awards shortlists.)

J. M. Abraham Atlantic Poetry Award


Joe Bishop
Indie Rock
(University of Alberta Press)

Matthew Hollett
Optic Nerve
(Brick Books)

Sadie McCarney
Your Therapist Says It’s Magical Thinking
(ECW Press)

Fawn Parker
Soft Inheritance
(Palimpsest Press)

Harry Thurston
(Gaspereau Press)

Ann Connor Brimer Award for Atlantic Canadian Children's Literature


Alma Fullteron
The Journal of Anxious Izzy Parker
(Second Story Press)

Vicki Grant
A Green Velvet Secret
(Tundra Books)

George Paul
Kepmite’taqney Ktapekiaqn / Le chant d’honneur / The Honour Song
(Éditions Bouton d’or Acadie)

Jack Wong
The Words We Share
(Annick Press)

Thomas Raddall Atlantic Fiction Award


Violet Browne
This is the House Luke Built
(Goose Lane Editions)

Charlene Carr
Hold My Girl

Amanda Peters
The Berry Pickers

William Ping
Hollow Bamboo

Michelle Porter
A Grandmother Begins the Story
(Viking Canada)

Evelyn Richardson Non-Fiction Award


Sherri Aikenhead
Mommy Don’t: From Mother to Murderer: The True Story of Penny and Karissa Boudreau
(Nimbus Publishing)

Karen Pinchin
Kings of Their Own Ocean: Tuna, Obsession, and the Future of Our Seas
(Knopf Canada)

Kelly Thompson
Still, I Cannot Save You: A Memoir of Sisterhood, Love, and Letting Go
(McClelland & Stewart)

See the websites of the Atlantic Book Awards, Nova Scotia Book Awards, and Dartmouth Book Awards for other Atlantic & Nova Scotia Book Awards shortlists.

Atlantic & Nova Scotia Book Awards shortlists Read More »

Message on a Bottle finalists

Congratulations to the four finalists in this year’s Message on a Bottle contest!

Katherine Burris (Bible Hill)

Arianna Lehr (Halifax)

Jamie Samson (Halifax)

Darryl Whetter (Belliveau Cove)

The winning entrant will see their short poem or prose piece published on the bottle label of Island Folk Cider House‘s new strawberry-and-banana cider, receive $250 cash from WFNS, and enjoy a six-pack of the new cider courtesy of Island Folk.

The winning entry will be announced next week.

Message on a Bottle finalists Read More »

Author Spotlight: Shannon Webb-Campbell, 2024 Ellemeno Prize recipient

Recipient of the inaugural Ellemeno Visual Literature PrizeShannon Webb-Campbell is of Mi’kmaq and settler heritage. She is a member of Flat Bay First Nation. Her books include Re: Wild Her (Book*hug, forthcoming 2025), Lunar Tides (2022), I Am a Body of Land (2019), and Still No Word (2015), which was the recipient of Egale Canada’s Out in Print Award. Shannon is a PhD candidate at the University of New Brunswick and the editor of Visual Arts News Magazine.

Of Shannon’s winning poem, “Her Eros Restored,” prize jurors Sue MacLeod, Jessica Scott Kerrin, and Carol Shillibeer had this to say:

“‘Her Eros Restored’ loosens a too-tight corset—each of its poetic sections responding to Les Chiffons de La Châtre — Corsets roses [Rags of the Castle — Pink Corsets] (1960) by Gérard Deschamps. It does so by reclaiming small moments of feminine autonomy. From the first section’s ‘catapulting through moonlight… on the equinox’ to the last section’s ‘tangle like root vegetables,’ the poem perceives a world in which a person of mixed heritage, devalued within the dominant culture, can both fly above its restrictions and simultaneously dance with the earth and sea—so that life feels as if a new story is being born—a story of power, energy, love, and authenticity. No mean achievement. This is a thing of beauty.”

Read “Her Eros Restored” below, followed by our interview with Shannon.

Her Eros Restored
after Gérard Deschamps, Les Chiffons de La Châtre – Corsets roses, printemps 1960


on the last day of summer
we catch a Trans-Atlantic flight over midnight
catapulting through moonlight
before a swirling hurricane
makes landfall on the Equinox
we kick up our heels
as the city of light embraces
its second new year



at Le Comptoir Parisen alone
I write long after Anaïs Nin
for a world that does not exist
she was the first of her kind
to pursue pleasure for its own sake
I am now a sultry femme
a visionary sprite
who splits, sips and slurps



we are drinking champagne with the rats
on the steps of the Pantheon
beneath the only star in Paris
you toast to the writers and philosophers
gulping brut out of paper cups
I thank the poets, chemists, and revolutionaries
blood buzzed we tiptoe backwards
walking separately along the Seine



I need to break the glass of Deschamps’
Les Chiffons de La Carte—Corsets roses
smashing the patriarchy I must
set women’s rags and underwear free—
it’s no longer springtime in the 1960s, ladies!
unhinge your brasseries, panties, corsets and girdles
let the old girls breathe and fight back beyond
wives, mothers, child-eaters, witches and whores



you see the house lights
Illuminate Palais Garnier
I am strapped inside the opera house
on a boat ride of toil-and-trouble woes
charting a three sisters’ tragedy
waves of love, lust and revenge
while fancy Parisians take candlelit selfies
you wander alone in the rain



years after the wages of crude men
where I got cornered on slick streets
whose too aggressive tongues
pushed me hard down cobblestone
I became a Paris runaround
wearing my extravagant outfits—
pleather dresses, pleated skirts, fanciful feathers
you restored my best lace



reading e.e cummings’ erotic poems out loud
under covers we tangle like root vegetables
wrapped up in borrowed sheets you read to me
around you and forever: I am hugging the sea
tracing my lips with your wet fingertips
you tell me your only wish
a desire to draw me nude
but you never do

Andy Verboom (WFNS Program Manager): Tell us about your influences, Shannon. In your regular writing practice, how do the works of other artists and writers guide your hand? Do you think your primary literary form—poetry—is particularly attuned to influence from artistic others?

Shannon Webb-Campbell: My regular writing practice spans all kinds of inspirations from other artists and writers. As the editor of Visual Ars News and Muskrat Magazine, I spend a lot of time experiencing, reflecting on, and writing about art. I frequently visit galleries, engage with artists, and have my own visual practice. Art has leaked into my poetic practice. Tuning into other art forms encourages us to think, see, and feel differently. To experience the bends of sorts. As a poet, I draw from artistic others but also from poetry in general. Poetry bends language. Perhaps it encourages us to bend with life, too.

AV: I like this metaphorical knitting of “the bends”—a dramatic bodily disorientation in a rapidly changed environment—with the more common connotations of “bending,” like refraction and flexibility. Do you experience impactful artworks as productive disorientations? Put another way, do artworks need to disorientate us in order to shift our perspectives?

SWC: This is an interesting question, Andy. Part of me feels like, when I am disoriented, I look to art as a way of orienting, but perhaps it’s vice versa. Sometimes I am seeking pleasure, other times intellectual nourishment, but most often, I am interested in new ways of seeing the world, a disruption or shift from my own point of view. Art does this. Poetry also works in this way, too. When they are impactful, I think art and poetry are incredibly rich and productive forms of disorientation, a space where we can detach from our day-to-day thoughts and give our creative minds room to spark. Art and poetry are means to open up new possibilities, different ways of thinking and experience new and old life cycles.

AV: Your artist’s statement for “Her Eros Restored” mentions encountering Deschamps’s Les Chiffons de La Châtre during a research trip to Paris. What were you there to research, and how did that topic lead to you to this artwork at the Centre Pompidou?

SWC: In autumn of 2022, I travelled to Paris to saturate myself in art, architecture, and beauty as part of sketching out my next poetry collection, Re: Wild Her (which is forthcoming with Book*hug in 2025), and I encountered Deschamps’s Les Chiffons de La Châtre at the Centre Pompidou for the second time.

The first time I visited the work was on a solo trip to Paris in 2009, which was after selling most of my belongings, including my clothes, and hosting a small lomography art show, Moving Pictures, at Love, Me Boutique on Dresden Row to help fund my trip. Deschamps’s Les Chiffons de La Châtre left an impression in my mid 20s, but what struck me was how different I felt experiencing the work for a second time, which all these years later still bears the traces of the bodies who wore the rags and discarded women’s underwear. “Her Eros Restored” is a poetic attempt to overthrow the patriarchy, subvert the male gaze, and set these bodies and their discarded under linens and corsets free.

AV: “Her Eros Restored” is included in that fourth, forthcoming poetry collection, Re: Wild Her. As you approach a book-length collection, how do you think about its individual poems? And what does it mean, for you, to further separate a poem into individual parts or sections?

SWC: I initially imagined writing “Her Eros Restored” as a long poem but got distracted. Other poems interrupted the flow of that idea. Initially, I conceived of it as a numerical poem, but that’s evolved recently through the editing process with my fabulous editor, Sandra Ridley. The version of “Her Eros Restored” that won the first-ever Ellemeno Visual Literature Prize has gone through its own rewilding process and will appear slightly altered in the published book.

I think separating the poem into parts or sections lets each stanza exist as its own nesting doll. The space and line breaks are important to give the poetics room to breathe, as well as air out those fleshy pink corsets and panties that have been under Deschamps’s glass since the 1960s.

AV: Is there an echo, then, between the process of composing “Her Eros Restored”—the interruption and return to Deschamps’s work—and the space essential to the poem’s structure? Or am I overcomplicating things?

SWC: Honestly, I don’t think I had the poetic tools to draw upon when I first encountered Les Chiffons de La Châtre. In fact, the only piece of writing I published from my first trip to Paris are two letters included in When The Nights Are Twice As Long: Love Letters of Canadian Poets, an anthology edited by David Esso and Jeanette Lynes (Goose Lane, 2015). The anthology features over 129 love letters by English Canadian poets P.K. Page to F.R. Scott, Leonard Cohen, Louis Riel, Milton Acorn’s letters to his former wife Gwendolyn MacEwen, and Susan Musgrave’s letters to her late husband Stephen Reid.

AV: How does Re: Wild Her fit into the arc of your earlier collections?

SWC: Still No Word (Breakwater 2015), which was the inaugural recipient of Egale Canada’s Out in Print Award, seeks the appearance of the self in others and the recognition of others within the self, and it inhabits the mercurial space between public and private. Edited and introduced by Lee Maracle, I Am a Body of Land (Book*hug 2019), is a complex revisioning of an earlier work exploring poetic responsibility and accountability. Lunar Tides imagines the primordial connections between love, grief and water, structured within the lunar calendar. In a way, Re: Wild Her follows the arc of my earlier books as a poetic extension, but is a text entirely its own.


Author Spotlight: Shannon Webb-Campbell, 2024 Ellemeno Prize recipient Read More »

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.

Meet the recipients of the 2024 Emerging Writers Prizes Read More »

Support the Charles R. Saunders Prize

The Charles R. Saunders Prize is a new prize created by the Writers’ Federation of Nova Scotia, which will be awarded annually starting this fall to an emerging writer working in speculative fiction or nonfiction. The prize includes $1,000 cash along with a spot in WFNS’s annual Alistair MacLeod Mentorship Program (valued at $3,000).

The prize is named in memory of Charles R. Saunders (1946 – 2020), a Black author and journalist and the founder of the “sword and soul” literary genre with his Imaro novels.

“Charles loved encouraging new writers. Many people wrote to him first as fans, and he encouraged them to pursue their own writing. His first career in Canada was teaching at a university, and the love for learning about other people’s writing never left him,” says Jon Tattrie, a friend and colleague of Saunders.

The mentorship aspect to the new prize is important, distinguishing it from other prizes for emerging writers.

“We’ve tried to rig it so that Charles would win every time,” Tattrie says with a laugh, explaining why emerging writers in literary genres as diverse as speculative fiction and non-fiction qualify for the prize.

Born and raised in the US, Saunders lived in Halifax, NS, from 1985 onward. He was an editor and columnist at The Daily News in Halifax, working there until the newspaper closed in 2008. He also wrote novels, non-fiction books with a focus on Black history, screenplays, and radio plays.

Tattrie is part of a group of writers, including Lindsay Ruck, Portia Clark, Sherry Ramsey, Paul Bacon, and Sean Bedell, who brought the idea of a prize in Saunders’s memory to the Writers’ Fed last year. Tattrie, editor of Atlantic Books Today, is working on a biography of Charles Saunders called Sword and Soul to be published by McClelland and Stewart.

“When Charles died alone in 2020 and was buried in an unmarked grave, his friends and fans in Canada and the U.S. were devastated. We decided to team up to secure Charles’s legacy and honour his life,” he explains. “Our hope is that (through the prize) Charles can inspire and teach new generations of writers.”

The endowment for the Charles R. Saunders Prize currently totals $15,802. WFNS’s immediate goal is to raise another $10,000, which will make this fund sustainable and ensure the long-term existence of the cash prize at $1,000 a year.

One of the first people to step up in support of the Saunders Prize was Black journalist Sherri Borden Colley, who has committed to making a $120 donation in Saunders’s memory each year:

Contributing to this award is just one way we as a community can carry on Charles’s legacy and open up opportunities for aspiring Black journalists and writers.

Through his newspaper columns focusing on issues in Black communities, Charles got uncomfortable dialogue going about the true reality of race relations in Nova Scotia. And through those columns, his other writing, and his active involvement with the Black Journalists of Nova Scotia, Charles elevated Black voices and served as a mentor to newer Black journalists and journalism students.

Through this prize, Charles will be remembered and his name will continue to be spoken.

To ensure the Charles R. Saunders Prize is sustainable, the Writers’ Federation seeks to raise money for its endowment. Charitable tax receipts will be issued for all contributions $10 and above.

The Charles R. Saunders Prize is one of three Emerging Writers Prizes offered by WFNS. The other prizes include the Elizabeth Venart Prize, for emerging writers who identify as women and/or as other marginalized genders, and the Senator Don Oliver Black Voices Prize, for emerging writers who identify as Black and/or African Nova Scotian.

The Saunders, Venart, and Oliver prizes are open to writers who have published no more than one book-length literary project. Writers eligible for more than one prize will send in just a single submission package and submission fee. Submissions for 2024 prizes are due Oct 20, 2023.

Support the Charles R. Saunders Prize Read More »

Atlantic Book Awards announces six winners and presents 2023 Atlantic Legacy Award

HALIFAX, NS – Atlantic Canadian authors and publishers were celebrated at the 2023 Atlantic Book Awards Gala on Wednesday, June 7, in Paul O’Regan Hall at Halifax Central Library. The recipients of six awards—including the $30,000 Thomas Raddall Atlantic Fiction Award, one of the largest literary awards in the country—were revealed at the evening gala, which was hosted by author and journalist Lindsay Ruck.

At the top of the night, Dartmouth, NS, author Elaine McCluskey received the Alistair MacLeod Prize for Short Fiction for Rafael Has Pretty Eyes, published by New Brunswick’s Goose Lane Editions. The award was announced by Alistair MacLeod’s son, Alexander, who on Monday night took home a Nova Scotia Book Award for his collection of short stories, Animal Person.

Nicola Davison, also a resident of Dartmouth, won the Ann Connor Brimer Award for Atlantic Canadian Children’s Literature for her moving coming-of-age, young adult novel, Decoding Dot Grey, published by Nimbus Publishing of Halifax. The award was presented by Gavin Brimer, the son of the late Ann Connor Brimer, who was an educator and Atlantic Officer for the Canadian Children’s Book Centre.

A feature of the evening was the presentation of the 2023 Atlantic Legacy Award to the Raddall Family of Liverpool, Nova Scotia. The award was established to honour those who have made a lasting contribution to the development of the literary arts in Atlantic Canada and have provided opportunity and inspiration for those sharing Atlantic Canadian stories through writing and publishing. The late Dr. Thomas Raddall, son of CanLit pioneer and bestselling author Thomas Head Raddall (1903–1994), was instrumental in creating the prestigious and generously funded Thomas Raddall Atlantic Fiction Prize in his father’s honour. Valued at $30,000, “the Raddall” is the largest literary prize in Atlantic Canada and is intended to provide writers “the gift of time and peace of mind.” Three-time Raddall Award recipient Donna Morrissey paid tribute to the family, including Tom Raddall III, who accepted the award on the family’s behalf. The beloved Newfoundland author, who first received the Raddall in 2003 for her novel Downhill Chance, then in 2006 for Sylvanus Now and 2017 for The Fortunate Brother, was also a finalist for the award in 2000 and in 2013. Morrissey, a longtime resident of Halifax, delighted the audience with her trademark humour.

This year’s recipient of the Thomas Raddall Atlantic Fiction Award is Halifax author K. R. Byggdin, for their first novel, Wonder World (Enfield & Wizenty), a refreshing coming-of-age story that challenges stereotypes of rural life. Of the book, the Raddall jury said, “As funny and sassy as it is poignant and observant, Wonder World is a virtuoso exploration of love and hope, a story of building bridges to family and community while staying true to oneself.”

After the announcements of the winners of the J. M. Abraham Atlantic Poetry Award (Nanci Lee, for Hsin, published by Brick Books) and the Atlantic Book Award for Scholarly Writing (Carol Lynne D’Arcangelis, for The Solidarity Encounter: Women, Activism and Creating Non-Colonizing Relations, published by UBC Press) came the presentation of the APMA Best Atlantic-Published Book Award, which goes to an Atlantic Canadian publisher whose book best exemplifies excellence and achievement in publishing. The 2023 award went to New Brunswick’s Goose Lane Editions with The Beaverbrook Art Gallery for Wabanaki Modern / Wabanaki Kiskukewey / Wabanaki Moderne by Emma Hassencahl-Perley and John Leroux. The production values of this timely retrospective truly impressed the jury, who felt it was not only beautiful, but of historic and cultural significance and a crucial contribution to the Canadian identity.

The 2023 Atlantic Book Awards were presented by last year’s award winners, including Michelle Butler Hallet, David Huebert, Chad Lucas, and Alyda Faber, with some authors joining live and in-person and others via video. Attendees also enjoyed listening to excerpts of each of the winning titles, read by representatives of the close-knit literary community, including one of the two new Halifax Youth Poet Laureates, fifteen-year-old Damini Awoyiga. A live stream of the awards show allowed viewers to enjoy the ceremony online; it is available for viewing at

The winners of the 2023 Atlantic Book Awards:

Alistair MacLeod Prize for Short Fiction

Elaine McCluskey, Rafael Has Pretty Eyes (Goose Lane Editions)

Ann Connor Brimer Award for Atlantic Canadian Children’s Literature

Nicola Davison, Decoding Dot Grey (Nimbus Publishing)

APMA Best Atlantic-Published Book

Goose Lane Editions with the Beaverbrook Art Gallery, Wabanaki Modern / Wabanaki Kiskukewey / Wabanaki Moderne by Emma Hassencahl-Perley & John Leroux

Atlantic Book Award for Scholarly Writing

Carol Lynne D’Arcangelis, The Solidarity Encounter: Women, Activism and Creating Non-Colonizing Relations (UBC Press)

J. M. Abraham Atlantic Poetry Award

Nanci Lee, Hsin (Brick Books)

Thomas Raddall Atlantic Fiction Award

K. R. Byggdin, Wonder World (Enfield & Wizenty)

The board of the non-profit Atlantic Book Awards Society is made up of representatives of the Atlantic Canadian book and writing community. The 2023 Atlantic Book Awards and Festival gratefully acknowledges the support of the Canada Book Fund of the Department of Canadian Heritage, Atlantic Books Today, and the Writers’ Federation of Nova Scotia.

– 30 –

Festival Coordinator and Media Contact: Heather Fegan

Atlantic Book Awards announces six winners and presents 2023 Atlantic Legacy Award Read More »

Five Nova Scotian authors win literary awards

DARTMOUTH, NS – Activists Sister Dorothy Moore and El Jones were among the five Nova Scotia writers recognized with Nova Scotia Book Awards at a ceremony held Monday evening at Brightwood Golf and Country Club in Dartmouth. Best-selling author Charlene Carr, who lives in Dartmouth, was the host.

Mi’kmaw Elder Sister Dorothy Moore was presented with the George Borden Writing for Change Award for A Journey of Love and Hope (Nimbus Publishing), a collection of talks, presentations, prayers, and ceremonies by the human rights activist. Named for the late George Borden (1935–2020), the Writing for Change Award is for an outstanding non-fiction book by a Nova Scotian author that inspires others and challenges the status quo.

Poet, professor, and activist El Jones took home the Evelyn Richardson Non-Fiction Award for Abolitionist Intimacies (Fernwood Publishing). In this book, Jones employs both poetry and prose to examine the movement to abolish prisons. From the jury citation: “El Jones packs meaning into every word and phrase, intertwined with unwavering undertones of cultural genocide, Black annihilation, and the institutionalized trauma that continues to smother and suppress a people and their intimate and necessary cultural connections.”

The first award of the evening, the Margaret and John Savage First Book Award (Non-Fiction), went to Yarmouth native Mandy Rennehan for The Blue Collar CEO: My Gutsy Journey from Rookie Contractor to Multi-Millionaire Construction Boss (HarperCollins). The book is the “respectfully uncensored” story of how Rennehan’s business savvy and innovative thinking led her to the top of the male-dominated construction industry before she turned thirty.

Sylvia D. Hamilton won the Maxine Tynes Nova Scotia Poetry Award for her poetry collection Tender (Gaspereau Press). The book chronicles the experiences of Black people, Black women in particular, in their desire to live full, complex, unencumbered lives. According to the jury: “Tender is bursting at the seams with love, compassion, and vulnerability.”

Alexander MacLeod received the Dartmouth Book Award for Fiction for Animal Person (McClelland and Stewart), a short fiction collection exploring love, compromise, and the idea of self. “Lagomorph,” one of eight short stories in this collection, previously won the prestigious O. Henry Award and the Lieutenant Governor of Nova Scotia’s Masterworks Art Award.

This is the second year for the Nova Scotia Book Awards. Until last year, Nova Scotia didn’t have its own provincial literary awards celebration, as all the book awards for Nova Scotia authors were presented as part of the Atlantic Book Awards.

Literary events continue this week, culminating with the Atlantic Book Awards Gala on Wednesday, June 7, at 7:00 p.m. at Paul O’Regan Hall, Halifax Central Library. For tickets, please see

The Nova Scotia Book Awards is a partnership between the Dartmouth Books Awards Committee and the Writers’ Federation of Nova Scotia, with support from the Atlantic Book Awards Society. The Society for the Nova Scotia Book Awards is grateful for generous funding from Nova Scotia Gaming Support4Culture and the University of King’s College.

Here is the full list of winners, in the order presented:

Margaret and John Savage First Book Award (Non-Fiction)

Mandy Rennehan, The Blue Collar CEO (HarperCollins)

Maxine Tynes Nova Scotia Poetry Award

Sylvia D. Hamilton, Tender (Gaspereau Press)


George Borden Writing for Change Award

Elder Sister Dorothy Moore, A Journey of Love and Hope (Nimbus Publishing)


Dartmouth Book Award (Fiction)

Alexander MacLeod, Animal Person (McClelland & Stewart)


Evelyn Richardson Non-Fiction Award

El Jones, Abolitionist Intimacies (Fernwood Publishing)


For more information, contact Lindsay Ruck:; (902) 293-5236

Five Nova Scotian authors win literary awards Read More »

Nova Writes Competition winners

Congratulations to the four prize-winners in the 2023 Nova Writes Competition for Unpublished Manuscripts!

Budge Wilson Short Fiction Prize
Andrea Reynolds
, “Rhythms of Here and Gone”

H.R. (Bill) Percy Short Creative Non-Fiction Prize:
Elizabeth Collis
, “Ties that Bind”

Joyce Barkhouse Writing for Children Prize:
Jennifer Overton
, “Parish Island”

Rita Joe Poetry Prize:
Nicholas Selig
, “In the Twilight House”

Our deep gratitude to the readers and judges of this years’ competition—and congrats also to the remaining finalists: Bradley Ferguson, Jessica Drohan-Burke, Tara G. Harris, and Victor Maddalena (for the Budge Wilson); Mary Dodd, Heather Jenkins, James MacDuff, and Scott Neilson (for the H.R. Percy); Kyle Cormier and William Pitcher (for the Joyce Barkhouse); and Teigen Bond (for the Rita Joe).

The winners in each Nova Writes category will be invited to read from their winning compositions at the Celebration of Emerging Writers—alongside this year’s MacLeod Mentorship graduates—on Tuesday, May 30 (6:30pm), at Café Lara (2347 Agricola St, Halifax).

Nova Writes Competition winners Read More »

Nova Scotia and Atlantic Book Awards shortlists

Congratulations to the 15 authors shortlisted for WFNS-administered Nova Scotia Book Awards and Atlantic Book Awards.

An extra congratulations to Nanci Lee, whose debut full-length collection, Hsin, is shortlisted for both the Maxine Tynes Nova Scotia Poetry Award and the J.M. Abraham Atlantic Poetry Award.

Click on any cover to learn more about the shortlisted title and to purchase it from its publisher.

Nova Scotia Books Awards

The winners of this year’s Nova Scotia Book Awards, which combine three Dartmouth Book Awards and WFNS’s two provincial awards below, will be announced on Monday, June 5 (7pm), at Brightwood Golf & Country Club (Dartmouth). The event will be hosted by author Charlene Carr (Hold My Girl).

Get tickets ($10)

Evelyn Richardson Non-Fiction Award​
2023 Finalists

Kate Beaton, Ducks: Two Years in the Oil Sands (Drawn & Quarterly)

El Jones, Abolitionist Intimacies (Fernwood Publishing)

Toufah Jallow with Kim Pittaway, Toufah: The Woman Who Inspired an African #MeToo Movement (Penguin Random House)

Maxine Tynes Nova Scotia Poetry Award ​
2023 Finalists

Sylvia D. Hamilton, Tender (Gaspereau Press)

Sue Goyette, Monoculture (Gaspereau Press)

Nanci Lee, Hsin (Brick Books)

Atlantic Books Awards

The winners of this year’s six Atlantic Scotia Book Awards, including WFNS’s three regional awards below, will be announced on Wednesday, June 7 (7pm), in Paul O’Regan Hall at Halifax Central Library. This gala event will be hosted by journalist, author, and editor Lindsay Ruck (Amazing Black Atlantic Canadians) and will be livestreamed for free.

Get tickets ($20)

Ann Connor Brimer Award for Atlantic Canadian Children's Literature
2023 Finalists

Nicola Davison, Decoding Dot Grey (Nimbus Publishing)

Vicki Grant, Tell Me When You Feel Something (Penguin Random House Canada)

Jo Treggiari, Heartbreak Homes (Nimbus Publishing)

J.M. Abraham Atlantic Poetry Award​
2023 Finalists

Luke Hathaway, The Affirmations (Biblioasis)

Nanci Lee, Hsin (Brick Books)

Annick MacAskill, Shadow Blight (Gaspereau Press)

Thomas Raddall Atlantic Fiction Award​
2023 Finalists

K. R. Byggdin, Wonder World (Enfield & Wizenty)

Bobbi French, The Good Women of Safe Harbour (HarperCollins Canada)

Lisa Moore, This is How We Love (House of Anansi)

Nova Scotia and Atlantic Book Awards shortlists Read More »

Launch of Island Folk’s Blowing Raspberries

Please enjoy the unveiling of Island Folk Cider House‘s new cider, Blowing Raspberries! This cider takes its name from the poem by Hannah Vincent of Truro, NS, the winner of the Island Folk Micro-Writing Contest.

The Halifax launch was Tuesday, Apr 25 (starting 7pm), at Café Lara (2347 Agricola Street, Halifax). Attendees heard Hannah’s poem (as well as contest entries from six other entrants), read “Blowing Raspberries” from the gorgeous label of its eponymous cider, and sampled the cider’s notes of apple, raspberry, and rose petal. They also had the chance to order the cider from Island Folk Cider House, with next-day delivery offered to most of HRM.

"Blowing Raspberries" by Hannah Vincent, printed on Island Folk label designed by Alison Uhma

A very big thank you to Island Folk’s Jill McPherson, Mike Okell, and Alison Uhma—designer of the label on which “Blowing Raspberries” will appear—for partnering with the Writers’ Federation of Nova Scotia on this contest. Another very big thank you to Café Lara for their partnership in hosting the launch.

And congratulations to Hannah and to the remaining shortlisted writers: Barbara Lounder, Faith Farrell, Jamie Samson, and Sherry D. Ramsey!

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Recommended Experience Levels

The Writers’ Federation of Nova Scotia (WFNS) recommends that participants in any given workshop have similar levels of creative writing and / or publication experience. This ensures that each participant gets value from the workshop⁠ and is presented with information, strategies, and skills that suit their career stage. The “Recommended experience level” section of each workshop description refers to the following definitions used by WFNS.

  • New writers: those with less than two years’ creative writing experience and/or no short-form publications (e.g., short stories, personal essays, or poems in literary magazines, journals, anthologies, or chapbooks).
  • Emerging writers: those with more than two years’ creative writing experience and/or numerous short-form publications.
  • Early-career authors: those with 1 or 2 book-length publications or the equivalent in book-length and short-form publications.
  • Established authors: those with 3 or 4 book-length publications.
  • Professional authors: those with 5 or more book-length publications.

Please keep in mind that each form of creative writing (fiction, nonfiction, poetry, and writing for children and young adults) provides you with a unique set of experiences and skills, so you might consider yourself an ‘established author’ in one form but a ‘new writer’ in another.

For “intensive” and “masterclass” creative writing workshops, which provide more opportunities for peer-to-peer feedback, the recommended experience level should be followed closely.

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