Past Virtual Book Launches

“Growing Up Elizabeth May” by Sylvia Olsen & Cate May Burton (June 19)

On June 19, from 4pm to 5:15pm Atlantic (noon – 1:15pm Pacific), join the WFNS in celebrating the launch of Growing Up Elizabeth May: The Making of an Activist (Orca Book Publishers) by Sylvia Olsen and Cate May Burton. Joining will be Stephanie Domet, as host, and a special guest!

Before most people had thought about pollution, Elizabeth May was an anti-pollution activist. Before most people had heard about environmentalism, she was an environmentalist. As a young girl, Elizabeth was worried about the health of the planet. She believed it was her job to protect it. “I have to do something” became the principle she lived by.

Growing Up Elizabeth May: The Making of an Activist tells the story of Elizabeth’s life and what motivated her to take action for the environment. Co-written by Elizabeth’s daughter Cate, this book is full of quotes, art, and poetry from young activists as well as tips for making change in your own community. Part biography and part blueprint for activists in the making, this book shows how Elizabeth continues to inspire young people today to stand up for the planet.

Sylvia Olsen is an award-winning author of many books, including young adult novels, first readers, picture books, histories, and personal essays. She also writes about knitting and designs knitting patterns. Sylvia teaches First Nations housing management at Vancouver Island University and works toward creating new housing opportunities on reserves in Canada. Sylvia lives in North Saanich, British Columbia on W_SÁNEC territory.

Cate May Burton is a PhD student in Gender, Race, Sexuality, and Social Justice at the University of British Columbia. She works as a substitute elementary teacher for Burnaby Schools, and she volunteers with the eco-social education non-profit Be The Change Earth Alliance. She received her MA in gender studies from Mount Saint Vincent University. She now lives in Vancouver, BC, on unceded Musqueam land. This is her first book publication.

Stephanie Domet is a writer, editor, and teacher. Her novels Homing and Fallsy Downsies were published by Invisible. She is at work on a third. Her middle-grade readers book Amazing Atlantic Canadian Women, co-written with Penelope Jackson, will be released by Nimbus in fall 2021. She is the co-executive director and co-founder of the AfterWords Literary Festival. She lives on unceded and unsurrendered Mi’kmaki, where she is forever feeding her sourdough starter and sewing a handmade wardrobe.

The event is free and will be held on Zoom. Register below to receive the link to attend.

Are you a WFNS member seeking support for your own virtual book launch?
Check out our free Virtual Launch Support service.

“Maud & Addie” by Maureen Buchanan Jones (June 10)

On June 10, 8pm AST, join the WFNS in celebrating the launch of Maud & Addie (Fitzroy Books) by Maureen Buchanan Jones.

In 1910, two sisters, eleven- and twelve-year-old Maud and Addie, are anticipating their Summer Social in Mahone Bay, Nova Scotia. However, the two girls are swept out to sea as they are rowing home at the day’s end. Adrift in the North Atlantic with only the contents of a picnic hamper and a carriage blanket, they find their way through stormy seas and make landfall on a deserted island. The girls create a world for themselves among the dunes and keep company with birds and sea creatures. The ensuing adventures test their wits and forge a bond that enables them to survive. This is a castaway tale of inventiveness, courage and resilience!

Maureen Buchanan Jones is the Training Director and former Executive Director of Amherst Writers & Artists and leads writing workshops in Amherst, Massachusetts. Her poetry has appeared in Woman in Natural Resources, 13th Moon, Peregrine, North Dakota Quarterly, Letters from Daughters to Fathers, Writer Advice, Equinox, Calyx, and Chrysalis. Her prose has appeared in Every Day Fiction and Orion and on WFCR-NPR. Her poetry book, blessed are the menial chores, is available on her website. Maureen’s novel, Maud & Addie is available for pre-order and will be released May 6, 2021, by Fitzroy Books, an imprint of Regal Publishing House.

This launch event is free and will be held on Zoom. Register below to receive the link to attend.

Please note that this event will be recorded.

Are you a WFNS member seeking support for your own virtual book launch?
Check out our free Virtual Launch Support service.

“Seven-to-Five” by Michael Meagher (May 20)

On May 20, 8pm, join the WFNS in celebrating the launch of Seven-to-Five (Gaspereau Press) by Michael Meagher.

While Michael Meagher’s poems depict the everyday world of the manual labourer—the grunt work of landscaping, roofing and pest control—their true subject is the inner life of the observer. Written in language that’s open and direct, Meagher’s poems connect the disparate people and occurrences of his days into a web of relationships held together by curiosity, persistence and love.

Michael Meagher was born and raised in Ottawa, then spent most of his twenties landscaping, roofing, and manual labouring in British Columbia and Nova Scotia. In 2015, he received a Master’s in Creative Writing from the University of New Brunswick, where one of his stories won the David H. Walker Prize. His writing has appeared in The Antigonish Review, Canadian Literature, CV2, The Fiddlehead, The Malahat Review, PRISM international, Queen’s Quarterly, and The Journey Prize Stories 29. His poetry book, Seven-to-Five, just came out with Gaspereau Press. For the last six years, he was living in Rhode Island, teaching at Nichols College in Massachusetts and raising two kids. He moved back to Halifax a few months ago, where he continues to teach online.

This launch event is free and will be held on Zoom. Register below to receive the link to attend.

Are you a WFNS member seeking support for your own virtual book launch?
Check out our free Virtual Launch Support service.

“From Thistles to Cowpies” by Jill Martin Bouteillier (May 6)

On May 6, 8pm, join the WFNS in celebrating the launch of From Thistles to Cowpies (Crossfield Publishing) by Jill Martin Bouteillier.

A unique blend of biography and memoir, From Thistles to Cowpies, a touching narrative about Canada’s early settlers, is both timely and significant. Bookended by two world wars, the novel follows two families, from the Highlands of Scotland and the windswept dunes of Sable Island, who leave everything they know to embrace the unknown in the vast plains of southern Saskatchewan. With increased interest in DNA tests, the general population is fascinated both with their own and the country’s past. What better way to understand that past than through the experiences of those early arrivals? Jill Martin Bouteillier invites readers to leave the world of instant connection behind and enter the portals of the past through the eyes of those who, like her parents, lived it.

Jill Martin Bouteillier, former consultant-historian for the National Film Board and White Gate Films, published her first book, Return to Sable, in 2015. Her second book, Sable Island in Black and White, a pictorial book of life on Sable Island at the turn of the 20th century (Nimbus 2016), won the 2017 Atlantic Book award for historical non-fiction. Her most recent book From Thistles to Cowpies, (Crossfield Publishing 2020), artfully blends memoir and biography in a touching narrative of two immigrant families who settle in Saskatchewan in the early 20th century. Modern readers enter the portals of the past through the eyes of those who lived it. Before she began writing full time, Jill was an educator on Nova Scotia’s South Shore, serving as the last principal of Lunenburg Academy. She sits on the board of Friends of Sable Island Society as Director of Education.

The event is free and will be held on Zoom. Register below to receive the link to attend.

Registration for this event is closed.

Are you a WFNS member seeking support for your own virtual book launch?
Check out our free Virtual Launch Support service.

Lesley Choyce Double-Launch (Mar 18)

On March 18, 7pm, join the WFNS in celebrating the double-launch of In Praise of Small Mistakes (Ekstasis Editions) & The Trouble With Everything (Pottersfield Press x Brussels Street Studios)—the newest poetry collection and the newest poetry album (in collaboration Doug Barron) by Nova Scotia’s most prolific author, Lesley Choyce.

We learn from our mistakes more often than from our success. This concept sets the stage for an unlikely and engaging examination of the minor and major events of a life. The events are perhaps down to earth, but Choyce comes at them from curious angles and presents his own singular interpretation of what the world offers up to an engaging mind. The geography is home on the coast of Nova Scotia but also on the streets of England, France, Italy, Greece, and Germany. Wandering through these landscapes, Choyce provides a virtual tour of the real and the imagined through the lens of a language equal parts perplexity and awe.

Lesley Choyce is the author of 100 books of literary fiction, poetry, creative nonfiction, and young adult novels. He runs Pottersfield Press and has worked as editor with a wide range of Canadian authors. Choyce has been teaching English and Creative Writing at Dalhousie and other universities for over thirty years. He has won the Dartmouth Book Award, the Atlantic Poetry Prize, and the Ann Connor Brimer Award and has been short-listed for the Governor General’s Award. He surfs year round in the North Atlantic.

The event is free and will be held by Zoom webinar. Register in advance to attend. After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the Zoom webinar.

This event is possible thanks to support from The Writers’ Union of Canada and the Canada Council for the Arts.

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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