2024/25 Jampolis Cottage Writers-in-Residence

Congratulations to the recipients of the 2024/25 Sponsored Residencies at Jampolis Cottage and to the participants in the 2024 Oliver-Craig Black Writers’ Retreat at Jampolis Cottage!

Delmore “Buddy” Daye Residency:
Cory Lavender

William & Elizabeth Pope Residency:
Janelle Levesque

Writers’ Federation of Nova Scotia Residency:
K.R. Byggdin

Writers’ Federation of Nova Scotia Residency:
Asher Cookson

Oliver-Craig Black Writers’ Retreat:
Jesse Nervais Natasha Thomas

Learn more about these writers and their residency and retreat projects below.

Cory Lavender

Recipient of the Delmore "Buddy" Daye Residency,
sponsored by the Delmore "Buddy" Daye Learning Institute

Cory Lavender is a poet of African Nova Scotian and European descent living in Mi’kma’ki. His chapbooks are Lawson Roy’s Revelation (Gaspereau Press, 2018) and Ballad of Bernie "Bear" Roy (knife fork book, 2020). His work has appeared in journals such as Grain, Prairie Fire, Riddle Fence, and The Fiddlehead and in Watch Your Head: Writers and Artists Respond to the Climate Crisis (Coach House Press, 2020). A full-length collection of poems, Come One Thing Another, is forthcoming from Gaspereau Press in late 2024.

Cory will be continuing ongoing work on poems and exploring short-form creative nonfiction. As he wraps up his first full-length poetry collection, Cory sees how many more works he needs to write about himself and his family in relation the geography, ecology, culture, and history of Mi’kma’ki (Nova Scotia). In particular, he wants to continue discussing the Lavenders’ negotiation of their African Nova Scotianness and the impact of “passing” as white for some decades. Cory's potential topics range from Black Loyalist John Lavender’s petition for a land grant in the early 1800s, to how the Lavenders have been racially identified in census data through the years, to his uncle’s troublesome Facebook posts shortly after George Floyd’s murder.

Janelle Levesque

Recipient of the William & Elizabeth Pope Residency,
sponsored by the Robert Pope Foundation

Janelle Levesque is a writer currently based in Kjipuktuk. She has been working on her debut poetry chapbook, Salt Lick, as part of WFNS’s 2024 Alistair MacLeod Mentorship Program. Janelle has worn many hats as a tree planter, a farmer, a barista, a photographer, and a sociologist. She is passionate about community, social justice, and mental health, as well as harnessing the potency of the written word in responding creatively to the political and environmental challenges we face in all three areas. Her poems have appeared in 7 Mondays, Open Heart Forgery, and The Ambler.

Janelle will be working on her first full-length collection of poetry, Woolgathering, which explores the many iterations and ineffable feelingscapes of grief—that depersonalizing experience not only occasioned by death but seeping from the pores of time itself. What does it mean to mourn the living—to grieve a symbolic death, such as a loved one with dementia? What does it mean to be widowed to oneself; to inhabit a body that refuses to house you? These are a few of the questions Woolgathering seeks to confront. Personifying and metaphorizing concepts such as time, memory, and grief, assembling tiny alters, and orbiting moment-sized burial plots, this collection is an elegy for each passing moment.

K.R. Byggdin

Recipient of a Writers' Federation of Nova Scotia Residency

K.R. Byggdin is the author of Wonder World (Enfield & Wizenty, 2022), a ReLit Award finalist and winner of the Thomas Raddall Atlantic Fiction Award. Their writing has also appeared in anthologies and journals across Canada, the UK, and New Zealand. Born and raised on the Prairies, they currently divide their time between Halifax and Toronto as an MFA candidate at the University of Guelph.

K.R. will be working on a new book-length fiction manuscript. This novel centres on a long-term couple in their thirties and explores the act of queer family making within the intersections of nonbinary identity, polyamory, infertility, and grief. It is set primarily in contemporary Halifax and Yarmouth.

Asher Cookson

Recipient of a Writers' Federation of Nova Scotia Residency

Asher Cookson is a writer born and living in Kjipuktuk/Halifax. He is currently in his final year of his BA in Creative Writing and English at the University of King’s College. Asher’s work focuses on confessional and experimental poetry exploring the queer experience, as well as environmental horror and the traditional gothic.

Asher will be working on their debut poetry collection, which will centre on the fear of decay and the horror of Earth reclaiming itself. This eco-gothic collection will be research-driven, exploring the worst-case scenarios of the climate crisis and imagining a post-anthropocene world from the perspective of the Earth itself. Its poems will depict both small- and large-scale horror, examining eco-horror on an individual and global level.

Jesse Nervais

Participant in the Oliver-Craig Black Writers' Retreat,
sponsored by Senator Don Oliver and the Craig Foundation

Photo description: Jesse holding Pride & Joy, by Kate Lum and Dr. Frank J. Sileo, at Blockshop Books, Lunenburg, 2023

Jesse Nervais is a motivational speaker, mentor, and writer currently based in Halifax. In 2021, he founded Dreadlocks & Kindness, an organization that seeks to empower others through inclusive, focused education, fundraising, and mentorship. From Rainbow Bagels to Rubik’s Cubes, Jesse has led several community collaborations throughout Atlantic Canada, tackling themes of self-love, anti-racism, mental health, and allyship. Known for his innovative style, passion, and unique approaches to problem solving, he is an active advocate for the diversity, inclusion, and wellness of others in life and on the page. Jesse is an alumnus of the University of Lethbridge and relocated to Nova Scotia in 2015.

Under the guidance of distinguished mentor Evelyn C. White, Jesse will be working on two projects: Happy, a YA novel-in-verse that follows two queer characters' grade-twelve experiences as they navigate coming-out journeys, learn to manage mental health, and transition into their authentic selves; and Ava in Wonderland, a theatrical reimagining of Lewis Carroll's Alice In Wonderland through the lenses of an African Nova Scotian, 2SLGBTQ+, and Indigenous experience that is being written in collaboration with award-winning Indigenous and Black Scotian artist SAMQWAN.

Natasha Thomas

Participant in the Oliver-Craig Black Writers' Retreat,
sponsored by Senator Don Oliver and the Craig Foundation

Natasha Thomas is an African Nova Scotian of more than 10 generations' ascent and the Artistic Director of Beyond Imagination Puppet Crew. She also volunteers with Dartmouth Players Theatre Company as an Assistant Stage Manager. Natasha was the 2023 Chrysalis Director for Neptune Theatre's production of Billy Elliot; was commissioned by Eastern Front Theatre in 2021 to create the micro digital short film The Eyes of Nature; and was the 2020 artist-in-residence for Shipwright Theatre Company, where she developed the script In The Eyes of The Fire. A graduate of Nova Scotia Community College's Music Arts Program, Natasha combined her love of puppetry, music, and scriptwriting to curate the puppet cantata Freedom Runs, which has been live-streamed and viewed over 1,500 times on the Halifax Public Libraries website.

Under the guidance of distinguished mentor Evelyn C. White, Natasha will be working on the sequel to Freedom Runs, which depicts the hardships of those escaping chattel slavery through the Underground Railroad to Canada, particularly Nova Scotia. Created with the backing of the Playwrights Atlantic Resource Centre (PARC), Freedom Runs 2 addresses what happened after arrival in Nova Scotia. Narrated by a grandmother and grandson, this puppet cantata incorporates vignettes of actual people and their heartaches and struggles as they find Canada not as free as they imagined.

2024/25 Jampolis Cottage Writers-in-Residence Read More »

Meet the 2024 MacLeod Mentorship participants

WFNS is pleased to announce the 10 writers participating in the 2024 Alistair MacLeod Mentorship Program as apprentices and mentors:


Theo Feehan-Peters (recipient of the Charles R. Saunders Prize) 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 Saunders 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.

Theo’s mentor is Tom Ryan, the author of several books, including the multiple award winning YA mystery Keep This to Yourself. His adult mystery debut The Treasure Hunters Club (Simon & Schuster) will be released in October, 2024.


Dana Mount teaches English and Environmental Studies at Cape Breton University. Her novel-in-progress follows a university student who accidentally gets a summer job in an animal research lab.

Dana’s mentor is Chris Benjamin, the author of five books, including his most recent hitchhiking memoir, Chasing Paradise: A hitchhiker’s search for home in a world at war with itself. His short-story collection, Boy With A Problem, was shortlisted for the Alistair MacLeod Prize for Short Fiction; his novel Drive-by Saviours was longlisted for Canada Reads.


Storme Arden is a painter and photographer working on a memoir chronicling recent adventures with celiac disease, incurable cancer, and a PTSD-producing ICU experience with the rare virus, Guillain-Barré.

Storme’s mentor is Donna Morrissey, originally from The Beaches in Newfoundland. She studied at Memorial University in St. John’s and lived in various parts of Canada before settling down in Halifax, where she now lives. She has written 7 best selling novels and has received awards in Canada, the US, and England.


Forty years after leaving England, Elizabeth Jeha returned to her homeland from Halifax to help her elderly parents and found herself sharing the last year of their lives with their extraordinary caregiver. Her memoir project, Care For Me, is an exploration of how we care for our elderly and their caregivers, identity, and the restorative power of place when memory is reunited with the land which formed it.

Elizabeth’s mentor is Sandra Phinney, a prolific feature writer; the author of four nonfiction books; and a teacher of several online writing courses and in-person workshops. In her spare time, she paddles in the wilderness.


Janelle Levesque is an emerging poet based in Halifax. Her work explores themes of love, loss, and liminality, capturing the immediacy of life through the intimacy of language. Her poems have been published in 7 Mondays and Open Heart Forgery. She is currently working on her first poetry chapbook.

Janelle’s mentor is Alice Burdick, who lives in Mahone Bay, Nova Scotia. She is a cookbook editor, and a poet. Her most recent book is The East Coast Christmas Cookbook (Formac Publishing), and she has new book of poetry forthcoming in 2024.

Meet the 2024 MacLeod Mentorship participants 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 »

BMO supports Black Voices Prize

The Honorable Don Oliver (right) receives BMO’s investment in the Black Voices Prize from Marc Champoux (left), Regional President of BMO. (Photo courtesy of Nicola Davison)


HALIFAX, May 26, 2023 – BMO is investing $100,000 in the Senator Don Oliver Black Voices Prize, to support a new $5,000 annual prize to be awarded to emerging Black Nova Scotian writers. The prize will be administered by the Writers’ Federation of Nova Scotia.

The Senator Don Oliver Black Voices Prize will support and encourage the creation of literary work by Black writers from Atlantic Canada whose writing shows promise and career-advancing merit. The prize will amplify the voices of Black writers who are historically marginalized by systemic inequality, including within the publishing world.

“I wanted to create something that could be an incentive to those Black writers who have the potential and talent to rank among tomorrow’s leading writers,” says Senator Oliver, who has also contributed personally to the prize endowment. “It is my hope that the prize will encourage young Black writers to find their voices and share their stories with the world.”

In creating the prize, Senator Oliver wanted the prize money to be substantial. The $5,000 prize money will finance the time, space, and professional development required to write, revise and edit, and/or submit work for publication.

“BMO is proud to join Senator Oliver, an author himself and an inspiration to so many of us in Atlantic Canada, in supporting a prize so-well aligned with our bank’s Purpose, to Boldly Grow the Good in business and life”, said Marc Champoux, Regional President, BMO Private Wealth, Atlantic. “This is all about expanding access to opportunity and progress for Black writers, while lifting up valuable and unique contributions to Atlantic Canada’s rich literary culture.”

Applications for the inaugural prize will be accepted through the Writers’ Federation of Nova Scotia website and awarded by the end of the year.


The Senator Don Oliver Black Voices Prize was officially launched on Friday, May 26, at BMO Financial Group’s Atlantic Regional Headquarters (Nova Centre, Halifax). (Photos courtesy of Nicola Davison.)

Throughout his life, The Honorable Dr. Don Oliver, CM, ONS, KC, has been a tireless spokesman for diversity, pluralism, fairness, and equality, for which he was awarded five honorary doctorate degrees from Canadian universities. Now retired, he has been many things during his career including successful businessman, lawyer, professor of law, farmer, and Senator. The first Black man appointed to the Senate of Canada, he served with distinction from 1990 to 2013. He resides at his beloved farm in Pleasant River, Queens Co., NS, reading, writing and meeting with friends. His memoir, A Matter of Equality: The Life’s Work of Senator Don Oliver, was published in 2021 by Nimbus Publishing.

BMO Financial Group is the eighth largest bank in North America by assets, with total assets of $1.15 trillion as of January 31, 2023. Serving customers for 200 years and counting, BMO is a diverse team of highly engaged employees providing a broad range of personal and commercial banking, wealth management, global markets and investment banking products and services to 12 million customers across Canada, the United States, and in select markets globally. Driven by a single purpose, to Boldly Grow the Good in business and life, BMO is committed to driving positive change in the world, and making progress for a thriving economy, sustainable future and more inclusive society.

The Writers’ Federation of Nova Scotia is a nonprofit charity founded on the collaborative philosophy of “writers helping writers.” The WFNS has an annual membership of 700 writers at all career stages, who are engaged in a diverse range of forms, genres, and writing practices.


For more information, please contact:

Marilyn Smulders, Executive Director, Writers’ Federation of Nova Scotia, 902-423-8116,

Hannah Webster, BMO Media Relations, 416-881-9532,

BMO supports Black Voices Prize Read More »

2023/24 Jampolis Writers-in-Residence

Congratulations to the recipients of 2023-2024 Sponsored Residencies at Jampolis Cottage!

Nova Scotia Indigenous Writer’s Residency:
Andrea Currie

RBC Emerging Artists Residency:
Dea Toivonen

William & Elizabeth Pope Residency:
Michael Goodfellow

Writers’ Federation of Nova Scotia Residency:
Barbara Lounder

Writers’ Federation of Nova Scotia Residency:
Tegan Zimmerman

To learn more about these writers in residence and their exciting residency projects, see their full profiles.

This fall, we’ll be adding a sixth name to the list: The Delmore “Buddy” Daye Residency for a Black and/or African Nova Scotian writer, sponsored by the Delmore “Buddy” Daye Learning Institute, remains open for applications until Saturday, Sept 2. The successful applicant will undertake their residency between Jan 21, 2024, and March 30, 2024. Details

Our deep thanks to the 2023-2024 Sponsored Residency and Retreat peer assessment jurors: Sylvia Gunnery, Amanda Peters, and Wanda Taylor!

2023/24 Jampolis Writers-in-Residence Read More »

Program Reveal

We warmly invited all WFNS members and the general public to join us on Zoom on Tuesday, Jan 31 (7pm), for the reveal of an entirely new program: the Jampolis Cottage Residency Program!

A year and a half in the making, the Jampolis Cottage Residency Program represents the permanent expansion of WFNS’s in-person activities beyond Halifax, a huge investment in emerging and established Nova Scotian writers, and a breadth of new opportunities for literary community-building and events.

The program reveal, emceed by WFNS President Sean Bedell, featured contributions from Jampolis Trust trustee Lisa Harries Schumann and from WFNS staff and board committee members.

Program Reveal Read More »

Meet your 2023 MacLeod Mentorship participants

Thank you to everyone who applied to this year’s Alistair MacLeod Mentorship Program! The jury (Jon Tattrie, Robert de la Chevotiere, and Carole Langille) had a difficult job, with more than 50 applications to consider for six spots.

In 2022, the Writers’ Federation of Nova Scotia (WFNS) celebrated the 20th year of the Alistair MacLeod Mentorship Program and the many writers who have benefited by the program. The 21st cohort of the program will gather for our annual Celebration of Emerging Writers on Tuesday, May 30 (starting 6pm) at Hopyard (2103 Gottingen Street, Halifax). In recent years, this celebration has given us a preview of books that went on to be published, including Wonder World by KR Byggdin, Somewhere There’s Music by Sean Paul Bedell, and In the Wake by Nicola Davison.

To those writers who weren’t accepted this year, please keep on writing! WFNS developed a new “intensive” creative writing workshop this fall—combining craft work, peer feedback, and revision—that may help you on the journey. We will offer “intensives” in children’s writing, fiction, nonfiction, and poetry this coming winter and spring. (If registration fees pose a barrier, please get in touch with Andy at to discuss fee alternatives.)

Without further ado, WFNS is pleased to announce the 12 writers who will be participating in the 2023 MacLeod Mentorships as apprentice writers and mentors:


Nadia Aumeerally is a general pediatrician and the mother of three spectacular kids. Her favourite hobbies are reading, exercising, cooking and sewing.

Nadia is working on a fictional story told from the perspective of three different mothers, whose paths cross at crucial moments in their lives. It explores subjects such as racism, domestic violence, emotional abuse, infertility, and the failings of our foster care system.

Nadia’s mentor is Anne Simpson, a poet, novelist and essayist. Anne was the recipient of the Griffin Poetry Prize for her collection Loop (McClelland & Stewart, 2003) and of the Thomas Raddall Atlantic Fiction Award for her novel Speechless (Freehand Books, 2020).


Michelle Samson is a marketer, economic developer, and former broadcast journalist from Cape Breton Island. In 2021, she quit her job in Ontario and moved back to her family’s ancestral homestead on the island’s southeast coast to write a historical fiction novel, based on the homestead, about how and why 10 generations of an Acadian family held on to a modest house for 250 years.

Michelle’s mentor is Carol Bruneau, an award-winning author of several novels and short story collections. Her most recent novel is Brighten the Corner Where You Are, a fictional re-imagining of the life of renowned folk artist Maud Lewis.


J.P. Smith lives in Dartmouth, Nova Scotia. He enjoys writing and motorcycling, as well as hiking and camping with his family and the family dog. His 225-page manuscript is a work of fiction, which takes place in the near future, and engages pressing issues including societal upheaval and climate fears.

J.P. has been paired with mentor Darryl Whetter. A writer, professor and journalist, Darryl is the author of four books of fiction including the 2020 climate-crisis novel Our Sands (Penguin Random House, 2021).


Monika Dutt and her son have made Unama’ki/Cape Breton home for the past 10 years. She works in public health and primary care, and is involved with labour justice and anti-racism organizing. Monika is working on a creative nonfiction manuscript that spans experiences as a public health physician during the COVID-19 pandemic.

AnnMarie MacKinnon, who also lives in Cape Breton, will mentor Monika. The publisher of Geist from 2017 to 2021, she is an editor, writer and instructor.


Hollis Holden is a queer trans man who grew up reading mythology books and wishing he could talk to trees. He lives in Halifax with his partner and a lot of house plants, none of which he’s trained to speak. Hollis is currently working on a collection of poetry exploring the balance of grief and hope that comes with transition.

Serving as mentor for Hollis is Annick MacAskill, the author of the poetry collections Shadow Blight (Gaspereau Press), winner of the 2022 Governor General’s Literary Award for English Language Poetry; Murmurations (Gaspereau, 2020); and No Meeting Without Body (Gaspereau Press, 2018). Her poems have appeared in journals across Canada and abroad.


Andrea Hubley is a poet, knitter, mycophile, and a member of the Tufts Cove Writers’ Collective. She lives in Dartmouth with her husband and daughters. Andrea is working on a poetry manuscript that explores family relationships, and reflecting on what once was, or could have been.

Working with Andrea as mentor is poet Margo Wheaton. Her poetry collections include The Unlit Path Behind the House (McGill-Queen’s University Press, 2016), winner of the Canadian Authors’ Association’s Fred Kerner Award for best book of the year; Wild Green Light (Pottersfield, 2021), with David Adams Richards; and Rags of Night in Our Mouths (McGill-Queen’s UP, 2022).


The Writers’ Federation of Nova Scotia (WFNS) acknowledges the Canada Council for the Arts for its ongoing investment in the Alistair MacLeod Mentorship Program, which allows WFNS to pay mentors for their expertise and guidance while allowing apprentice writers to participate for free.

Meet your 2023 MacLeod Mentorship participants Read More »

Meet your 2022 Mentorship Program participants

Congratulations to the four apprentice writers selected for this year’s Alistair MacLeod Mentorship Program, and thank you to each of the authors who will mentor them!


M.V. Feehan (apprentice) has published work in Canadian, American, and European journals. She was the 2018 recipient of WFNS’s Budge Wilson Short Fiction Prize. In recent years, she received the Hedy Zimra scholarship from Frequency Writers of Rhode Island as well as the fiction award from Elizabeth Bishop’s Centenarian Festival. She spent years as a reader and editor for Room Magazine. She completed her Masters of Philosophy in Creative Writing at Trinity College Dublin in May of 2021 and currently resides on Cape Breton Island with her husband and son.

Chris Benjamin (mentor) is the author of four award-winning books. His most recent is Boy With A Problem, which was shortlisted for the Alistair MacLeod Prize for Short Fiction. He is also a freelance features writer and magazine editor.


Susan LeBlanc (apprentice) grew up mostly in Halifax, though spent grade four moving between three provinces and attended half of high school in Toronto. She has a BA in English from the University of King’s College/Dalhousie University and a journalism degree from King’s. She studied French for a year at Laval University, where she wished for warmer boots. She worked in Halifax as a newspaper and magazine journalist for twenty years, sharing in two Atlantic Journalism Awards with Chronicle-Herald colleagues. She has edited a few nonfiction manuscripts for a regional publisher and, for six years, worked as a writing/reporting tutor at the King’s School of Journalism. She then enrolled in fiction workshops and classes and learned it’s okay to make things up. She was shortlisted for the 2018 Budge Wilson Short Story Prize. She lives in Dartmouth with her family and her cat.

Becca Babcock (mentor) grew up in Alberta, but since 2005, she’s lived just outside of Halifax with her husband Trent, and now with their almost-five-year-old son, Thorin. Becca's first book, Every Second Weekend (a short story cycle) was published by Blaurock Press in 2012; her first novel, One Who Has Been Here Before, was published this year by Vagrant Press, and her next novel, also with Vagrant Press, is set for release in 2023. Becca is a writer, writing instructor, and sometimes an actor and a filmmaker, as well. She teaches writing and English at Dalhousie University in Halifax, and occasionally at other universities in the region.


Born in Barbados, Claudette Bouman (apprentice) arrived in Canada as a student in 1986. After successfully completing graduate studies at UNB and then UBC in Educational Administration, she lived in Saskatchewan. In the late 1990s, she relocated with her family to Nova Scotia. She is married and has two adult children.

Cooper Lee Bombardier (mentor) is the author of the memoir-in-essays Pass With Care, a finalist for the 2021 Firecracker Award in Nonfiction. His writing appears in The Kenyon Review, The Malahat Review, Ninth Letter, CutBank, Nailed Magazine, Longreads, Narratively, BOMB, and The Rumpus and in 19 anthologies, including the Lambda Literary Award-winning anthology, The Remedy–Essays on Queer Health Issues and the Lambda-nominated anthology Meanwhile, Elsewhere: Speculative Fiction From Transgender Writers, which won a 2018 American Library Association Stonewall Book Award. He teaches in the MFA in Creative Nonfiction program at University of King’s College and in women and gender studies at Saint Mary’s University.

YA Fiction

Nayani Jensen (apprentice) grew up in Halifax, NS, and most of her writing has the ocean in it. She writes short stories, novels, and poems. She was a winner of the Atlantic Writing Competition in 2014, and her poetry has been published in the ASH Oxford student journal (2019, 2020). When not writing, she studies the intersection of science and literature, and she has recently completed her MSc in History of Science at Oxford University.

Jo Treggiari (mentor) is the multi-award nominated author of five books for children. Her most recent YA novel, The Grey Sisters (Penguin Teen 2019), was a finalist for the Governor General’s Literary Award, for the Arthur Ellis Mystery Award, and for the Ann Connor Brimer Children’s Literature Award.

Meet your 2022 Mentorship Program participants Read More »

Poetry in Motion Celebration

Join us (virtually) on Tuesday, Nov 16, at 7:30pm as we celebrate the third edition of Poetry in Motion.

Poetry in Motion is a public poetry program which puts poems by 10 Nova Scotian writers on more than 120 Metro Transit buses. This year, the selected poems—on the theme of “connection”—have also been printed on postcards and will be delivered weekly to more than 400 recipients of Meals on Wheels programs in Halifax, Dartmouth, Sackville, and Bedford.

“Spring 202” by Brian Bartlett
“Spring Arrival” by Deborah Banks
“Roots” by Joanne Bealy
“Light & Darkness” by Martha Mutale
“Open” by Anna Elmira
“Used Envelopes” by Leanne Schneider
“Blaze” by Carole Glasser Langille
“And Yet” by Christina McRae
“Clematis” by Susan Drain
“One Bite” by Robin Metcalfe

Each of the 10 poets of Poetry in Motion 2021 will read their selected poem along with one or two additional short poems.

Investors and Partners

The Writers’ Federation of Nova Scotia is grateful to Arts Nova Scotia for their investment in Poetry in Motion. We are also grateful to Halifax Public Libraries, the Halifax Regional Municipality, Halifax Meals on Wheels, Dartmouth Meals on Wheels, and Sackville-Bedford Meals on Wheels for their partnership in realizing the 2021 Poetry in Motion program.

Poetry in Motion Celebration Read More »

Meet your 2021 Mentorship Program participants

Congratulations to the six apprentice writers selected for this year’s Alistair MacLeod Mentorship Program! And thank you to each of the authors who will mentor them!


Robert de la Chevotiere will be mentored by Evelyn C. White

Danica Roache will be mentored by Stephanie Domet


Justyne Leslie will be mentored by Rebecca Thomas

Martha Mutale will be mentored by El Jones

YA Fiction

Lori McKay will be mentored by Tom Ryan

Nicolas Paquette will be mentored by Sylvia Gunnery

Meet your 2021 Mentorship Program participants Read More »

Scroll to Top

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