Celebration of Emerging Writers

The Celebration of Emerging Writers is an annual reading series that typically showcases graduates of the Alistair MacLeod Mentorship Program (who are announced the previous December) and winners of the Nova Writes Competition for Unpublished Manuscripts (who are announced in the weeks leading up to the Celebration).

MacLeod Mentorships and Nova Writes support the development of Nova Scotia’s emerging writers by providing them with feedback from established writers. While both programs introduce new writers to professional authors, the Celebration of Emerging Writers introduces these new writers to the public. It provides them with a chance to be heard and gives the public an opportunity to engage with them, recognize their achievements, and celebrate the programs that grow our writing community.

Featured MacLeod Mentorship graduates: Nadia Aumeerally (fiction), Monika Dutt (nonfiction), Hollis Holden (poetry), Andrea Hubley (poetry), Michelle Samson (fiction), and J.P. Smith (fiction).

Featured Nova Writes winners: Andrea Reynolds (short fiction), Elizabeth Collis (short non-fiction), Jennifer Overton (writing for children), and Nicholas Selig (poetry).

In celebration of the Alistair MacLeod Mentorship Program’s 20th anniversary, past program participants shared remarks and remembrances.

Featured Alistair MacLeod Mentorship Program graduates: Claudette Bouman (memoir), Susan LeBlanc (fiction), Mary Feehan (fiction), and Nayani Jensen (YA fiction).

Featured Alistair MacLeod Mentorship Program graduates: Robert de la Chevotiere (fiction), Justyne Leslie (poetry), Lori McKay (YA fiction), Martha Mutale (poetry), Danica Roache (fiction), and Nicolas Paquette (YA fiction).

Featured Nova Writes winners: Kate Burnham (nonfiction), Lindsey Harrington (poetry), Bob Mann (fiction), and Heidi Tattrie Rushton (children’s writing).

In 2020, with pandemic conditions preventing the annual Celebration of Emerging Writers, we celebrated the graduates of the Alistair MacLeod Mentorship Program by sharing their work with you in video form, illustrated and animated by Nova Scotia visual artists.

Featured Alistair MacLeod Mentorship Program graduates: Angela Bowden (poetry), Katie Cameron (poetry), Brad Donaldson (fiction), Joanne Gallant (memoir), Sandra Murdock (memoir), Sue Murtagh (fiction), and Bev Shaw (fiction).

Featured visual artists: Catherine Bussiere, Belle DeMont, Paton Francis, Doretta Groenedyk, Patrick McWade, Anna Quon, and Marijke Simons.

Featured Alistair MacLeod Mentorship Program graduates: Sean Bedell (fiction), K.R. Byggdin (fiction), Judy Kaiser (fiction), and Vanessa Lent (fiction).

Featured Nova Writes winners: Susan Drain (fiction), Karen Kelloway (children’s literature), Rosalie Osmond (poetry), and Ariel Watson (non-fiction).

Featured Alistair MacLeod Mentorship Program graduates: Bretten Hannam (fiction), Bethany Lake (fiction), Laura Redman (fiction), and Allison Richard (fiction).

Featured Nova Writes winners: J Lorraine Campbell (poetry), Mary Verna Feehan (fiction), Margaret MacQuarrie (non-fiction), Susan Walsh (fiction), and Muriel Zimmer (non-fiction).

Featured Alistair MacLeod Mentorship Program graduates: Louise Cameron (fiction), Caira Clark (poetry), and Amanda Peters (fiction).

Featured Nova Writes winners: Melissa Friedman (non-fiction), Brenda MacLennan-Dunphy (fiction), Amanda Peters (fiction), Jana Traff (poetry), and Laureen Van Lierop (children’s literature).

Featured Alistair MacLeod Mentorship Program graduates: Nicola Davison (fiction), Erin Beth Langille (fiction), Chad Lucas (young adult fiction), Linda McLean (fiction), and Lindsay Wilson (fiction).

Featured Atlantic Writing Competition winners: Abena Amoako-Tuffour (poetry), Anne Bishop (fiction), Jenni Blackmore (young adult fiction), Linda McLean (non-fiction), Sue Murtagh (fiction), and Mary Pike (children’s literature).

The Celebration of Emerging Writers began in 2016. This year featured winners of the Nova Writes predecessor program, the Atlantic Writing Competition. Prior to 2016, Mentorship Program graduates read at the WFNS Annual General Meeting, while Atlantic Writing Competition winners read at the Word on the Street literary festival. Prior to 2011, Atlantic Writing Competition winners read at the WFNS Gala Celebration of Writers and Writing.

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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 communications@writers.ns.ca