Writers in Residence

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.

Anas Atakora

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

Anas Atakora is a poet and non-fiction writer. He is the author of seven books, including La Vie que nous menons ici (2023), Cette Beauté autour de nous (2022) and Ceux qui m’accompagnent au large (2017). Anas holds a PhD in French Studies and Francophone Literature from Dalhousie University. A Killam Predoctoral Fellow (2016 – 2018), he is also a recipient of the Canada Council for the Arts “Explore and Create” grant in 2022 and of the “Arts Abroad” grant in 2023. His poems have appeared in various journals and magazines and have also been translated into English, Arabic, and Hebrew. Poet Lore, the oldest continuously published poetry journal in the United States, featured Anas in its Spring/Summer 2017 World Poets in Translation column. He is a 2015 University of Iowa Fellow for IWP (International Writing Program).

Anas will be working on a new poetry book called Les Rivières intérieures ne font pas la géographie, which explores the fluidity of words or their capacity to navigate different states of matter, sketching specifically on representations of water and how they operate on various states of mental health. This project draws its inspiration from the poet’s grandmother’s art of storytelling, his encounter with solitude as a writer and traveller, and his ardent fanaticism for water. Through this book, Anas attempts to bring new insights on mental health discourse, especially from a Black African perspective. Anas will also be editing a collection, En Chair et en ville, a poetry book about grief, hurt and what happens to bodies in a context of city violence.

Andrea Currie

Recipient of the Nova Scotia Indigenous Writer's Residency,
sponsored by Amanda Peters

Andrea Currie is a member if the historic Métis Nation and grew up on her homeland in southern Manitoba. Currently living in Unama’ki (Cape Breton), Andrea is a writer, musician, and psychotherapist who has been working for the past 20 years in the Mi’kmaq community. Andrea is interested in how the ways we choose and use words and sounds can free us up, drop us down into our embodied hearts and spirits, and open up spaces that we can hold for the re-emergence of our lost collective wholeness.

Andrea will be working on a collection tentatively titled Going Free, which focuses on reconnecting and repairing her lost relationships with the lands and waters that shaped her people and, therefore, also shaped her. During recent trips to her ancestral homeland, Andrea has immersed herself in sensory and intuitive experiences of the elements and the natural world. She is writing this collection of short stories and poems in hopes it will be read by other Sixties Scoop survivors, Indigenous people who are healing from the impact of colonization, and anyone else who is interested in broadening and deepening their understanding of the experiences of Indigenous peoples in what is now called Canada.

Andrea will also be developing a novel about Ebbie and Tub, siblings and the younger selves of two adult child welfare system survivors who have reunited after years of separation. The reunited adult siblings head out on a road trip to visit places from their past, with their younger selves in the back seat of the car.

Dea Toivonen

Recipient of the RBC Emerging Artists Residency,
sponsored by RBC Emerging Artists

Dea Toivonen is a writer, visual artist, and astrologer living and working in Kjipuktuk. Their work explores queerness, community and becoming through poetics and experimental storytelling. Their interests include contemporary fiction, theory and ethical philosophy, film, organic gardening, somatic healing, and dance. They center their practice around process-driven exploration that is generated by questions and desires surrounding transformation and healing.

Dea will be working on a collection of short fiction that explores contemporary loneliness and questing for queer and chosen family. Characters throughout the collection navigate moments of breakdown and are met by a need to reconfigure their moral imaginations as they seek to overcome what stands between them and meeting the world. While the collection is unified by characters that share similar motivations, the collection is formally varied and travels through space, time, and alternative histories to brush upon the universal spectrum of being alone and being with others. The stories are pop, and full of vibrant objects and strange encounters that strike characters as semiotically significant, often imposing realizations or affects that change the course of characters' trajectories.

Michael Goodfellow

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

Michael Goodfellow is the author of the poetry collections Naturalism, An Annotated Bibliography (2022) and Folklore of Lunenburg County (2024), both published by Gaspereau Press. His poems have appeared in the Literary Review of Canada, The Dalhousie Review, The Cortland Review, Reliquiae, and elsewhere. He lives in Nova Scotia.

Michael will be working on a new collection of poems about landscape and hallucination, exploring the act of mapping and naming landscape, and the semiotics of and gaps between naming and the thing named. The collection is situated in relation to the south shore of Nova Scotia and colonial images and maps of the area.

Barbara Lounder

Recipient of a Writers' Federation of Nova Scotia Residency

Barbara Lounder has a background in the visual arts. For over 15 years, her interdisciplinary projects have centred on walking as a method for research and creative thought, and as a form of artmaking itself. These projects have often been collaborations, situated in public spaces and involving participation. Historical context plays an important role in Barbara’s work, with research and writing being vital to her creative process at various stages.

At the outset of the coronavirus pandemic, Barbara began a project called Corona Walker, inspired by a headstone in the Dartmouth Public Cemetery. Corona Walker was born in 1870 and died in 1889. Her name and the circumstances of the coronavirus pandemic persuaded Barbara to make work about her. As it turned out, there are very few official records about Corona Walker, and the project therefore lent itself to creative invention and speculation. Barbara held seven public walking art events as part of Corona Walker; wrote several essays about the project for academic publications; created and exhibited over 30 collages and artworks on paper; and gave approximately 8 informal, private “dramatic readings” of prose material she has written as part of the work. At Jampolis Cottage, Barbara will be working with the written aspects of Corona Walker to produce the first draft of a book-length prose manuscript — a moving account of an obscure life — that combines elements of historical veracity with invention.

Tegan Zimmerman

Recipient of a Writers' Federation of Nova Scotia Residency

Tegan Zimmerman is an Adjunct Professor in Women and Gender Studies at Saint Mary's University; she is also the Chair of the International Comparative Literature Association’s Gender Studies Research Committee. She specializes in contemporary gender theory and women’s writing and is currently completing her first manuscript of poetry, titled Chimeras. When not writing, she likes to spend time with her pug, Kosmo.

Tegan will be working on her second poetry collection, Posthumous, a long poem that explores the theme of the maternal-feminine in relation to definitions of the posthumous (after-ground; after-original; afterlife; after-death; awards after death, and so on). Motifs throughout the work pertain to light, rebellion, decay, and the mirror-stage in psychoanalysis (as theorized by Sigmund Freud, Jacques Lacan, Luce Irigaray, and Slavoj Žižek). Tegan’s work seeks to move beyond this philosophical tradition by considering gender as well as environmental degradation and technological advances. What does the mirror-stage look like in the world of AI? What does the posthumous signify if it’s read in relation to radiation poisoning? These are the kinds of questions Posthumous attempts to answer.


The Writers’ Federation of Nova Scotia is grateful to the Delmore “Buddy” Daye Learning Institute and the Robert Pope Foundation for their ongoing investments in Sponsored Residencies at Jampolis Cottage.

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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