Basma Kavanagh

Basma Kavanagh is a poet, visual artist, and letterpress printer who lives and works in Nova Scotia, in Mi’kma’ki. She produces artist’s books under the imprint Rabbit Square Books. She has published two collections of poetry, Distillō (Gaspereau, 2012), and Niche (Frontenac, 2015), which won the 2016 Lansdowne Prize for Poetry, and was a finalist for the 2019 NS Masterworks Arts Award. The book-length poem, Ruba’iyat for the Time of Apricots (Frontenac 2018), was shortlisted for the 2019 J.M. Abraham Poetry award, and won the Book Publishers Association of Alberta’s Robert Kroetsch Award for Poetry Book of the Year. Basma has taught workshops and courses on poetry, printmaking, bookbinding, and letterpress, and has formally and informally mentored emerging artists and writers. She has been an artist in residence at the Penland School of Crafts, the Banff Centre, and the Minnesota Center for Book Arts.



2018 Ruba’iyat for the Time of Apricots (poetry), Frontenac House Press, Calgary AB ISBN 978-1-927823-81-1

2015 Niche (poetry collection), Frontenac House Press, Calgary AB ISBN 978-1-927823-30-9

2012 Distillō (poetry collection), Gaspereau Press, Kentville NS ISBN  978-1-554471-15-7


2018 “Entangled with Light”,in Aubade: Poetry and Prose from Nova Scotia Writers, Boularderie Island Press, Boularderie, NS ISBN 978-1-926448-26-8

2018 “Mittelschmerz” in Gush: Menstrual Manifestos for our Times, Frontenac House Press, Calgary AB ISBN 978-927823-79-8

2011 “Perfume” in Perfect Dragonfly, Red Dragonfly Press, Northfield, MN ISBN 978-1-890193-33-1

2010 “Transformers”, in Decomposition from Lost Horse Press, ID ISBN 978-0-9844510-0-5


Rubai’yat for the Time of Apricots

2019 Winner BPAA Robert Kroetsch Award for Poetry
2019 Shortlist J.M. Abraham Poetry Award
2019 Finalist Nova Scotia Masterworks Art Award
2016 Shortlisted BPAA Robert Kroetsch Award for Poetry
2016 Winner Lansdowne Prize for Poetry
2019 Co-winner Gwendolyn MacEwen Poetry Prize
2017 Shortlisted Gwendolyn MacEwen Poetry Prize
2017 Shortlisted New York Center for Book Arts Chapbook Prize
2014 Finalist CBC Poetry Prize “Coda”

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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 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 who have been writing creatively for less than two years and/or have not yet been published in any form.
  • Emerging writers: those who have been writing creatively for less than five years and/or have some short publications (poems, stories, or essays) in literary magazines, journals, or anthologies.
  • Established writers/authors: those with numerous publications in magazines, journals, or anthologies and/or a full-length book publication.
  • Professional authors: those with two or more full-length book publications.

For “intensive” and “masterclass” workshops, which provide more opportunities for peer-to-peer (that is, 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