Gary Blackwood


After spending most of his life in various parts of the United States, Gary immigrated to Canada several years ago. He lives on three acres of woods outside Tatamagouche.

At sixteen, Gary got his first encouraging letter from an editor and sold his first story at nineteen. After this promising start, he produced a seemingly endless string of unpublished books and collected a prodigious quantity of discouraging letters from editors. Finally, in 1987, Atheneum published his juvenile novel, Wild Timothy, followed by The Dying Sunand Beyond the Door. Then his editor was fired. Seven long years later – during which time he worked for The Institute of Children’s Literature, teaching others how to write and not sell their work – the publication of The Shakespeare Stealer resurrected his writing career, which has been goig strong ever since. His work covers the whole spectrum of kids’ books, from picture books to young adult, both fiction and nonfiction. Any time that’s left over hedevotes to writing plays for adults and young audiences. His adaptation of The Shakespeare Stealer has been produced many times in the U.S. in such venues as the Kennedy Center and Seattle Children’s Theatre.


ALA Best Books for Young Adults, School Library Journal’s Best Books, Junior Library Guild selection, Recorded Books: ‘Year of the Hangman’.


Junior Library Guild selection, School Library Journal’s Best Books, ALA Notable and Best Books for Young Adults, Scholastic Book Club: ‘The Shakepeare Stealer’


ALA Best Books for Young Adults, Scholastic Book Club: ‘Shakepseare’s Scribe’

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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