Jacqueline Halsey

Originally from the UK, Jacqueline has lived in Dartmouth, Nova Scotia, for over thirty years. She has written five highly acclaimed books, mostly inspired by her love of the ocean, ships and all things maritime.

Her latest book, Piper was short listed for the 2019 prestigious TD Geoffrey Bilson award for Children’s Historical fiction. Explosion Newsie and Bluenose Adventure tell the story of local historical events in a school-aged picture book format, and a sequel to The Terrible Horrible Smelly Pirate, co-authored by Carrie Muller is due to be released in 2022. Her first book, a war time story called Peggy’s Letters is now available on Tumble Books

Jacqueline has an art college background, a degree in English and before becoming a full-

time writer, worked for many years in the Youth Services department of the Alderney Gate Library in Dartmouth. As part of an imaginative team of programmers, she created literary based programs for children of all ages. These programs were presented in library branches throughout the Halifax Public Library system.

Her love of hiking, splashy boat rides, history, beaches, and taking care of the environment led her to join the “Friends of McNabs Island Society.” She now sits on the Board, takes part in the massive annual beach clean-up and leads groups of visitors on interpretive hikes around the beautiful, historic island in Halifax harbour.

Jacqueline has taken part in the Writer’s in the School programs for over a decade. She is inspired by the students she meets and really enjoys sharing her perspective of seeing history through the eyes of a child.


  • Piper. Nimbus Publishing, (2018, ISBN 978-1-77108-605-9) It’s 1773, and life is unbearably harsh for Dougal and his family scraping a living in the highlands of Scotland. When the opportunity of owning their own farm in the new World arises, the family jump at the chance. Piper is the story of their strong will and determination during the horrendous voyage across the Atlantic. Piper is on the 2018 Woozles Battle of the Books list, a Hackmatack Nominee, shortlisted for the CCBC Geoffrey Bilson award for children’s historical fiction. A CCBC best book for Children and Teens.
  • Explosion Newsie. Illustrated by Loretta Migani. Formac, (2015. ISBN 9781459504011) Explosion Newsie is a school-aged picture book about a distracted news boy who becomes an everyday hero when he delivers the newspapers in the aftermath of the Halifax Explosion.2016 – CCBC Best Books for Children and Teens
  • Bluenose Adventure. Illustrated by Eric Orchard. (Formac, 2013. ISBN 978-1459502802) This story is about the young boys who used to work, gutting fish, on the fishing schooners in the early 1900s.2016 nominee APMA – Best Atlantic Published Book Award.
  • The Terrible, Horrible, Smelly Pirate. Carrie Muller, co-author. Illustrated by Eric Orchard. Nimbus, (2008. ISBN 1551096552.) A pre-school picture book about a smelly pirate who, with the help of a tricky mermaid, changes his ways.
  • The Gran Plan. Scholastic, 2006. ISBN 978-0-7791-6648-0.A scholastic school-reader about a plan to cheer up Gran which goes messily wrong.
  • Peggy’s Letters. Orca Books, (2005. ISBN 1-55143-363-X) Based on my mother’s war-time experiences, Peggy’s Letters tells the story of air-raids, rationing, loss, strange new friendships and hope. Awards – 2007 Hacmatack nominee. 2007 Silver Birch Express, honour book.



Shortlisted for CCBC Geoffrey Bilson award for children’s Historical Fiction.

Shortlisted for Hackmatack award for Piper and Peggy’s Letters.

2020 Canada Council for the Arts, Digital Intiative Grant

2013 Accesss Copyright Foundation Research Grant to research Piper.

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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 communications@writers.ns.ca