Jacqueline Halsey

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

Her latest book, The Terrible Horrible Smelly Beach, co-authored by Carrie Muller, is a sequel to the Terrible Horrible Smelly Pirate and has an environmental twist. Her middle-grade novel Piper was short listed for the 2019 prestigious TD Geoffrey Bilson award for Children’s Historical fiction. Peggy’s Letters is 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 and presented literary based programs for children of all ages.

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 enjoys sharing her perspective of seeing history through the eyes of a child.



  • The Terrible Horrible Smelly Beachco-authored by Carrie Muller and illustrated by Paul Hammond. (Nimbus 2022 ISBN 9781774710982) the Tricky mermaid persuades the pirates to do a beach clean-up in their search for treasure.
  • Piper. (Nimbus, 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 was shortlisted for the CCBC Geoffrey Bilson award for children’s historical fiction. A CCBC best book for Children and Teens, was on the 2018 Woozles Battle of the Books list, and a Hackmatack Nominee
  • 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 Hackmatack nominee. 2007 Silver Birch Express, honour book.



Piper – shortlisted for CCBC Geoffrey Bilson award for Children’s Historical Fiction.

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

Bluenose Adventure – shortlisted for APMA – Best Atlantic Published Book Award-

2020 Canada Council for the Arts, Digital Initiative Grant

2013 Access Copyright Foundation Research Grant to research Piper.

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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