Jan L. Coates

Jan Coates lives in Wolfville, NS with her husband and their Golden Irish, Charlie. She has two married children and two granddaughters and loves visiting schools through the Writers in the Schools (WITS) program. Jan’s interest in writing for children grew out of her own love of words and stories and a passion for helping kids become lifelong readers and writers.

In her free time, Jan can be found on the badminton court, travelling, at the gym, the cottage, or thrift shopping. Her first picture book, Rainbows in the Dark (Second Story Press, 2005) has been translated into Spanish, Catalan, and Braille, with Korean and Brazilian rights also sold. She has also written eighteen ESL illustrated chapter books for Caramel Tree, a Korean-based English Language School publisher.

Her debut novel, A Hare in the Elephant’s Trunk (Red Deer Press, 2010), was a finalist for the Governor General’s Literary Award (Children’s Text) in 2011, as well as an Ann Connor Brimer Award finalist. She has also written five middle grade novels; The Hermit (Nimbus, 2020); Say What You Mean (Nevermore, 2019); Talking to the Moon (Red Deer, 2018),The Power of Harmony (Red Deer, 2013), also a Brimer finalist, and Rocket Man, a YALSA Quick Pick for Reluctant Readers  (Red Deer, 2014). Jan’s picture books include: Jessie and Me: Hat People (author/illustrator, Camp Triumph, PEI), The Pocket Pig (author/illustrator) Pandamonium Publishing 2022), Anna Maria & Maestro Vivaldi (Red Deer, 2022), Dancing with Daisy (Running the Goat, 2019); Karissa & Felix (self-published, as both author and illustrator, 2019);  A Halifax Time-Travelling Tune (Nimbus, 2018), Sky Pig (Pajama Press, 2016), The King of Keji (Nimbus, 2015), and Rainbows in the Dark (Second Story Press, 2005). Her current passion (other than learning to illustrate and creating soul smiles, her greeting cards) is writing a work of creative non-fiction for young readers about Canadian landscape painter (and all-around interesting person) Doris McCarthy (1910 – 2010).


Jessie and Me: Hat People, (Picture book, Camp Triumph, PEI, 2023)

The Pocket Pig (PB, art and words, Pandamonium Publishing, 2022)

Anna Maria & Maestro Vivaldi (PB, Red Deer Press, 2022)

The Hermit (middle grade novel, Nimbus, 2020)

Say What You Mean (MG, Nevermore Press, 2019)

Karissa & Felix (PB, self published as both author/illustrator, 2019)

Dancing with Daisy (PB, Running the Goat Press, 2019)

Talking to the Moon (MG, Red Deer Press, 2018)

A Halifax Time-Travelling Tune (PB, Nimbus, 2017)

Sky Pig (PB, Pajama Press, 2016)

The King of Keji (PB, Nimbus, 2015)

Rocket Man (MG novel, Red Deer, 2014)

The Power of Harmony (MG novel, Red Deer, 2013)

A Hare in the Elephant’s Trunk (MG novel, Red Deer, 2010)

Rainbows in the Dark (PB, Second Story Press, 2005)


Anna Maria & Maestro Vivaldi, CCBC Best Book, 2023

The Hermit, finalist for the IODE Violet Downey Award; Hackmatack book, 2021-22.

Dancing with Daisy, best new product, Newfoundland Trade and Gift Show 2020; finalist for Elizabeth Mrazik-Cleaver Canadian Picture Book Award, 2020 (illustrator Josee Bisaillon)

The Power of Harmony: Finalist, Violet Downey Award 2014; Ann Connor Brimer Atlantic Book Award Finalist; OLA Bets Best Book 2014; Hackmatack Book, 2014/15.

A Hare in the Elephant’s Trunk: Finalist, 2011 Governor General’s Literary Awards; Finalist, Ann Connor Brimer Award; starred Kirkus Review; USBBY Honor List, 2011.

Rainbows in the Dark: USBBY Honor List of Outstanding Books for Young People with Diabilities, 2006.

Rocket Man (Woozles Battle of the Books, YALSA Quick Pick for Reluctant Readers, 2015)

Sky Pig (winner of Lillian Shepherd Memorial Award for Excellence in Illustration; artist, Suzanne Del Rizzo)

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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