Jean Mills

Jean Mills has a background in teaching (college Communications/Writing; Grade 6 Language Arts) and professional writing and editing. Her first two novels, Wild Dog Summer and The Legacy, were part of the Nelson Canada novel study program for middle school Language Arts. Her most recent book is Larkin on the Shore (Red Deer Press, October 2019) set in Nova Scotia and telling the story of a troubled teen who is reluctantly spending her summer at her grandmother’s house in a small town on the Northumberland Strait. School Library Journal says: “Beautifully written, with vivid imagery of the Nova Scotia shore, this is a truly moving story of finding oneself after trauma.” Her previous YA novel, Skating Over Thin Ice (Red Deer Press, 2018) was nominated for the Ontario Library Association 2019 Forest of Reading Red Maple Fiction award. The novel was also named to the USBBY 2019 Outstanding International Books List. Her upcoming YA novel, The Legend, will be published in 2021. Jean can lead workshops in creative writing, general writing skills, as well as offer presentations (in person or virtually) about her books, the writing life and the publishing process. She divides her time between Guelph, Ontario, and Pugwash, Nova Scotia.


Books for Young Readers:
The Legend (Red Deer Press, Spring 2022)
Larkin on the Shore (Red Deer Press, January 2020)
Skating Over Thin Ice (Red Deer Press, 2018)
Joey and the Fire Hall Ghost (Caramel Tree, 2013)
Andrew and the Babysitter (Caramel Tree, 2012)
The Ugly Duckling (Caramel Tree, 2012)
The Legacy (Nelson Canada Education, 1991)
Wild Dog Summer (Nelson Canada Education, 1990)

Short Stories:
“Class Trip” (Spacesports & Spidersilk, July 2014)
“John Rae: Explorer” (Kayak Mag, September/October 2013)

“The roots of her story” (The Globe and Mail, April 2008)


2020 Whippoorwill Award (Larkin on the Shore)

2019 OLA Forest of Reading Red Maple Fiction Award – Nominee (Skating Over Thin Ice)

2019 USBBY Outstanding International Books List (Skating Over Thin Ice)

2009 Barbara Novak Award for Humour/Memoir Writing (“The roots of her story”)

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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