John Bell


John Bell is the author or editor of more than twenty books touching on various aspects of Canadian history and culture. A former editor of the poetry magazine Arc, he has contributed to a wide variety of periodicals, including Literary Review of Canada, Event, This Magazine, and Maisonneuve. His work has also appeared in numerous anthologies and collections, the most recent being Compostela: Tesseracts Twenty (2017). As well, he has given readings and lectured on cultural history in many different venues and has served as the curator of several exhibitions and websites for the Canadian Museum of Caricature, the National Library, and the National Archives. He lives in Lunenburg.

The late Malcolm Ross, one of Canada’s most renowned literary scholars, offered the following description of John’s work: “John Bell is a unique figure in our literary landscape. He goes his own way and is more likely to create fashions than to follow them.”


Joe Shuster Award (2016)

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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