Kelly S Thompson

Kelly S. Thompson is a writer and retired officer in the Canadian Armed Forces. Kelly has a Honours Bachelor degree in Professional Writing from York University, a certificate in Publishing from Ryerson University, a master’s in Creative Writing from the University of British Columbia, and is completing a PhD in Literary and Critical Studies, Creative Writing, at the University of Gloucestershire in the UK, where she examines representations of grief and trauma in memoir.

Kelly’s work has won awards in a variety of genres. She won the House of Anansi Press Golden Anniversary Award for Fiction, the 2014 and 2017 Barbara Novak Award for Personal Essay, and was shortlisted for Room magazine’s 2013 and 2014 Creative Nonfiction awards, placing 2nd in the 2019 contest. Her essays have appeared in anthologies across Canada, including Boobs, by Caitlin Press, Embedded on the Home Front, with Heritage House and Everyday Heroes with Simon & Schuster.

Her work has appeared in literary magazines across the country and her professional writing has been printed in Chatelaine, Maclean’s, The Globe and Mail, and more. Her article on military sexual harassment titled “Battle Fatigue,” was runner up for Feature Article of the Year with the Professional Writers Association of Canada. She was also nominated for a National Magazine Award in 2022.

Her memoir Girls Need Not Apply: Field Notes from the Forces with Penguin Random House Canada, was an instant Globe and Mail bestseller and declared one of the top 100 books of 2019 by the Globe and Mail.

Kelly also teaches writing to all levels, having run after-school writing programs for teenage  girls, creative writing classes for children, and taught Creative Writing and Communications at Trent University. She now teaches at the University of King’s Creative Non Fiction. She also developed and runs classes for Royal Roads University and Loyalist College.

Kelly’s next memoir, Still, I Cannot Save You, will release with McClelland & Stewart in January, 2023.



  • Still, I Cannot Save You, McClelland & Stewart, Forthcoming Jan 2023, Memoir
  • Girls Need Not Apply, McClelland & Stewart, 20 Aug, 2019, Memoir
  • Fluidity, House of Anansi Press, March, 2017- Literary Fiction *Winner of the House of Anansi Press Golden Anniversary Award* 


  • “Here, There and Everywhere in Between”—M(o)thering, edited by Heidi Grogan and Anne Sorbie, anthology, Inanna Publications (forthcoming Spring 2022)
  • “We Come and We Go”—Waiting: An Anthology, edited by Rona Altrows and Julie Sedivy, University of Alberta Press- Literary Non fiction
  • “Blinders,” Addiction, Breakwater Press, Jan, 2019, – Literary non fiction
  • “Basically Broken”— Everyday Heroes: Inspirational Stories from Men and Women in the Canadian Armed Forces, with Jodi Mitic, Simon & Schuster Canada (October, 2017) – Literary Non fiction *Winner of the 2017 Barbara Novak Award for Personal Essay *
  • “Strip, Reveal and Sex Appeal” – Boobs: Women discuss what it means to have breasts, Caitlin Press, 2016- Literary Non fiction
  • ”We are a (Military) Family” – Embedded on the Home Front: Where military and civilian lives converge, Heritage House Press, September, 2012 – Literary Non fiction  

Literary Magazines

  • “Recordings of Truth and Facts,” Humber Literary Review, Forthcoming, Spring 2021, Non Fiction
  • “Fight for Your Right to Censor,” Canadian Notes and Queries, Spring, 2020, Essay
  • Review of “Had It Coming” by Robyn Doolittle, Literary Review of Canada, Winter 2019
  • “Battle Fatigue,” Maisonneuve, Dec 2017 – Essay/Article
    *Runner-up for Best Feature Article of the Year with Professional Writers Association of Canada*
  • “Death Cherry,” Prairie Fire, Spring 2019, Literary Non Fiction
  • “Widow”, Carte Blanche, March 2018, Fiction

Selected Articles

  • “We Are the Invisible,” Globe and Mail, Nov 2019
  • “Before You Go,” Maclean’s, Feb 2018
  • “Big Data Recruiting,” Your Workplace Magazine, Mar/Apr, 2017
  • “Reflowering Romance,” Wedding Trends Magazine, 2016
  • “Rick Campanelli, WestCoast Dad,” Westcoast Families, Sept/Oct 2016
  • “Tour Your Own Town-Tweed,” for County and Quinte Living Magazine, Summer 2016
  • Little Libraries, for Local Parent Magazine, May/June, 2016
  • Spark Box Studio, Watershed Magazine, Spring 2016
  • “They Don’t Always Come Home” – 555 Collective, What is War?, 2014
  • “Unflagging Energy,” Personal profile, Enterprise Magazine, July, 2014.
  • “Self-Regulation in the Classroom” – WestCoast Families, January 2014
  • “You’d Be Surprised Who Is a Veteran” – The Tyee, 11 November, 2013
  • ”Soldiers Are Real, Not Rambos” –, October, 2012
  • ”Canadian Acting Icon Kim Cattrall Gets Candid With Pie” – Pie Magazine, August 2012
  • ”No Life Like It” – YorkU Magazine, May 2011
  • ”Under Fire” blog about life in the Forces –, July, 2010-July, 2011
  • Nominated for a National Magazine Award for Personal Journalism in 2022.
  • Globe and Mail lists Girls Need Not Apply as one of the top 100 books of 2019
  • 2nd Place in Room Magazine’s 2019 Creative Non Fiction contest
  • 2018 Best Feature Article of the Year Runner-up, for “Battle Fatigue,” appearing in Maisonneuve, awarded by the Professional Writers Association of Canada
  • 2017 House of Anansi Press Golden Anniversary Award for Short Fiction, “Fluidity”
  • 2017 Winner of the Barbara Novak Award for Personal Essay for “Strip, Reveal and Sex Appeal,” appearing in Boobs by Caitlin Press
  • 2013 and 2016, 2-week Independent Residencies at Leighton Artist Colony, Banff Centre
  • 2015 Professional Writers Association of Canada Regional Volunteer of the Year
  • 2013 Barbara Novak Award for Personal Essay for “We Are a (Military) Family,” appearing in Embedded by Heritage House Press
  • Shortlisted for the 2013 and 2014 Room Magazine Creative Non Fiction Award
  • Entrance scholarship to University of British Columbia, September, 2012
  • Ontario Scholar

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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