Marq de Villiers


MARQ DE VILLIERS is a veteran journalist who has reported from many parts of the world, especially Africa and the former Soviet Union. He has also been editor, and then publisher, of Toronto Life magazine, Toronto, and editorial director of WHERE Magazines International, Los Angeles. De Villiers was born in South Africa and is a graduate of the University of Cape Town with a later graduate year at the London School of Economics. He holds an honorary degree from Dalhousie University and in 2010 was appointed to the Order of Canada. He lives in Eagle Head, on Nova Scotia’s south shore. He is the author of 14 books, most on African themes or natural history, but one on wine (The Heartbreak Grape) and one on the American revolutionary wars, Blood Traitors. Five of his books were co-authored with Sheila Hirtle. He has won several awards, including the Governor General’s Award for Non Fiction, the Evelyn Richardson Award (twice), South Africa’s Alan Paton Award, and was shortlisted for both the Julia Child and James Beard Awards. He has also written on contract for National Geographic Books (America’s Outdoors: Eastern Canada) and has ghosted three other titles, the “autobiographies” of Maurice Strong, who headed the 1992 world environmental summit in Rio; of Lawrencia “Bambi” Bembenek (written as she was about to get her murder conviction overturned); and of former theatre impresario and later felon Garth Drabinsky. His latest book is Hell and Damnation: A Sinner’s Guide to Eternal Torment, published by University of Regina Press in 2019.


{Title}Back to the Well: Rethinking the Future of Water

2015, Goose Lane Editions,


ISBN 9 781773 100463


Evelyn Richardson Prize for non-fiction; ‘Witch in the Wind’.


Dartmouth Book Award for non-fiction; ‘Witch in the Wind’


Evelyn Richardson Prize for non-fiction; ‘A Dune Adrift’


Writers Trust of Canada Pearson non-fiction award, finalist; ‘Sahara’


Saskatchewan Showcase award, documentary Science/Technology; ‘Water Water’


Canadian Science Writers Award; ‘Water’


Governor General’s Award for non-fiction; ‘Water’


James Beard Awards, shortlist for Best Book: Wine & Spirits; ‘The Heartbreak Grape’


Julia Child Awards, shortlist for literary food writing; ‘The Heartbreak Grape’


Governor General’s Award for non fiction, shortlist; ‘The Heartbreak Grape’


Winner of the first annual Alan Paton Award for non-fiction; ‘White Tribe Dreaming’

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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