Michelle Hébert

BIOGRAPHY
One day when Michelle was in Grade 8, her English teacher asked her to stay behind after class. Michelle sat at her desk with her heart pounding in her ears – she was terrified he’d found the smutty note she and her friends had been passing during class. Her teacher closed the door behind the other students, walked back to front of the classroom, and picked some loose-leaf off his desk. His voice (and Michelle’s words) echoed in the empty classroom as he read aloud from an assignment she’d written. He set the paper down, folded his arms, and said, “If you become anything but a writer, it will be a waste.”

Those words have hung over her like a curse since 1985.

Since then, Michelle’s earned a degree in journalism from King’s and a Master of Social Work from Dal. She’s worked across Canada as a freelance journalist, and her writing has appeared in The Coast, Mothering magazine, New Maritimes, and various small-town newspapers. She’s also written and recorded documentaries and audio essays for CBC radio. Sometimes, she’s supported herself by writing prosaic but useful reports for governments and community organizations. Her book Enriched by Catastrophe: Social Work and Social Conflict After the Halifax Explosion was published by Fernwood in 2007. She was a presenting author at Word on the Street in 2009. She really wanted to phone her old English teacher to let him know.

Michelle lives with PTSD. This has slowed her writing progress over the years, but it’s also given her a unique perspective and resilience.  She’s recently completed a novel about generational trauma, superstition, and what happens when everything we believe in fails us.

Michelle lives in Halifax with her two teenagers, four cats, and a dog.


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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 communications@writers.ns.ca