Sandra Lightburn


Upon moving to Coldbrook, Sandra and Ron Lightburn learned that autumn not only brought the spectacular colours of fall, it also heralded the arrival of many special visitors to the Town of Kentville. These unusual townsfolk had large orange heads, cornstalk bones and lots of personality! They had discovered the annual gathering of the Pumpkin People, who help celebrate the Kentville Harvest Festival. When they saw hundreds of these fun figures cavorting throughout the town, they knew they had moved to their kind of place! And as they saw the Pumpkin People reappear from year to year, Sandra wondered what they did at night while the town slept. This question inspired her to write her story, Pumpkin People. It has been said that the Pumpkin People are one of the purest forms of folk art. Her idea in creating a story about the “secret life” of the Pumpkin People was to turn folk art into folklore. Her picture book reveals that while the town sleeps and the October moon rises, the Pumpkin People come to life and gather at a nocturnal party to dance and play. Their secret revelry is seen through the eyes of two lucky children and their cat who join in the magical fun. Ron Lightburn’s colourful illustrations bring this secret world to life. And there is a special section at the back of the book to teach pumpkin fans how to build their own pumpkin person.

Sandra’s first book, Driftwood Cove, won the Sheila A. Egoff Children’s Literature Prize for text and illustration and was shortlisted for the Ann Connor Brimer Award for Children’s Literature.

 Pumpkin People reviews:

“The Lightburns…use gentle rhymes to guide readers through the otherworldly celebrations as the Pumpkin People sing and dance around bonfires.  The illustrations are slightly eerie, sure to send shivers down the spines of young readers.” Deborah Wiles, Bookworms, Chronicle Herald

“Highly recommended for elementary school classrooms.”  Resource Links


Resource Links The Year’s Best 2008 list; ‘Pumpkin People’


Winner of the Sheila A. Egoff Children’s Literature Prize for text and illustration, 1999; ‘Driftwood Cove’


Shortlisted for the Ann Connor Brimer Award for Children’s Literature, 1999; ‘Driftwood Cove’

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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 that 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 with no professional publications (yet!) or a few short professional publications (i.e., poems, stories, or essays in literary magazines, journals, anthologies, or chapbooks).
  • Emerging writers: those with numerous professional publications and/or one book-length publication.
  • Established writers/authors: those with two book-length publications or the equivalent in book-length and short publications.
  • Professional authors: those with more than two book-length publications.

For “intensive” and “masterclass” creative writing workshops, which provide more opportunities for 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