Sandra Phinney


Sandra Phinney is a professional writer and photographer who lives on the edge of the Tusket River in Southwest Nova Scotia. She’s had a few former lives including teaching, social work and farming. Now, instead of driving a tractor and growing vegetables, Sandra wields a camera and harvests stories.

Her articles have appeared in over 70 publications and many online line magazines. She’s also contributed to several travel guides including National Geographic’s Guide to Parks Canada. Over the years, her work has garnered several writing and photography awards (which help to keep her humble.) Part of her portfolio spills into the corporate world where she does everything from writing scripts for video, to advertorials, brochures, newsletters, and company profiles.

In the book writing realm, Sandra’s penned four non-fiction books: Risk Takers and Innovators—Great Canadian Business Ventures since 1950; Pierre Elliott Trudeau: The Prankster Who Never Flinched; Maud Lewis and the “Maudified” House Project; and Waking Up In My Own Backyard~Explorations in Southwest Nova Scotia. She’s currently working on two more non-fiction books.

To satisfy her craving to teach, Sandra gives writing workshops on various topics including narrative, writing memoir, how to start a freelance business and travel writing. In her spare time she does Tai Chi and paddles in the wilderness.

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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