Susan Zetell


“Keen unsparing observation expressed in palpable shimmering prose.” – Jim Bartley, Globe and Mail
“Zettell has a passion for careful, sensuous detail. While reading the title story (Holy Days of Obligation), I held my breath.” – Frances Itani
“Zettell writes with skill and understated grace, depicting the many surprises, illuminations and losses of daily life.” – Virginia Beaton, Chronicle Herald
“As is the case with great art, [her stories] touch the reader unexpectedly, reaching toward the deep centre of the human heart.” – Alistair MacLeod

Author of the “compelling” novel The Checkout Girl, two collections of award winning short stories, and with works included in anthologies and collections, Susan Zettell’s novel-in-progress is titled The Lazarus Maple. Born and raised in Kitchener, Ontario, and after having lived in Cambridge, Vancouver, Halifax, Ottawa and Whitehorse, Susan and her husband Andy Watt have made their home along the Cabot Trail in Cape Breton, Nova Scotia.




Shortlisted for the Upper Canada Bewing Company Writers’ Craft Award, 2000; ‘Night Watch’


Shortlisted for the City of Ottawa Book Award (Fiction), 2000; ‘Night Watch’

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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