Syr Ruus

Syr Ruus was born in Tallinn, Estonia during the Second World War. As a small child, she escaped with her mother to Germany and subsequently immigrated to the United States where she earned an MA in English, an MS in Education and taught briefly in the English Department of Illinois State University.  Since 1970, she has lived in Crescent Beach, Nova Scotia where she worked as an elementary school teacher while raising her three children before devoting herself full-time to writing. Her short fiction has appeared in anthologies and journals. In 2009 her novel “Lovesongs of Emmanuel Taggart” was published by Newfoundland’s Breakwater Press. Since then she has independently published three books of fiction inspired by the South Shore of Nova Scotia: “Devil’s Hump” (2013), “The Story of Gar” (2014), and “In Pleasantry” (2016).  These are available in local stores or can be purchased directly from the author. “Krambambuli,” a memoir of her childhood years was published by Inanna Press (York University) in 2018. A novella, “Walls of the Cave,” was published by Quattro  in 2020.


Finalist for the Salty Ink Short Fiction Award, 2010 for Hazard.


Shortlisted for the Ken Klonsky Novella Award, 2010 for The Story of Gar.


Longlisted for ReLit Award, 2010 for Lovesongs of Emmanuel Taggart.


WFNS H.R. (Bill) Percy Prize, First Place, Novel, 2006 for Lovesongs of Emmanuel Taggart.


WFNS Joyce Barkhouse Prize, First Place, Children’s Literature, 1994 for Edgar.

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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