Meet the 2024 MacLeod Mentorship participants

WFNS is pleased to announce the 10 writers participating in the 2024 Alistair MacLeod Mentorship Program as apprentices and mentors:

Fiction

Theo Feehan-Peters (recipient of the Charles R. Saunders Prize) is a software developer by trade who lives in Windsor, Nova Scotia. After discovering creative writing through game development, he has fallen in love with the craft. Theo grew up in the United States, but Canada has always been his home—particularly Cape Breton, where his parents are from. Theo’s Saunders Prize-winning submission is an excerpt from his speculative novel-in-progress, Paradise, a loose retelling of the war in Heaven from Lucifer’s perspective, set in a cyberpunk dystopia ruled by angels.

Theo’s mentor is Tom Ryan, the author of several books, including the multiple award winning YA mystery Keep This to Yourself. His adult mystery debut The Treasure Hunters Club (Simon & Schuster) will be released in October, 2024.

Fiction

Dana Mount teaches English and Environmental Studies at Cape Breton University. Her novel-in-progress follows a university student who accidentally gets a summer job in an animal research lab.

Dana’s mentor is Chris Benjamin, the author of five books, including his most recent hitchhiking memoir, Chasing Paradise: A hitchhiker’s search for home in a world at war with itself. His short-story collection, Boy With A Problem, was shortlisted for the Alistair MacLeod Prize for Short Fiction; his novel Drive-by Saviours was longlisted for Canada Reads.

Memoir

Storme Arden is a painter and photographer working on a memoir chronicling recent adventures with celiac disease, incurable cancer, and a PTSD-producing ICU experience with the rare virus, Guillain-Barré.

Storme’s mentor is Donna Morrissey, originally from The Beaches in Newfoundland. She studied at Memorial University in St. John’s and lived in various parts of Canada before settling down in Halifax, where she now lives. She has written 7 best selling novels and has received awards in Canada, the US, and England.

Memoir

Forty years after leaving England, Elizabeth Jeha returned to her homeland from Halifax to help her elderly parents and found herself sharing the last year of their lives with their extraordinary caregiver. Her memoir project, Care For Me, is an exploration of how we care for our elderly and their caregivers, identity, and the restorative power of place when memory is reunited with the land which formed it.

Elizabeth’s mentor is Sandra Phinney, a prolific feature writer; the author of four nonfiction books; and a teacher of several online writing courses and in-person workshops. In her spare time, she paddles in the wilderness.

Poetry

Janelle Levesque is an emerging poet based in Halifax. Her work explores themes of love, loss, and liminality, capturing the immediacy of life through the intimacy of language. Her poems have been published in 7 Mondays and Open Heart Forgery. She is currently working on her first poetry chapbook.

Janelle’s mentor is Alice Burdick, who lives in Mahone Bay, Nova Scotia. She is a cookbook editor, and a poet. Her most recent book is The East Coast Christmas Cookbook (Formac Publishing), and she has new book of poetry forthcoming in 2024.

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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 communications@writers.ns.ca