Meet your 2022 Mentorship Program participants

Congratulations to the four apprentice writers selected for this year’s Alistair MacLeod Mentorship Program, and thank you to each of the authors who will mentor them!


M.V. Feehan (apprentice) has published work in Canadian, American, and European journals. She was the 2018 recipient of WFNS’s Budge Wilson Short Fiction Prize. In recent years, she received the Hedy Zimra scholarship from Frequency Writers of Rhode Island as well as the fiction award from Elizabeth Bishop’s Centenarian Festival. She spent years as a reader and editor for Room Magazine. She completed her Masters of Philosophy in Creative Writing at Trinity College Dublin in May of 2021 and currently resides on Cape Breton Island with her husband and son.

Chris Benjamin (mentor) is the author of four award-winning books. His most recent is Boy With A Problem, which was shortlisted for the Alistair MacLeod Prize for Short Fiction. He is also a freelance features writer and magazine editor.


Susan LeBlanc (apprentice) grew up mostly in Halifax, though spent grade four moving between three provinces and attended half of high school in Toronto. She has a BA in English from the University of King’s College/Dalhousie University and a journalism degree from King’s. She studied French for a year at Laval University, where she wished for warmer boots. She worked in Halifax as a newspaper and magazine journalist for twenty years, sharing in two Atlantic Journalism Awards with Chronicle-Herald colleagues. She has edited a few nonfiction manuscripts for a regional publisher and, for six years, worked as a writing/reporting tutor at the King’s School of Journalism. She then enrolled in fiction workshops and classes and learned it’s okay to make things up. She was shortlisted for the 2018 Budge Wilson Short Story Prize. She lives in Dartmouth with her family and her cat.

Becca Babcock (mentor) grew up in Alberta, but since 2005, she’s lived just outside of Halifax with her husband Trent, and now with their almost-five-year-old son, Thorin. Becca's first book, Every Second Weekend (a short story cycle) was published by Blaurock Press in 2012; her first novel, One Who Has Been Here Before, was published this year by Vagrant Press, and her next novel, also with Vagrant Press, is set for release in 2023. Becca is a writer, writing instructor, and sometimes an actor and a filmmaker, as well. She teaches writing and English at Dalhousie University in Halifax, and occasionally at other universities in the region.


Born in Barbados, Claudette Bouman (apprentice) arrived in Canada as a student in 1986. After successfully completing graduate studies at UNB and then UBC in Educational Administration, she lived in Saskatchewan. In the late 1990s, she relocated with her family to Nova Scotia. She is married and has two adult children.

Cooper Lee Bombardier (mentor) is the author of the memoir-in-essays Pass With Care, a finalist for the 2021 Firecracker Award in Nonfiction. His writing appears in The Kenyon Review, The Malahat Review, Ninth Letter, CutBank, Nailed Magazine, Longreads, Narratively, BOMB, and The Rumpus and in 19 anthologies, including the Lambda Literary Award-winning anthology, The Remedy–Essays on Queer Health Issues and the Lambda-nominated anthology Meanwhile, Elsewhere: Speculative Fiction From Transgender Writers, which won a 2018 American Library Association Stonewall Book Award. He teaches in the MFA in Creative Nonfiction program at University of King’s College and in women and gender studies at Saint Mary’s University.

YA Fiction

Nayani Jensen (apprentice) grew up in Halifax, NS, and most of her writing has the ocean in it. She writes short stories, novels, and poems. She was a winner of the Atlantic Writing Competition in 2014, and her poetry has been published in the ASH Oxford student journal (2019, 2020). When not writing, she studies the intersection of science and literature, and she has recently completed her MSc in History of Science at Oxford University.

Jo Treggiari (mentor) is the multi-award nominated author of five books for children. Her most recent YA novel, The Grey Sisters (Penguin Teen 2019), was a finalist for the Governor General’s Literary Award, for the Arthur Ellis Mystery Award, and for the Ann Connor Brimer Children’s Literature Award.

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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