Programs & Awards

The Alistair MacLeod Mentorship Program supports writers who are on the cusp of professional publication and who are committed to their writing and creative development. It is a disciplined, focused, and supportive one-on-one apprenticeship program through which writers expand and hone their craft. Details

WFNS administers and acts as steward for two Nova Scotia Book Awards—celebrating and promoting excellence in Nova Scotian nonfiction and poetry—and three Atlantic Book Awards—celebrating and promoting excellence in Atlantic Canadian fiction, poetry, and YA & children’s literature. Each year’s shortlists introduce local, national, and international readers to a tremendous body of work and the vibrant culture of the region. Details

Booktoberfest is an annual public reading and book fair that features Nova Scotian authors who have released literary titles over the previous year. Details

Our members-only Coffee Chats program connects writers who have questions about the writing life with professional authors who can provide advice and inspiration. Details

WFNS administers three emerging writers prizes that recognize barriers to literary creation—those faced by speculative fiction and nonfiction writers from marginalized backgrounds; by writers who identify as women and/or other marginalized genders; by writers who identify as Black and/or African Nova Scotian—and support these writers as they advance book-length works-in-progress. Details

The Jampolis Cottage Residency Program hosts residencies for emerging, established, and professional writers at Jampolis Cottage, a lovingly maintained and updated 230-year-old Georgian colonial house on the shores of the Minas Basin in Avonport, Nova Scotia. Details

Our members-only Manuscript Review Program connects writers with professional and award-winning authors and editors who can provide feedback and creative guidance on stalled manuscripts. Details

The annual Nova Writes Competition for Unpublished Manuscripts honours short-form works by Nova Scotia writers. Entry is open to all Nova Scotia residents who have not published books in their categories of entry, which include poetry, fiction, non-fiction, YA & children’s literature, and writing in French. Details

Begun as a public art project in 2019, Poetry in Motion is now an annual program. At its core is the installation of short poems on transit ads in the fall of each year. Details

Writers in the Schools (WITS) is our most public educational outreach program: we invest more than one quarter of our resources and much of our organizational energies in bringing professional writers into Nova Scotia schools. Details

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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