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 >>

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 >>

The Elizabeth Venart Prize recognizes the unique barriers to literary creation faced by women and other marginalized genders—in particular the lack of time and space imposed by systems of gendered labour and gendered childrearing. The prize supports these writers as they advance works-in-progress. 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The annual Nova Writes Competition for Unpublished Manuscripts honours short-form works by Nova Scotia writers.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 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 communications@writers.ns.ca