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 book fair that celebrates Nova Scotian authors and Nova Scotian presses who have published books in the past 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
The Ellemeno Visual Literature Prize is an annual celebration of creative cross-pollination between the literary arts and the visual arts. The winning writer or artist receives a cash prize along with digital publication and a featured interview on the Writers’ Federation of Nova Scotia website. 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The annual Nova Writes Competition for Unpublished Manuscripts honours short-form works by Nova Scotia writers.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. All entrants receive written comments on their manuscripts. Details

Begun as a public art project in 2019, Poetry in Motion ran until 2023, its fifth and final year. At the core of each year was the installation of 10 short poems in ad spaces aboard Halifax Transit buses. Details
Writers In The Schools (WITS) is our most public educational outreach program, bringing award-winning Nova Scotian authors into elementary and secondary schools to provide presentations, workshops, and readings for students of every grade. Details
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Recommended Experience Levels

The Writers’ Federation of Nova Scotia (WFNS) recommends that participants in any given workshop have similar levels of creative writing and / or publication experience. This ensures that each participant gets value from the workshop⁠ and is presented with information, strategies, and skills that suit their career stage. The “Recommended experience level” section of each workshop description refers to the following definitions used by WFNS.

  • New writers: those with less than two years’ creative writing experience and/or no short-form publications (e.g., short stories, personal essays, or poems in literary magazines, journals, anthologies, or chapbooks).
  • Emerging writers: those with more than two years’ creative writing experience and/or numerous short-form publications.
  • Early-career authors: those with 1 or 2 book-length publications or the equivalent in book-length and short-form publications.
  • Established authors: those with 3 or 4 book-length publications.
  • Professional authors: those with 5 or more book-length publications.

Please keep in mind that each form of creative writing (fiction, nonfiction, poetry, and writing for children and young adults) provides you with a unique set of experiences and skills, so you might consider yourself an ‘established author’ in one form but a ‘new writer’ in another.

For “intensive” and “masterclass” creative writing workshops, which provide more opportunities for peer-to-peer feedback, the recommended experience level should be followed closely.

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