Writers in the Schools

During the 2022/2023 academic year, WITS will continue to offer both in-person and virtual visits as well as free access to our WITS Originals video series.

Booking applications for 2022/2023 are open as of September 12, 2022. (For priority consideration, apply by September 24, 2022.)

Overview

Writers in the Schools (WITS) is a program through which Nova Scotia writers visit schools to provide presentations, workshops, and readings for students of every grade. The program encourages students’ enjoyment of reading and writing and engages them in the development of literacy skills.

All WITS writers are professional writers and WFNS members and are able to cover a variety of topics, such as creative writing, research, journalism, illustration, and comic books.

WITS is our most public educational outreach program: the Writers’ Federation of Nova Scotia invests more than a quarter of its resources and much of its organizational energies into bringing professional writers into Nova Scotia schools.

The primary WITS program is supplemented by extracurricular Creative Writing Day Camps (held each March Break and summer) and short WITS Originals video lessons (free and on-demand).

Sandra Bartlett <br>Armbrae Academy (Halifax, NS)
Sandra Bartlett
Armbrae Academy (Halifax, NS)
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"Our school has been involved with WITS for many years. For students from grades primary to 12, it's been a wonderful opportunity for students to meet and engage with amazing local authors, enjoying and learning from the experiences. It was great to be able to pivot to online visits over the past year!"
Terri-Lynn Fancy <br>Ridgecliff Middle School (Beechville, NS)
Terri-Lynn Fancy
Ridgecliff Middle School (Beechville, NS)
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"WITS allows our middle school students to see the amazing future opportunities in writing and illustrating while also appreciating the dedication and hard work involved in the creative process. After Andre Fenton's visit, one grade 8 student said he "inspired me to pick up my notebook and start writing again."
Cheryl Steeves <br>Lockeport Elementary (Lockeport, NS)
Cheryl Steeves
Lockeport Elementary (Lockeport, NS)
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"Through WITS, author Marsha Pierce-Harding shared her Secrets of Sable Island, taking the class on a journey that danced between ghost story and historical fiction. Her photographs and actual artifacts brought the novel to life. The students were engaged and thrilled to be meeting a local author. We would strongly recommend WITS to other schools, and we are excited to participate again."
Michelle Dey <br>George P. Vanier Junior High (Fall River, NS) <br>& Waverley Memorial Elementary (Waverley, NS)
Michelle Dey
George P. Vanier Junior High (Fall River, NS)
& Waverley Memorial Elementary (Waverley, NS)
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"The buzz in the building when an author visits is like a wave of energy, gradually spreading throughout the day from the morning 'welcome' announcement to class changes and breaks, as staff and students alike discuss their experience. The inspiration, ideas, connection, networking, and our lunch together are a highlight. I personally benefit greatly from our author visits, which are motivational professional development!"
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How do in-person and virtual WITS visits work?

In-person and virtual visits are co-paid: WFNS covers half of the writers’ fees while the hosting school covers the remainder. For a half-day visit (up to two 45-55 minute sessions), a school co-pays $75. For a full-day visit (up to four 45-55 minute sessions + 30-day access to one WITS Originals package of 4 videos), a school co-pays $150.

In-person visits: Many WITS writers are open to suggestions and amenable to working with teachers, librarians, and principals to ensure their visits complement school curricula.
     Please note that in-person visits may incur additional costs: WFNS covers all writer mileage, but a writer may require a lunch (if booked for a full-day), overnight accommodations (if travelling 2 or more hours for a visit), and/or travel by bus or car-share (if without access to a vehicle), to be provided at the expense of the hosting school.

Virtual visits: Many of our writers have adapted their presentations for synchronous delivery to the classroom through video conferencing software.
     Virtual visits are an excellent option for schools with access to a stable internet connection.

Investors and Partners

The Writers’ Federation of Nova Scotia recognizes the Province of Nova Scotia’s support for our Writers in the Schools (WITS) program. We are pleased to offer this program with investments from the Department of Education and Early Childhood Development and Arts Nova Scotia. We are also grateful to Cabot Trail Writers Festival, Hackmatack Children’s Choice Book Award, and Read by the Sea’s Writing on Fire program for their recurring partnership in providing opportunities for WITS authors.

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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