Fiction (children's)

Janice Walsh-Cruddas

“Play” is one of Janice Walsh-Cruddas’ favourite words and learning tools and she incorporates it in her writing, teaching, and performance for children and young adults. She has written and directed over 20 plays, including the NS Human Rights Commission’s award-winning project ARC (Action, Responsibility, Choice), The Kerplunk in the Kingdom (a musical commissioned by the Children’s Wish Foundation), and the Atlantic Fringe Festival hit, A Wee Drop of Aesop. As a children’s programmer with Halifax Public libraries for over 20 years, a former co-host of the radio show “Music for Young Earth Citizens” (with her 6-year-old son), and the founder of MITE Theatre, “Jan-Jan” has helped youth discover delight in Shakespeare, singing, theatre games, and the joyful act of communicating. Her book, Bird’s the Word!, has elicited giggles and yays from hundreds of budding wonders. She is humbled and grateful to be a Treaty person who reads, sings and plays in K’jipuktuk (Halifax, Nova Scotia), the ancestral and unceded territory of Mi’kma’ki, the traditional land of the Mi’kmaq people.

Sarah Butland


Sarah Butland is a thriving freelance writer and reporter, an author loved by enough readers to make it worthwhile and a discombobulated conundrum who loves to hear new music, tell new tales and meet new authors. The recipient of a Writers Federation of New Brunswick competition with Blood Day the Short Story, her love of writing knows no genre. With articles and book reviews published in Maritime (EDIT), AH! At Home on the North Short, Atlantic Books Today, with some work with Pictou Advocate, Butland thrives through deadlines and diversity.

As a full time employee besides, and a mother to one young book lover, Butland volunteers with the Read by the Sea Literary Festival committee, hosts local workshops and manages the Pictou County Writers – New and Experienced Facebook group, highlighting the vast amount of talent on the North Shore.

Lori Weber

Lori Weber is the author of nine young adult novels, including The Ribbon Leaf (Red Deer Press), a historical novel set in WWII, which won the 2023 Canadian Jewish Literary Award and was nominated for the Red Maple Award and the Geoffrey Bilson Award; Yellow Mini (Fitzhenry & Whiteside), a novel in verse; and Deep Girls (Dancing Cat Books), a short-story collection. She has also published two middle grade novels, Lightning Lou (Dancing Cat Books) and Picture me (James Lorimer), as well as one picture book, My Granny Loves Hockey (Simply Read Books). She has also published short fiction, poetry, and non-fiction in several Canadian literary journals. She holds a BA in Creative Writing and English from Concordia University, an MA in English from Acadia University, and a Diploma in Education from McGill. A native Montrealer, she lived for several years in Atlantic Canada where she taught English in Nova Scotia and Newfoundland. Upon returning to Montreal in 1994, she taught English at Vanier College before moving to John Abbott College in 1996, a position she retired from in 2020. She has delivered workshops in writing for teens through the Quebec Writers’ Federation, and has been their young adult fiction mentor for many years. She has represented Quebec twice for TD Canadian Book Week and has been offering classroom workshops around Quebec as a member of the Culture-in-the-Schools and Artists Inspire Programs since 2005. After retiring, Lori returned to Nova Scotia, where she currently lives in Dartmouth.

Michelle Robinson

Michelle Robinson is the bestselling author of over 40 children’s books including ‘The World Made a Rainbow’, ‘She Rex’, ‘There’s a Lion in my Cornflakes’, ‘A Beginner’s Guide to Bearspotting’, ‘Red Lorry, Yellow Lorry’, the ‘Goodnight Spaceman’ series and many, many more. Her books are published all over the world and feature in Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library and the BookTrust Book Start scheme.

Michelle moved to Tatamagouche, Nova Scotia from England in 2021. She is a hugely popular author in the UK, where she spent over a decade regularly performing in schools, libraries and at literary festivals. She loves visiting schools and is passionate about nurturing a love of literacy through encouraging reading and writing for pleasure.

“The kids got so much out of it – and the staff were buzzing, too!”
– Heronswood Primary School

“Thank you SO much for an amazing, interactive, ​exciting and inspiring morning. We LOVED it!”
– St Pius-X Catholic Primary School

“All the children and staff thought you were just beyond AMAZING.
They couldn’t believe what a fantastic experience it was. You are the best author we have ever had! THANK YOU so much!”
– Woodbank Primary School

Habiba Cooper Diallo

Habiba Cooper Diallo is the author of #BlackInSchool. She was a finalist in the 2020 Bristol Short Story Prize. She was also one of six finalists in the 2018 London Book Fair Pitch Competition. She is a women’s health advocate passionate about bringing an end to a maternal health condition called obstetric fistula. You can find her on Twitter @haalabeeba

Mere Joyce

Mere Joyce is an author of books for young adults. Her writing includes contemporary tales, high-action mysteries, fairy-tale fantasies, and her personal favorite–ghost stories. When she’s not writing, Mere can be found teaching library studies, or spending time at home with her family outside of Antigonish. She’s also been known to be a selective, yet highly enthusiastic fangirl.

Sara Jewell

Author of a children’s picture book and two books of nonfiction for adults

Freelance magazine writer

Substitute Teacher, elementary school

Licensed lay worship leader, United Church of Canada

Bachelor of Arts (honours) English and Bachelor of Education from Queen’s University, Kingston, ON

Danielle Metcalfe-Chenail

Danielle Metcalfe-Chenail is a multi-passionate, multi-genre author of several books who loves telling hidden, inclusive stories for audiences of all ages.

Danielle’s latest picture book, Freddie the Flyer is coming out in Fall 2023 from Tundra Books. It’s co-authored with Gwich’in pilot Fred Carmichael, and will feature the beautiful illustrations of Inuvialuit artist Audrea Wulf.

Her first chapter book – Fever on the Forgotten Coast – is out on submission, as is her first women’s fiction book, The 500 Year Flood.

In 2022, with the support of a Canada Council Creation Grant and Access Copyright Professional Development Grant, she will return to her creative nonfiction book about trauma, family, and the largest Indian Hospital in Canada.

If you’re looking for a sharp-eyed cheerleader to help you with editing and coaching, Danielle will help you through the writing and publishing journey with empathy and encouragement. Please contact her directly to discuss working together.

Camilla Thompson

Camilla Thompson is an author, educator and storyteller on a mission to improve mental health education and literacy across Canada. As the director of Sunnyside Self Wellness and author of Skating Late, Camilla introduces people of all ages and abilities to writing and wellness practices proven to increase peace, positivity, health and happiness, and shares inspiring stories of hope determination and community involvement.

Camilla’s debut book, Skating Late, is a work of Canadiana in children’s literature that features a confident and creative gender neutral fox that all Canadian kids can relate to. Parents, teachers and grandparents will love to read this tale aloud, but it is best enjoyed when recited by the author during class visits and community events.

“After sleeping in and waking up to a Canadian conundrum, Skating Late to school is the only solution. Facing some slippery situations along the way, is it possible to make it on time? Skating Late is a fast paced adventure full of danger, dread and determination! Strap on your skates, buckle your helmet, and prepare yourself for a wild ride!”

As a dynamic educator and entertaining storyteller with a passion for whole self wellness and mental health education, Camilla is excited to visit classrooms and communities across Canada sharing her Sunnyside stories and introducing the writing and wellness practices that have been life enriching at her best times and life saving during her most difficult trials.

Camilla is a disability entrepreneur returning to the workforce after her career was interrupted by kidney disease and the Covid 19 pandemic. During her three year healing hiatus, Camilla dedicated herself to her writing and studies. She wishes to thank The Halifax Humanities Society for offering free education in the humanities to Nova Scotians who face barriers to traditional education. This life changing educational opportunity is based on The Foundation Year Programme offered by the University of King’s College, and is is made possible by the generosity of local professors who donate their time and tutelage to help participants develop as writers, speakers and thinkers.

Camilla’s second book, Canada’s Ocean Letdown, is the story of a Come From Away grandchild who has an unfortunate introduction to the shores of Nova Scotia when they are stung by a jellyfish, attacked by swarm of mosquitoes and have to eat a peanut butter and SAND sandwich picnic for lunch. Her storytelling performances of this tale are receiving lots of laughs across the province. It will be illustrated by Canadiana artist Bonnie Lemaire and published in March of 2024.

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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