Genre

Jan Morrison

Jan Morrison’s poems have appeared in  literary journals such as Grain, Pottersfield Portfolio, and Newfoundland Quarterly. Her plays, States of Grace; Death, the MusicalShroom!Fields of Crimson; and Mrs. Finney’s Hat have been staged at The Chester Playhouse; Neptune Theatre; The Halifax Fringe Festival;  and Eastern Front Theatre. She has recently had her debut novel published by Boulder Books – The Crooked Knife. When not writing Jan likes to garden and ramble the shore near her home in Prospect, NS.

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

Sharon English

Sharon English is the author of the newly released novel Night in the World (Freehand Books), as well as two collections of short stories, Uncomfortably Numb and Zero Gravity. Zero Gravity was longlisted for the Giller Prize and ReLit Award, included in the Globe & Mail‘s Top 100 titles for the year, and recently translated into Serbian. Night in the World has been described as “a splendid and searing novel, pressed up against the tremours of our times.”

Sharon’s stories and essays have also appeared in numerous journals, including Best Canadian Stories, Canadian Notes & Queries, and Dark Mountain in Britain. She was guest co-editor of the Winter 2020 special issue of CNQ, “Writing in an Age of Unravelling,” which featured writing that responds to ecological crisis.

Originally from London, ON, for over 20 years Sharon lived in Toronto and taught creative writing at Innis College, University of Toronto, where she now serves as part-time Assistant Professor, Teaching Stream, in the Writing & Rhetoric program. A research team member of the Persephone Project, Sharon has been dedicated to re-imagining our relationship to home in the context of ecological and social crisis, and to pursuing writing and storytelling that aligns with the natural world. Her courses involve workshop-based and experiential learning.

Sharon has split her time between Toronto and Nova Scotia for years, and moved with her family in 2021 to an old farm on the Shubenacadie River.

 

 

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

Joanne Gallant

Joanne Gallant is a writer and registered nurse living in Halifax, Nova Scotia. Her debut book, A Womb in the Shape of a Heart: My Story of Miscarriage and Motherhood (Nimbus Publishing, 2021) was nominated for the Margaret and John Savage First Book Award. She’s had essays published in ‘Mutha Magazine’ (2021) and ‘Oh Reader Magazine’ (2021), and her book reviews have been featured in The Miramichi Reader.

Joanne was raised in Fall River, Nova Scotia by her parents, both schoolteachers, who created a home-life centered around curiosity and storytelling. Her father, a Guyanese immigrant, often shared memories from his childhood to Joanne and her siblings. He told stories about wild turtles and monkeys roaming the streets of Georgetown, and days spent eating stalks of sugarcane plucked from the side of the road. Joanne’s mother, an English teacher, made regular trips to the library where she could find the perfect book for anyone. A deeply creative person, she often crafted poems to make her family laugh and made beautiful paintings as gifts.

Joanne obtained a Biology degree from Mount Allison University in 2008 and a Nursing degree from the University of Alberta in 2011. She has been working as a registered nurse at the IWK Health Centre since 2012 and her work as a pediatric nurse continues to be challenging, fulfilling, and her experiences as a nurse teaches her so much about life.

Although Joanne went into nursing as her profession, she has always been a writer working on stories and poems that she mostly kept to herself. She kept a diary from the time she was nine years old until she was an adult, and writing has always been a way for her to process anything she was struggling with. Following a difficult journey to motherhood, having endured multiple miscarriages, Joanne turned to the familiar comfort of writing to cope with the grief and loss she experienced. It was these pages of writing that would later turn into her debut book. Since she began writing her story, Joanne has spoken about miscarriages on TV and radio interviews, podcasts, and online, hoping to give voice to others who may also struggling and to normalize the conversation about disenfranchised grief.

Joanne was an apprentice writer in the 2020 Alistair MacLeod Mentorship Program and worked under the guidance of author and poet Carole Glasser Langille. She’s participated in workshops led by local writers including Stephanie Domet and Michelle Butler Hallett, and is always looking for ways to connect with the Atlantic Canada writing community. Some of her favourite books from local authors published in the last year include The Sister’s Tale by Beth Powning, Beneath Her Skin by C.S. Porter, and Alexander MacLeod’s latest collection, Animal Person.

Joanne has recently taken up sewing with her grandmother’s antique sewing machine and each spring she tries in vain to grow tomatoes from seed. She lives near the ocean with her husband, their five-year-old-son, and spirited dog, Maddy.

Carolyn Jean Nicholson

My interest is in researching and writing historical fiction and non-fiction. My book, William Forsyth: Land of Hopes and Dreams – a story from early Nova Scotia, was published in 2021 and my second book has the working title Traitors, Cannibals, Highlanders, and Vikings. It’s about the people who came to Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island in the 1700s and early 1800s. It is due to be published in March 2023.

K.R. Byggdin

K.R. Byggdin’s writing has received support from the Canada Council for the Arts and has appeared in anthologies and journals across Canada, the UK, and New Zealand. Their debut novel, Wonder World, was honed under the Writers’ Federation of Nova Scotia’s Alistair MacLeod Mentorship Program and the Banff Centre’s Emerging Writers Intensive, and was published by Enfield & Wizenty in 2022. Born and raised on the Prairies, they now live on the East Coast where they recently completed studies in English and Creative Writing at Dalhousie University.

Brenda MacLennan-Dunphy

Writer, director and  producer, Brenda MacLennan-Dunphy has had two novels published by Pottersfield Press as well- Never Speak of This Again (2018) and The Silence of the Vessel (2020), which was nominated for an Atlantic Book Award. Four of Brenda’s plays have been on the stage at Strathspey Place, a 500 soft seat theatre in Mabou, Cape Breton- John Allan Cameron’s Last Show (November 2021), John Archie and Nellie (2016, 2012) , The Weddin’ Dance (2013), and Displacement (2014). Her play The Reiteach was put at two small stages in 2020. She was a featured writer at the 2021 Cabot Trail Writers Festival and also won the HR Bill Percy Novel Prize in 2017 for Never Speak of This Again. Born and raised in Inverness County, the mother of four is a teacher by trade, but a gypsy by nature. She loves to find characters along the way in life. Brenda lives in Skye Glen, Inverness County, with her wonderful and patient husband, Ed.

Morgan Murray

Morgan Murray (he/him) is a settler from the same backwoods central Alberta village as figure-skating legend Kurt Browning (Caroline, AB in Treaty 6 territory). He now lives in the backwoods of Cape Breton (Unama’ki) with his wife, cartoonist Kate Beaton, Mary the toddler, Agnes the dog, Reggie the cat, Peggy the ditch kitten, and Thelma, Louise, Lavern, Shirley and Heidi the chickens.

In between, he has been a farmer, a rancher, a roustabout, a secretary, a reporter, a designer, a Tweeter, a tour guide, a schemer, a variety show host, and a student in Caroline, Calgary, Paris, Prague, Montreal, Chicoutimi, and St. John’s.

He has a BA in Canadian Studies from the University of Calgary, a Certificate in Central and Eastern European Studies from the University of Economics, Prague, a MPhil in Humanities from Memorial University of Newfoundland, and a participation ribbon for beef calf showmanship (incomplete) from the Little Britches 4-H Club, Caroline, Alberta.

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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