Non-fiction (Adult)

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.

Rebecca Rose

Rebecca Rose is the author of Before the Parade: A History of Halifax’s Gay, Lesbian, and Bisexual Communities (1972-1984), published by Nimbus Publishing. Before the Parade is a narrative non-fiction account of 2SLGB community and activism of 1970s and 80s Halifax/K’jipuktuk and features over 30 interviews with local 2SLGB elders. Rebecca was shortlisted for The Evelyn Richardson Non-Fiction Award for Before the Parade in 2021.

Rebecca is a sought after speaker and has hosted workshops or given keynote speeches for groups including: The MacPhee Centre For Creative Learning, the Nova Scotia Secondary School Students’ Association (NSSSA), the Canadian Centre for Gender and Sexual Diversity, the Toronto Metropolitan University School of Journalism, the Canadian Association of Labour Media (CALM), the Nova Scotia Rainbow Action Project, the Nova Scotia Public Interest Research Group (NSPIRG), and the Canadian Union of Public Employees.

A graduate of the Toronto Metropolitan University School of Journalism, Rebecca has written for publications such as: The Coast, Xtra, OurTimes magazine, Rabble.ca, and OUT: Queer Looking, Queer Acting Revisited. In 2018, The Coast named the 2016 article “Before the Parade” one of the 30 most important things they’ve ever published. 

Born in Cape Breton and raised in Dartmouth, Rebecca now lives in the hills of Dartmouth with her partner and cat.

Michelle Hébert

One day when Michelle was in Grade 8, her English teacher asked her to stay behind after class. Michelle sat at her desk with her heart pounding in her ears – she was terrified he’d found the smutty note she and her friends had been passing during class. Her teacher closed the door behind the other students, walked back to front of the classroom, and picked some loose-leaf off his desk. His voice (and Michelle’s words) echoed in the empty classroom as he read aloud from an assignment she’d written. He set the paper down, folded his arms, and said, “If you become anything but a writer, it will be a waste.”

Those words have hung over her like a curse since 1985.

Since then, Michelle’s earned a degree in journalism from King’s and a Master of Social Work from Dal. She’s worked across Canada as a freelance journalist, and her writing has appeared in The Coast, Mothering magazine, New Maritimes, and various small-town newspapers. She’s also written and recorded documentaries and audio essays for CBC radio. Sometimes, she’s supported herself by writing prosaic but useful reports for governments and community organizations. Her book Enriched by Catastrophe: Social Work and Social Conflict After the Halifax Explosion was published by Fernwood in 2007. She was a presenting author at Word on the Street in 2009. She really wanted to phone her old English teacher to let him know.

Michelle lives with PTSD. This has slowed her writing progress over the years, but it’s also given her a unique perspective and resilience.  She’s recently completed a novel about generational trauma, superstition, and what happens when everything we believe in fails us.

Michelle lives in Halifax with her two teenagers, four cats, and a dog.

Sara Jewell

Author & freelance writer

Licensed lay worship leader, United Church of Canada

Substitute teacher, elementary and secondary

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

Kelly S Thompson

Kelly S. Thompson is a writer and retired officer in the Canadian Armed Forces. Kelly has a Honours Bachelor degree in Professional Writing from York University, a certificate in Publishing from Ryerson University, a master’s in Creative Writing from the University of British Columbia, and is completing a PhD in Literary and Critical Studies, Creative Writing, at the University of Gloucestershire in the UK, where she examines representations of grief and trauma in memoir.

Kelly’s work has won awards in a variety of genres. She won the House of Anansi Press Golden Anniversary Award for Fiction, the 2014 and 2017 Barbara Novak Award for Personal Essay, and was shortlisted for Room magazine’s 2013 and 2014 Creative Nonfiction awards, placing 2nd in the 2019 contest. Her essays have appeared in anthologies across Canada, including Boobs, by Caitlin Press, Embedded on the Home Front, with Heritage House and Everyday Heroes with Simon & Schuster.

Her work has appeared in literary magazines across the country and her professional writing has been printed in Chatelaine, Maclean’s, The Globe and Mail, and more. Her article on military sexual harassment titled “Battle Fatigue,” was runner up for Feature Article of the Year with the Professional Writers Association of Canada. She was also nominated for a National Magazine Award in 2022.

Her memoir Girls Need Not Apply: Field Notes from the Forces with Penguin Random House Canada, was an instant Globe and Mail bestseller and declared one of the top 100 books of 2019 by the Globe and Mail.

Kelly also teaches writing to all levels, having run after-school writing programs for teenage  girls, creative writing classes for children, and taught Creative Writing and Communications at Trent University. She now teaches at the University of King’s Creative Non Fiction. She also developed and runs classes for Royal Roads University and Loyalist College.

Kelly’s next memoir, Still, I Cannot Save You, will release with McClelland & Stewart in January, 2023.

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.

Scroll to Top

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