Poetry (Adult)

John Wall Barger

After a few years in the U.S., John Wall Barger grew up in Nova Scotia, and then moved away to Vancouver, Ottawa, Rome, Prague, and Dublin. He lived in the north end of Halifax for many years. Over the last ten years, he has taken part in many readings and workshops across Canada.

His poems have appeared in many journals internationally, including The Cincinnati Review, Rattle, The Malahat Review, and Geist. He was included in The Best Canadian Poetry (2008 and 2015), and The Montreal Prize Global Poetry Anthology (2011 and 2013).

John’s second book of poems, Hummingbird (Palimpsest Press, 2012), was nominated for the Raymond Souster Award. His most recent collection, The Book of Festus (Palimpsest Press, 2015), was recently shortlisted for the JM Abraham Poetry Award. Judge’s comments: “Polyphonic, densely textured, ranging over the city of Halifax in vast time and in space, The Book of Festus is an ambitious and original contribution to the poetry of Atlantic Canada and to the poetry of cities. Through Festus, a personification of the city’s energies and its search for itself, Wall Barger depicts the sordid as well as the healthful dimensions of the city, interweaving geological, historical, ecological, and social motifs. Festus, like epic heroes of old, is on a quest. In this dazzlingly allusive, thoroughly contemporary version of epic, Wall Barger brings the city alive in all its complexity.”

“Anyone who writes with the flourish and intensity of John Wall Barger deserves to be read and re-read. His ability to linger over a scene, to ruminate over its history and give himself over to the poetic impulse is complete and genuine.” -The Malahat Review

Brian Bartlett

Brian Bartlett was born in St. Stephen, New Brunswick, in 1953, grew up in Fredericton, lived for 15 years in Montreal, and moved to Halifax in 1990 to teach creative writing and literature at Saint Mary’s University. He will retire from teaching in June 2018. He has published seven collections and six chapbooks of poems, as well as Wanting the Day:Selected Poems, which was published internationally (by Peterloo Poets of Cornwall, England, and Goose Lane Editions in Canada) and won the 2004 Atlantic Poetry Prize. His other honours have inclued two Malahat Review Long Poem Prizes, first prize in the Petra Kenney poetry awards, and the 2009 Acorn-Plantos Award for People’s Poetry. In 2014 Fitzhenry & Whiteside published his first book of prose, Ringing Here & There: A Nature Calendar (a 366-paragraph book of days going from April 1st to the following March 31st), followed by Branches Over Ripples: A Waterside Journal (Gaspereau Press, 2017), a “plein air” experiment, drafted outdoors by various bodies of water (lakes, rivers, brooks, ponds, marshes, bays, waterfalls, etc.). A selection of Brian’s prose on poetry from over two decades is gathered together in All Manner of Tackle: Living with Poetry (Palimpsest, 2017).

He has also edited the Collected Poems of Alden Nowlan; a book of prose, Don McKay: Essays on His Works; selections of poetry: Earthly Pages: The Poetry of Don Domanski and, all from The Porcupine’s Quill, The Essential James Reaney, The Essential Robert Gibbs, and The Essential Dorothy Roberts; and The Child Alone, an anthology of childhood poems from which parents and other adults are largely marginalized or excluded. His wife is Karen Dahl, a Halifax Regional Library system manager, and their two children are Josh and Laura.


Suzannah Showler

Suzannah Showler is a poet and nonfiction writer.

She is the author of the poetry collections Thing is (McClelland & Stewart 2017) and Failure to Thrive (ECW 2014). Her most recent book, Most Dramatic Ever (ECW 2018), a book of cultural criticism about the reality TV show The Bachelor, was featured in places like The New York Times, The New Yorker, The Globe & Mail, and CBC Books.  

You can read her writing in The New York Times Magazine, The WalrusSlate, Buzzfeed Reader, Hazlitt, Maisonneuve, and more.



After 10 years in BC, Saskatchewan, Ohio, and Ontario, Suzannah is thrilled to be returning to Halifax.

Rita Wilson

Rita Wilson is a former elementary school teacher and author of the newly published, A Pocket of Time, a children’s book about the poet, Elizabeth Bishop’s childhood in Great Vilage, Nova Scotia.

She is currently working on a collection of poetry about the importance of place in our lives, from her vantage point on the Caribou River. She has published non-fiction in Saltscapes Magazine, poetry in various publications, and is one of the founders of Writing on Fire, promoting writing experiences for teens on the North Shore. She finds pleasure in her garden, the beach, books, her children and grandchildren, and the company of friends.

David Huebert

A Halifax-born writer and educator, David Huebert’s work has won the CBC Short Story Prize, The Walrus Poetry Prize, and has received two honourable mentions from the National Magazine Awards. David’s fiction debut, Peninsula Sinking, won the Jim Connors Dartmouth Book Award (fiction), was shortlisted for the Alistair MacLeod Short Fiction Prize, and was runner-up for the Danuta Gleed Literary Award. His poetry debut, We Are No Longer The Smart Kids In Class, appeared in 2015. David’s poems and stories have been published in magazines such as The Walrus, The New Quarterly, and Canadian Notes & Queries. His chapbook, Full Mondegreens (with Andy Verboom) won the Frog Hollow Chapbook contest in 2016. In 2018, David completed his PhD at Western University, where his research focused on human-animal love in American literature. In fall 2020, he will publish his second book of poems, Humanimus, with Palimpsest. David lives in K’jipuktuk (Halifax) where he teaches and writes.

Kate Watson

Kate Watson is a freelance writer. She is the theatre critic for Halifax’s alternative weekly newspaper The Coast. She is also a columnist and reporter for the Dartmouth/Cole Harbour and Halifax/Clayton Park weeklies.

She has written pieces for Our Children, Rural Delivery, Our Times, and Halifax Magazine, among others. She frequently does book reviews for Atlantic Books Today.

Kate also writes poetry and fiction, and has had her poems published in Ascent Aspirations and Regina Weese. She has a short story coming out in A Maritime Christmas, published by Nimbus in the fall of 2008.


Shauntay Grant


Shauntay Grant is a writer and performance artist from Halifax, Nova Scotia. She teaches creative writing at Dalhousie University, and as Halifax’s third poet laureate she organized Canada’s first national gathering of Canadian poets laureate. An award-winning author of children’s literature, Shauntay’s picture book Africville with illustrator Eva Campbell was a finalist for a 2018 Governor General’s Literary Award and a 2019 Ruth and Sylvia Schwartz Children’s Book Award. Her other honours include a Best Atlantic-Published Book prize from the Atlantic Book Awards, a Poet of Honour prize from Spoken Word Canada, and a Joseph S. Stauffer Prize from the Canada Council for the Arts.

Shauntay’s work has earned her invitations to present at local and international events including Canada’s national Word On The Street festivals, the Vancouver Writers Festival, Ottawa’s Versefest, Moncton’s Frye Festival, Toronto’s Luminato Festival, Australia’s National Young Writers’ Festival, the Jamaica Poetry Festival, and the 10th Anniversary Launch of the Freedom Schooner Amistad in Havana, Cuba. Her plays have been presented by 2b theatre (Halifax), Neptune Theatre (Halifax), Eastern Front Theatre (Halifax), Black Theatre Workshop (Montreal), and b current (Toronto). Her poems have been published in several anthologies and literary journals including the Fieldstone Review and Contemporary Verse 2: The Canadian Journal of Poetry and Critical Writing.

Shauntay is a descendant of Black Loyalists, Jamaican Maroons, and Black Refugees who came to Canada during the 18th and 19th centuries. Her love of language stretches back to her storytelling roots in Nova Scotia’s historic Black communities, and her homegrown artistic practice embraces African Nova Scotian history and folk culture, as well as contemporary approaches to literature and performance. She is a multidisciplinary artist with professional degrees and training in creative writing, music, and theatre. Connect with her on Facebook or join the Mailing List to stay updated on her latest news.


  • My Hair Is Beautiful (Nimbus, 2019)
  • Africville (Groundwood, 2018)
  • The Walking Bathroom (Nimbus, 2017)
  • Apples and Butterflies (Nimbus, 2012).
  • The City Speaks In Drums (Nimbus, 2010)
  • Up Home (Nimbus, 2008).


  • Governor General’s Literary Award finalist; Ruth and Sylvia Schwartz Children’s Book Awards finalist; Joseph S. Stauffer Prize; Ann Connor Brimer Award finalist; Spoken Word Canada Poet of Honour; Best Atlantic Published Book Prize; Hackmatack Awards finalist.

Andre Fenton

Andre Fenton is an award-winning African Nova Scotian author, spoken-word artist, and arts educator who has represented Halifax at seven national poetry festivals across Canada. He was the 2015 recipient of The Spirit of The Slam Award. Andre is an author of two YA novels, Worthy of Love, which won bronze in The Coast Best of, and was selected for In The Margins annual Fiction Recommendation List to highlight best fiction and non-fiction titles focused on youth populations living in marginalized existences. He is also the author of ANNAKA that was shortlisted for the Ann Connor Brimer Award for Atlantic Canadian Children’s Literature in the 2021 Atlantic Book Awards. Through the lens of fiction and poetry, Andre has facilitated workshops at over 30 schools across Nova Scotia helping young writers and performers develop their craft. He is currently working on his third novel, The Summer Between Us, and a feature screenplay. Andre is based in Halifax, Nova Scotia

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