WITS grades 7-9

Sarah Sawler

Sarah Sawler is the award-winning author of three books: 100 Things You Don’t Know About Nova Scotia; 100 Things You Don’t Know About Atlantic Canada – For Kids; and the Moonbeam Spirit Award-winning Be Prepared: The Frankie MacDonald Guide to Life, the Weather, and Everything (with Frankie MacDonald). Both middle grade books were nominated for the 2019/2020 Hackmatack Awards. Be Prepared was also nominated for a 2018 Yellow Cedar Award (Forest of Reading).

When they’re not writing books, Sarah is working as a publicist for graphic novel publisher Conundrum Press, reviewing children’s literature, writing web content for tech companies. They live in Nova Scotia with their partner, two kids, three cats, one dog, and one bearded dragon.

Julian Smith

Julian Mortimer Smith has published more than a dozen science fiction and fantasy stories in some of the world’s top speculative fiction magazines, including Asimov’sTerraform, Lightspeed, and Best American Science Fiction & Fantasy. His first collection, The World of Dew and Other Stories, will be published in 2021 by Indiana University Press. Julian is a member of the Science Fiction & Fantasy Writers of America (SFWA) and SF Canada.

Julian lives in Yarmouth and spends his days writing copy for a web design company. He previously made a living as a freelance editor, working on projects ranging from romance novels to board games. When he lived in Edinburgh he worked as the books section editor of The Skinny, a Scottish arts and entertainment magazine.

In 2017, Julian led the “So You Want to Write Science Fiction” session at the WFNS in Halifax along with Professor Jason Hazlam. In April 2018, he led the four-week “Out of Your Head, Onto the Page” workshop at Waves of Confetti Creative Space in Yarmouth. He has also delivered workshops at schools throughout Southwest Nova as part of the Writers in the Schools program and has been an invited panel speaker at Hal-Con.

Julian has a bachelor’s degree in English literature from McGill Univeristy in Montreal and a Master’s in Communication and Culture from York University in Toronto. You can find out more about his writing at his website: http://julianmortimersmith.com/

Sarah Mian

Sarah Mian’s debut novel, When the Saints, won the Jim Connors Book Award, the Margaret & John Savage First Book Award, and was a finalist for the Stephen Leacock Medal for Humour. She recently co-wrote the screenplay adaptation for Lady Hammond Entertainment, and is now working on her second novel, The World in Awful Sleep.

Alice Walsh

Alice Walsh graduated fron St. Mary’s University with a degree in Criminology and English, and from Acadia with a master’s degree in Children’s Literature. She has worked as a preschool teacher, probation officer, creative writing instructor and hospital ward clerk.

Alice has written numerous articles and short stories for newspapers, magazines and literary journals, and has written educational material for various publications. Her published work includes a non-fiction book for adults, as well as four children’s books. She has won the Childen’s Book Centre Our Choice Award and has been nominated twice for the Hackmatack Award. In 2005, her book Pomiuk; Prince of the North won the Ann Connor Brimer award.

Marjorie Simmins

Marjorie Simmins is the author of four non-fiction titles: Coastal Lives (2014);  Year of the Horse (2016), Memoir: Conversations and Craft (2020), and Somebeachsomewhere: The Harness Racing Legend from a One-Horse Stable (2021).

Simmins began her career as a freelance journalist in Vancouver, appearing regularly in the Vancouver Sun and writing for trade magazines. She also published numerous essays and articles in magazines and newspapers across Canada, and in the United States, and has stories in Canadian and American anthologies. She has won a Gold Medal at the National Magazine Awards for “One-of-a-Kind Journalism,” and two Gold Medals at the Atlantic Journalism Awards for Best Atlantic Magazine Article, and in Arts and Entertainment, Any Medium.

In November 2020, she was awarded the prestigious Established Artist Recognition Award by Arts Nova Scotia.

Among the magazines Simmins has written for are: Canadian Living, Magazines Canada, United Church Observer, Halifax Magazine, Progress, Atlantic Business, and Saltscapes. She is a regular reviewer for The Antigonish Review and Atlantic Books Today. She has also written feature interviews for The Reporter, the community newspaper in Port Hawkesbury, NS.

Marjorie Simmins has a Bachelor of Arts in English Literature from the University of British Columbia, a Certificate in Adult Education from Dalhousie University, and a Research Master of Arts in Literacy Education, at Mount Saint Vincent University. She teaches memoir writing across Canada, at venues such as at the UBC Alumni Centre, in Vancouver, BC (2016); at StoryFest, in Hudson, QC (2017); at Thinkers Lodge, Pugwash, NS (2014-2019); and the Fortress of Louisbourg, NS (2019). Recently, she has begun to teach coast to coast (still waiting for the north coast!) Zoom workshops.

In September 2020, Simmins took part in the Cabot Trail Writers Festival, as a panellist and workshop leader. The following spring of 2021, Simmins was honoured to serve as a reader for the 2021 CBC Non-Fiction Prize.

 

Sherry D. Ramsey

Sherry D. Ramsey writes science fiction and fantasy for both adults and young adults, and is one of the founding editors of Cape Breton’s Third Person Press. She has published over thirty short stories nationally and internationally, and her award-winning debut novel, One’s Aspect to the Sun, launched in 2013 from Edmonton’s Tyche Books. The sequels, Dark Beneath the Moon and Beyond the Sentinel Stars (Tyche Books) followed in 2015 and 2017, and a fourth book in the Nearspace series is forthcoming. She has also published the YA fantasy The Seventh Crow (Dreaming Robot Press, 2015), and the middle grade science fiction adventure, Planet Fleep (2018). Some of her short stories are collected in To Unimagined Shores (2011) and The Cache and Other Stories (2017). A collection of stories for young readers, Beacon and Other Stories, came out in 2019. She’s currently adding more titles to her urban fantasy Olympia Investigations series and working on a comic fantasy novel, as well as teaching English courses as a sessional instructor at Cape Breton University.

Sherry has co-edited six anthologies of regional short fiction with Third Person Press and conducted numerous writing workshops in person and online. A member of the Writer’s Federation of Nova Scotia Writer’s Council, Sherry is also a past Vice-President, Secretary-Treasurer, and Web Administrator of SF Canada. She is an active participant with Writers In The Schools and loves talking to students about writing and creativity. You can visit Sherry online, read her blog, follow her on Twitter and Instagram @sdramsey, and find some free fiction and sample chapters on her website.

Philip Moscovitch

I am a freelance writer, editor, and audio producer with a passion for tellng stories.

My book Adventures in Bubbles and Brine (Formac, 2019) explores Nova Scotia fermentation traditions (everything from craft beer to sauerkraut) and the people reviving and reinventing them. Mollie Katzen, author of The Moosewood Cookbook and The Heart of the Plate, says it is a “beautifully written book – which is at once a travel memoir, a weave of lore, histories, and personal tales, and an inspiring recipe collection.” Author and fermentation revivalist Sandor Katz (The Art of Fermentation) calls it “a beautiful window into the culture of fermentation in Nova Scotia! Philip Moscovitch introduces us to old timers carrying on traditions, and to leaders of the province’s contemporary fermentation revival.”

I have been publishing non-fiction for more than 25 years. My work has appeared in dozens of publications, including The Walrus, Saltscapes, Reader’s Digest, The Globe and Mail, The Gazette (Montreal), Halifax Magazine, East Coast Living, The Halifax Examiner, DAL Magazine, The Coast, Atlantic Books Today, My Halifax Experience, American Craft, Atlantic Co-operator, Canadian Co-operator, Tablet, Best Health, Shambhala Sun, Concordia Magazine, Maroon and White (SMU), Queen’s Alumni Review, York U Magazine, Equinox (remember Equinox?), Farm Credit Canada Express, OpenFile, Optimyz, Canadian Screenwriter, Playback, The Big Frame, Canadian Bar Association National magazine, Les carrières de l’ingénierie, and Les carrières du droit.

I have contributed essays to the non-fiction books Dogs With Jobs, Saltlines, and  Look Ahead, Get Ahead: Growing Career Opportunities for Technicians and Technologists (this one was a lot more fun than it sounds).

For five years, I was the editor of Canadian Screenwriter magazine, and I’ve been a writer and story editor for several documentaries. As an audio producer, my work has aired both regionally and nationally on CBC Radio.

While my focus is mostly non-fiction, I have also published short fiction and poetry, and for 14 years I wrote the beloved Daisy Dreamer comic for Chickadee magazine.

My interests are broad. I’ve written about everything from professional wrestling to mental health, and from food to art. My short feature Small-town Smackdown,written for The Walrus, was a National Magazine Award finalist.

I recently graduated from the University of King’s College MFA in Creative Non-fiction program, and am working on a book about new understandings of serious mental illness, as well as a longer upper-elementary fantasy graphic novel series.

In addition to my work in fiction and non-fiction, I am also available to write for organizations in the corporate, government, and non-profit sectors. My clients have included the National Film Board, the Canadian Labour Congress, and numerous independent film producers.

Monica Graham

Monica Graham is the author of several non-fiction books. Her newest, Senior Moment (Nimbus), an almost-humorous account of finding residential care for her aging mother, came out in the spring of 2021.  In the Spirit, Reflections on Everyday Grace, is a collection of some of the best columns she wrote over eight years for the Chronicle Herald religion page. Cradle of Knowledge: Pictou Academy 1816-2016 tells the history of the 200-year-old school.  A columnist as well as a freelance journalist and photographer, Monica has had her work published by the Halifax Chronicle Herald, Rural Delivery, Atlantic Business Magazine, The Pictou Advocate, Canadian Living, Trident, The Atlantic Fisherman, and other publications. She is a member of the Writers in the Schools program, and also presents writing and storytelling workshops for adults and literacy groups. Monica served as writer-in-residence at Pictou Antigonish Regional Library in 2011-12; and at Berton House in Dawson City, YT, in 2008. She lives in the woods in Pictou County, NS, with her husband, a dog, and visiting bears, deer and people. between She is working on an historical novel and a collection of short stories.

Sylvia Gunnery

Sylvia Gunnery has published over 25 books for teens and children as well as professional resources for teachers of writing. A recipient of a Prime Minister’s Teaching Award, she has presented at conferences, libraries, and schools across Canada.  Since the spring of 2020, she has also enjoyed working virtually with adult writers and students through workshops, mentorships, and WITS visits.  Road Signs That Say West, her most recent YA novel, is published by Pajama Press.  In 2022, she will be a speaker at Reading For the Love of It in Toronto:    http://www.readingfortheloveofit.com/brochure.html  Sylvia lives at Crescent Beach, on the South Shore of Nova Scotia where she’s working on a Ya series of linked stories, what I know about next.

Deirdre Dwyer

Deirdre Dwyer has been writing poetry since her teacher taught her about haiku in grade six. In the meantime, she’s worked as an English as a Second Language teacher in Tokyo, a Creative Writing instructor in Halifax, a Sessional Instructor of English in Windsor and a bookseller. Deirdre holds an MA in English and Creative Writing from the University of Windsor, and was a founding member of the Bourbon Street Poetry Society. She has worked with the Hope for Wildlife Society, a wildlife rehabilitation facility on the Eastern Shore. Deirdre was also Coordinator of the Musquodoboit Harbour Farmers’ Market. She was chair of the Musquodoboit Harbour and Area Community Association, and has been writing prose about her three years in Japan and her subsequent travels & a writing workshop in Iceland in 2019.

When she visits schools, she can talk about the differences between Japanese and North American cultures, discuss Nova Scotian wildlife, show pictures of some of the wildlife she met at Hope for Wildlife, do writing exercises relating to either prose or poetry connected to these discussions, and read and discuss her own work with the students. She can also discuss life in Iceland, publishing in journals & books.

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