News from WFNB

Inkspot 2024 | June Letter from the Director

13 Jun 2024 1:27 PM | Anonymous

Hello Friends and Members 

Overall, WordSpring was a seamless weekend. I’ve been slack about getting the survey out to participants, but I promise to send it out before you forget what you want to say!

We enjoyed lots of great workshops and opportunities to chat and network with other writers. The Empress Theatre in Moncton was a lovely venue for the NB Writing Competition literary soiree. Susan White and Martha Vowles did a great job of keeping the evening humming along. And of course, the NB Book Awards on Saturday night at the Press Club was an exciting, inspiring and fulfilling event, as always. Best wishes to all the talented nominees and winners in our two award ceremonies. I am in awe.

And now, on to the AGM, which took place last evening, June 13 at 7 pm via Zoom. Our registrations are well above quorum, so thank you members, for your quick response to my plaintive cry on Monday. If you are a WFNB member, meeting materials can be found in the forum of our members-only section. Login to the website with your username and password, click Members-Only at the top of the home page, then scroll down the page. The forum is on the right-hand side.

In Memoriam

Gwen Logan Martin

October 31, 1951 - June 6, 2024

Our hearts are heavy to report that we have lost a beloved, longtime member. Gwen Martin passed away on June 6, after a long and valiant battle with cancer. 

Gwen Martin: A Legacy of Courage and Love

Gwen L. Martin was born in England, and lived in three Canadian provinces before moving to the shores of Yoho Lake, near Fredericton. She began her working life as a geologist, adept at revealing the stories buried in stone, then made a living writing and editing for scientists, engineers, politicians, NGOs, artists, and musicians across Canada. She taught writing and editing workshops, authored Our Forest Heritage, a publication for the Province of NB, plus four geology books: Once Upon a Mine, For the Love of Stone (Vols 1 and 2), and Gesner’s Dream, a rollicking good tale of early New Brunswick mining explorations. She won various prizes for her poetry, books and essays, including awards with the Newfoundland Arts and Letters Competition, Canadian Institute of Mining & Metallurgy, Writers’ Federation of New Brunswick, and Geist Magazine.

The written word delighted her in all its genres. Gwen held memberships in PWAC, TWUC, EAC, CWC, and WFNS. She joined WFNB in the 1980s, and remained a fervent supporter throughout the ensuing decades, encouraging other writers, participating in the WiSP program, writing grant applications, organizing workshops, and serving a term on the board of directors. When the ED left suddenly in 2014, she stepped into the role for two years, breathing new life into the organization, increasing membership, securing funding, encouraging young writers, developing a new website, and designing the colourful logo and branding that we have today.

But it was the authentic, graceful and courageous woman of immense depth and genuine love, not the accomplishments, that truly drew people to her. Music flowed through Gwen, finding expression not only in melodic harmonies, but in eloquent prose. She will be remembered for her intelligence and sensitivity, her spontaneity and joie de vivre, her wise counsel, keen perception, natural wit, generous spirit, and the myriad ways in which she elevated and encouraged the creativity in others. She peered into the hearts of those she met and mirrored for them the potential she saw buried there. And we loved her for it. —Deborah Carr

A Handful of Comments:

Zev Bagel (former president): “Gwen Martin was a bright surge of energy lighting up our world. I was honoured to be on the WFNB board of directors with Gwen, and then worked more closely with her when I was President, and she became our acting Executive Director. It was a challenging time for the Writers' Federation. We were at a low financial ebb, and our funding was being cut. Gwen kept us going. She straightened us out financially, inspired us with her notes in InkSpot, and steered us through tough decisions. Given our financial straits, it was remarkable that it was the year we launched, with the Fiddlehead, our first NB Book Awards. Gwen helped keep us on course. We owe a great debt of gratitude to Gwen, and those of us who knew and worked with her over the years have lost a wise, fun-loving, sparkly, energetic and inspirational woman. Thank you, Gwen, for living among us.”

Rayanne Brennan (former president): “I will always remember you as a wisp of a woman but a big ball of energy who jumped up at events to play a mean piano, read a brilliant piece of prose or lead a balloon-popping orchestra to celebrate WFNB’s 30th. You brought such passion to everything you did, as a geologist, writer, WFNB administrator, nature enthusiast…there’s so many things that could be said about you but none can adequately describe the extraordinary, one-of-kind person you were. You leave a rich legacy.”

Deborah Carr: “I have no idea how I'll find my way through, but I know because of you--because of what you’ve taught me and so many others—somehow, the way will become clear. May we all hold in our hearts the ferocious beauty and courage and wisdom that was yours, and let it resonate clearly in our own lives, and echo in the way we love.”

Margaret Eaton: “Gwen was truly a beacon of light. I have wonderful memories of her at what I think was the 30th anniversary of WFNB when she orchestrated a directed a great balloon popping event to the William Tell Overture. Only someone with Gwen’s delightful sense of fun and whimsy could have pulled off such an activity. She was an amazing force of light and life - still is.”

Spencer Folkins (former board member): “Gwen was greatly encouraging of young writers in our province. I appreciated her collaboration. Condolences to her friends and loved ones.”

Cathy Fynn (former ED):  “Gwen's passion and fearlessness transformed the people and causes she loved. She saw through flaws and walls to the purity inside and held it up for us to see and believe in. The world will not be the same without her; she left it a better place.”

Carla Gunn: “What an intelligent, sensitive, delightfully humourous woman she was. And also how beautifully her intellect, humour and sensitivity are reflected in her personal essays. The essay I link here is one of my favourites; she writes: "And so it goes. Rumi’s cozy adage – the wound is where the light enters – misses an essential corollary. Wounds are also where the light departs." So insightful and so very true. A most beautiful light has departed.”

Jane Simpson (former board member and VP): “I do remember her staying over one night when we were hosting some event in Sussex. We sat together at my piano and sang and played back and forth all night. That’s how I’ll remember her. My condolences to her close friends and family.”

Sean Tapley: “She was a positive force in my life, and was the person who encouraged me to start writing. She was making me read Farley Mowatt at just 7 years old (haha). We used to walk through the woods in Yoho together, and she was capable of identifying every bird and rock in the forest. I even travelled with her sometimes while she was interviewing people for Gesner’s Dream. She really shaped me in certain ways. We lost contact not long after her and my grandfather went their separate ways, but I have always had a tremendous amount of love and appreciation for her. I can’t believe she’s gone.”

And a Poem

By Roger Moore

This is my tribute to my friend, Gwen Martin. It is published in The Nature of Art and the Art of Nature. (P. 52)

Gwen Martin

Magnificent the music, Tchaikovsky,

big and booming, balloons blooming,

colored uniforms, gaudy their globules,

our Field-Marshall standing to attention,

surveying the battlefield, her command

post positioned so she can organize

her army’s response. So, here we are, armed

with pins all primed, balloons at the ready.

Here it comes: climax, crescendo, the old

guard preparing that one last charge, Moscow,

behind us, burning, and now … she cries now …

now … pointing to each of one us in turn

and we pin-prick our balloons … now ... now … our

enemies run, Napoleon retreats,

Moscow is saved … glorious music, church

bells ring out in a wondrous finale.

I hope this is a fitting tribute to a great lady in remembrance of a wonderful occasion that demonstrated her strength, creativity, vibrancy, and exceptional skills. I shall miss my very good friend  – Roger Moore

Good memories. Thank you, Gwen.

Upcoming WFNB Events, News, and Requests

Frances Peck online workshop: Show Don’t Tell

July 11, 2024 @ 7 pm AST - Look for the event page next week! 

“Show, don’t tell”—it’s advice writers get all the time. But how exactly do you do it? Rather than tell you all about this key to crackling prose, this workshop shows, through examples and short exercises, how to heed the advice on the page. From balancing narrative passages (that tell) with actions and scenes (that show), to banishing filter words that keep readers at a remove, we’ll explore how “show” techniques make fiction and nonfiction come alive. Bring your work in progress to assess during the exercises if you like.

WFNB Summer Writers’ Retreat

Join writer in residence, Gerald Arthur Moore for a weekend of writing, community, and mentorship. August 23 – 25 - Look for the event page by the end of June.

WordsFall Festival in Sussex, NB

WordsFall will be in Sussex this year, October 25-27 – we will be staying at the Amsterdam Inn. Other locations and our full slate of workshop leaders are to be determined. Stay tuned, but mark the date on your calendar. Look for the event page by the end of July.

Member News

Congratulations, Lisa Alward!

The Writers’ Union of Canada announced today that WFNB member Lisa Alward is the recipient of the $10,000 prize for the 27th annual Danuta Gleed Literary Award, recognizing the best first collection of short fiction by a Canadian author published in 2023 in the English language for Cocktail. Lisa also won the Mrs. Dunster's Fiction Prize this year for this short story collection. You can watch the rest of the TWUC award announcements here.

How's your dialogue?

On June 22nd, WFNB member Shelley Egan is offering an online workshop on how to edit dialogue in fiction through the College of Extended Learning at UNB. Details can be found here, under Writing and Literature.

Input requested:

WFNB member Jerry Iwanus is looking for recommendations re: a book cover designer for his next book. Know a great cover artist? Send the details to

Book Launch: Sly as a Fox by Wendy L. Koenig

WFNB member Denise McClure, who is facilitator of the writers’ group, EXHALE: Grand Falls, is happy to share with you a photo of a group member, Wendy L. Koenig of Drummond. Wendy is launching her book, Sly As a Fox, the second in her Sylvia series, with the third on its way.

Software Launch: Fablehenge

WFNB member, Dusty Phillips of Smithtown is announcing the launch of! This software helps writers manage their outlines, characters, settings, research, and more. Dusty is eager to share it with fellow New Brunswick authors. Key features include a to-do system to keep track of areas of active research, daily word count goals, tagging story elements in scenes, and a huge collection of element templates. Sharing scenes for feedback is coming soon. With a goal to ensure that artificial intelligence supports, rather than replaces, creative writers, the first two AI features to generate outlines and character reference images are already available. The software is available at

We will feature Dusty’s new venture in an upcoming blog post.

Welcome New Members

Louis Anthony Bryan

Louis won third place in our Jane LeBlanc Screenwriting Competition for his short script, “Vertices.” Welcome, Anthony!

Lisa Alward

Lisa Alward is an award-winning fiction writer from Fredericton. Lisa just won the Mrs. Dunster’s fiction prize for her story collection, “Cocktail.” The same collection recently won the Danuta Gleed Literary Award – well done indeed. The book was also longlisted for the 2024 Carol Shields Prize for Fiction. Welcome, Lisa!

Mira Dietz Chiasson

Mira Dietz Chiasson lives in Sackville and writes creative non-fiction, fantasy, fiction, journalism, photography, poetry, short stories. Welcome, Mira!

Liv Mazerolle

Liv Mazerolle is a writer from Moncton who recently placed third in the Douglas Kyle Memorial Prize for Short fiction, for her story, “The Ducks.” She writes Flash/Micro fiction, stories for middle grade, and travel writing. Welcome, Liv!

Cecile Robichaud

Cecile Robichaud writes from Dieppe and enjoys the genres of photography, poetry, songwriting, and spiritual. Bienvenue, Cecile!

Chris Wanamaker

Chris Wanamaker often visits our events and records our readings for 107.3 FM Saint John radio. He writes in the genres of Flash/Micro fiction, Middle Grade, and Travel Writing. Welcome, Chris!

I wish you all a warm, sunny, restful, sand-between-your-toes summer. Remember, writers: “Writing is like driving at night. You can only see as far as your headlights, but you can make the whole trip that way. – EL Doctorow (Hey Beth…did he really say that?)



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