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  • 29 Jul 2021 10:31 AM | Executive Director (Administrator)

    May 20, 2021 – The Writers' Federation of New Brunswick has announced the winners for its annual New Brunswick Writing Competition. The winners will be feted during a ceremony at the WFNB’s fall writing festival, Wordsfall, slated for October 22-23.

    Every year, the competition celebrates writers who submit unpublished work in seven categories: novel, poetry manuscript, short story, narrative non-fiction, single poem, stories for youth, and short story or poem written by teens.

    The winners are as follows:

    David Adams Richards Prize (novel extract, novella, short story collection)
    Judge: Carol Bruneau

    • First Place Winner: Zev Bagel (Shediac, NB), Solitary
    • Second Place Winner: Trent Pomeroy (Rothesay) Writers, Rats and Other Creatures
    • Third Place Winner: Elizabeth Blanchard (Grand -Barachois), The Last Time My Mother Left Without Her Shoes

    Honourable Mentions:

    • Heather Gunn (Shediac), How’s she Goin’?
    • Brent Mason (Saint John), The Root Cellar and Other Stories
    • Ann Marie Beatttie (Oshawa), In the Shadow of Secrets
    • Sharon Bird (Calgary), Gulliver’s Gulch

    Alfred G. Bailey Prize (poetry manuscript)
    Judge: Annick MacAskill

    • First Place Winner: Keagan Hawthorn (Sackville), After the Harvest
    • Second Place Winner: Jill Dunderdale (Fredericton) What Autumn Taught Me
    • Third Place Winner: Kayla Geitzler (Moncton) Witching in the Blood

    Douglas Kyle Memorial Prize (single short story)
    Judge: Evelyn C White

    • First Place Winner: Agata Antonow (Florenceville-Bristol), Nightcrawlers
    • Second Place Winner: Brent Mason (Saint John), It Takes a Village
    • Third Place Winner: Anne Marie Beattie (Oshawa), The Songwriter

    Narrative Nonfiction Prize
    Judge: Monica Graham

    • First Place Winner: Roger Moore (Island View), Two Dead Poets
    • Second Place Winner: Scott Wilson (Regina), Homework Assignments & Human Sacrifices
    • Third Place Winner: Trent Pomeroy (Rothesay), Small Stories

    Dawn Watson Memorial Prize (single poem)
    Judge: L M Rochefort

    • First Place Winner: Kathy Mac (Fredericton), An Element
    • Second Place Winner: Shari Andrews (New Maryland), Double-Boiler
    • Third Place Winner: Shari Andrews (New Maryland), Banner of Unusual News

    Fog Lit Books For Young People Prize (short stories or poems for young people)
    Judge: Lisa Harrington

    • First Place Winner: Karen Davidson (Elgin), Albert County Tuxedo
    • Second Place Winner: Cheryl Thomas (Lower Coverdale), The Tangled Up Pups
    • Third Place Winner: Cheryl Thomas (Lower Coverdale), Humblebee the Bumblebee

    Sheree Fitch Prize for Teen Writers (short story or poem written by teens)
    Judge: Joanne Levy

    • First Place Winner: Tori Garnett (Saint John), Woman
    • Second Place Winner: Olivia Mazerolle (Riverview), The Ferryman
    • Third Place Winner: Emmalyn Sheehan (Lepreau), Loss

    The Writers’ Federation of New Brunswick thanks its sponsors of the annual Writing Competition: David Adams Richards, Weymedia, Atlantic Industries Ltd., The Kyle Family, Steeves Excavating, the NB Film Co-op, Sheree Fitch, the Fog Lit committee, and various anonymous supporters of writers and writing in NB.

    WFNB has held these awards every year since 1985. Our annual competition launches careers, highlights the vitality and exemplary writing in our province, and shines a light on the diversity of literary talent.

    Our mandate includes raising public awareness of literary culture in New Brunswick by showcasing the works of New Brunswick and Canadian authors. We are the provincial membership organization for writers in New Brunswick.


  • 25 Nov 2020 6:39 PM | Executive Director (Administrator)

    The Writers’ Federation of New Brunswick and The Fiddlehead have announced the judges for the 6th annual New Brunswick Book Awards. The program will celebrate books published in the 2020 calendar year in the poetry, fiction and nonfiction categories and children’s picture books published in the 2019 and 2020 calendar years.

    Submissions will be accepted until December 1, 2020.

    The awards and judges are:

    Mrs. Dunster’s Award for Fiction – Mark Sampson is the author of several novels, most recent All the Animals on Earth, short story and poetry collections.

    Alice Kitts Memorial Award for Excellence in Children’s Writing – Frieda Wishinsky is the author of over 60 trade and educational children’s books including picture books, chapter books, novels, and nonfiction.

    The Fiddlehead Poetry Book Prize – Yusuf Saadi is the winner of the The Malahat Review‘s 2016 Far Horizons Award for Poetry and the 2016 Vallum Chapbook Award. His first collection, Pluviophile, was selected for the CBC’s 2020 summer reading list.

    Writers’ Federation of New Brunswick Nonfiction Award – Naomi Lewis is a fiction and nonfiction writer, editor, and creative writing teacher. Her 2019 memoir, Tiny Lights for Travellers has won a number of awards, most recently she won Alberta’s Wilfrid Eggleston Award for Nonfiction. and her journalism has been shortlisted for provincial and national magazine awards.

    Full bios can be found here:  https://nbbookawards.wixsite.com/info/judges-1

    The New Brunswick Book Awards is open to traditionally published and self-published authors who have lived in the province for three of the last five years, including the award year. For more information on the eligibility criteria and to download the entry form, visit http://nbbookawards.wixsite.com/info.

    The book awards program represents a partnership between the Writers’ Federation, which for more than 30 years has passionately supported the development of home-grown writers at all stages of development, and The Fiddlehead, Canada’s oldest literary magazine, which has nurtured New Brunswick’s literary culture for 75 years.

    -30-

    Media Contacts:
    Ian LeTourneau
    Ian.letourneau@unb.ca
    Cell: (506) 440-8072

    Rayanne Brennan
    rayanneb@rogers.com
    Cell: (506) 961-3633

  • 18 Mar 2020 8:45 AM | Executive Director (Administrator)


    It is with a heavy heart that the Writers’ Federation has decided to cancel WordSpring this year. Our venue, St. Thomas University, has cancelled all events which left us with no choice. This year’s AGM and Award Ceremony have also been cancelled. We will monitor the situation as it progresses to determine when we can reschedule events.

    After months of preparation, this cancellation is a blow for all of us. Thank you to our WordSpring committee and to all the workshop facilitators and panelists.

    For those members who pre-registered, I will be refunding your payments.

    Please note the Frye Festival is cancelled as well.

    In these uncertain times, we are all hunkered down at home, in isolation. Events are unfolding in slow motion and super speed simultaneously. Many of us are working from home while watching our children, who no longer go to school. Although it is hard to tune out, I hope you unplug from the news cycle and find ways to engage your mind in creative ways.

    As in any emergency, artists are initiating all kinds of creative projects to respond to the situation. Many writers are posting regular writing prompts, offering free writing advice, and giving readings online. For now, I will gather what I can on our Facebook site. In time, I hope to send you updates for online writing opportunities through email.

    My best to you all,

    Shoshanna Wingate
    Executive Director
    Writers’ Federation of New Brunswick

  • 7 May 2019 8:50 AM | Executive Director (Administrator)


    The Writers’ Federation of New Brunswick announces the winners of its 2019 Writing Competition. A total of $2,600 in cash prizes to be presented at Awards Ceremony in Moncton on May 24, as part of WFNB’s annual WordSpring festival.

    The writing awards ceremony is one of several WordSpring events being held throughout the weekend at the Université de Moncton. The festival also offers writing workshops, readings by local and national authors, and book launches by WFNB members.

    The Literary Soirée Friday evening features a reception followed by the Award Ceremony where our 2019 Writing Competition Winners will read from their works and accept awards.

    Workshops begin Friday, May 26 evening with a session by marketing director and writer, Nathaniel G. Moore, on self-promotion for writers. Saturday workshops include Ann Douglas on understanding book contracts and contract negotiations, Lee Thompson on self-editing for writers, and in the afternoon, three Canadian presses lead a publisher’s panel on manuscript acquisitions and answer questions about how books get accepted for publication. Award-winning poet, Amanda Jernigan, will give an intensive poetry workshop and fantasy writer, Terry Armstrong, will offer a workshop on worldbuilding in fiction. A Blue Pencil Café follows on Sunday morning, where published authors critique work of emerging writers.

    The Federation’s action-packed, fun-filled weekend concludes May 26 with open mic readings.

    The festival is open to the public, but registration is required for all workshops To register, email info@wfnb.ca. For more information and a complete schedule of events, visit WFNB’s website at www.wfnb.ca.

    The following are the competition winners:

    Writing Competition Results

    David Adams Richards Prize (fiction manuscript)

    • First Place                    Richard Toth (Old Ridge, NB), What is Given, Like Baggage
    • Second Place                John Hanson (Saint John, NB), Drip by Drip
    • Third Place                   Jake Swan (Quispamsis, NB), In the Company of Carnivores

     Alfred G. Bailey Prize (poetry manuscript)

    • First Place                    Karen Davidson (Elgin, NB), Heavenly Blue
    • Second Place                Margo Wheaton (Halifax, NS), Rags of Night in Our Mouths
    • Third Place                   Emily Skov-Neilsen (Fredericton, NB), Meet Me at the Volta

    Douglas Kyle Memorial Prize (short fiction)

    • First Place                    Neil Sampson (Durham Bridge, NB), Did I Ever Get My Toast?
    • Second Place                Andrew Wallace (Rothesay, NB), Gripping the Ribs of Its Cage
    • Third Place                   James McClure (Saint John, NB), White Trash Pietà

    Dawn Watson Memorial Prize (single poem)

    • First Place                    Richard Toth (Old Ridge, NB), the war’s not over
    • Second Place                Mairi LaFrance (Canterbury, NB), Just in case
    • Third Place                   Bryn Harris (Grand Manan, NB), Oh Sweet Canad

    Fog Lit Books for Young People Prize

    • First Place                    Sara Sparks (St. George, NB), Ghost, the Bootlegger’s Horse
    • Second Place                Rachel Friars (Sussex, NB), A Dress of Ashes
    • Third Place                   Jennifer Shelby (Hopewell Hill, NB), Parachutes and Grappling Hooks

    PWAC-Southwest New Brunswick Narrative Non-Fiction Prize

    • First Place                    Gwen Martin (Yoho, NB), The Fragility of Bowls
    • Second Place                Trenton Pomeroy (Rothesay, NB), Windows
    • Third Place                   Eve Nash (Moncton, NB), More Than a Name

    Sheree Fitch Prize for Young Writers (age 13–18)

    • First Place                    Joshua Merrett (Saint John, NB), The Sea
    • Second Place                Natalie London (Saint John, NB), Happy Endings
    • Third Place                   Patrick MacDonald (Saint John, NB), Hey Charlie


  • 5 Apr 2019 8:55 AM | Executive Director (Administrator)


    (Artist Elaine Amyot in her studio. Photo credit: Marc Blanchard, http://www.marcblanchard.ca )

    Submitted by Elizabeth Blanchard

    I was introduced to Elaine Amyot 18 years ago at a meeting of the Breach House Gang, a group of writers who met, and still do, every month in Nancy King Schofield’s studio on chemin La Brèche. It was during one of those Sunday afternoon gatherings that I remember Elaine reading from a draft of Les Pierres de Paris, a non-fiction piece about her childhood memories that would later go on to place in the WFNB Literary Competition. I was struck by the description of the “rose-coloured glass doors” of her mother’s bedroom; the fine lines of her mother’s vanity table; and the details of the mechanism that secured the lid to the “honey-coloured” box that held les Pierres de Paris, the kind of detail that, for most of us, goes unnoticed in the course of a day. Clearly, Elaine had recorded her memories with the care and aesthetic sensitivity of a visual artist.

    A visual artist whose work I had the privilege of writing about when Elaine later invited me to produce essays for her upcoming exhibitions, seven in all between 2008 and 2015.

    With her easy smile and keen sense of humour, Elaine was the warmest of hosts. We would sit at her kitchen table and spend the afternoon talking about her art over a cup of tea and something sweet. Extremely well-read, she carried with her a small notebook in which she transcribed passages from works that resonated with her, Gaston Bachelard’s The Poetics of Space among her favorites. Often, when discussing a particular piece, she would recite the lines of poetry that had inspired the work. Literature fueled her imagination and seemed a great source of joy; a passion she shared with Ed Lemond, her husband of 25 years.

    We talked at length about the different art forms she used to express her creativity. Whenever I asked about the significance of an object she had incorporated into one of her assemblages, she would speak not only of its lines, texture and symbolism, but also of its story. She’d recount the time, place, and circumstances by which the item came into her possession. And if the item had been given to her, she’d reflect on the thoughtfulness of the friend and the warmth of the gesture.

    Through our discussions, I came to appreciate and better understand Elaine’s profound respect for nature, an element ever-present in her work. We often visited her studio, which was housed in a small gabled-roof structure in her back yard. Among the canvases, the easels, and the recycled containers full of paintbrushes, she kept brittle stems of goldenrod, cattails stalks, large pinecones, and pieces of driftwood whose surfaces had been smoothed by the sea; “a work of nature, not of man,” she was quick to point out. Elaine explained that, with her art, she explored landscape as a reflection of our own internal nature. On one occasion, she retrieved a yellowed leaf that had been pressed between the pages of a heavy book, and pointed to how the fractal pattern of its veins repeated itself the length and width of the leaf at increasingly smaller scales. Where I would have probably seen only shape and color, Elaine saw the beauty and intelligence of expanding symmetry.

    I very much like the thought of the eternal in Elaine; I find it comforting.

    We will miss her dearly.

  • 13 Jan 2019 9:02 AM | Executive Director (Administrator)


    Submitted by Ed Lemond and Elaine Amyot

    I first met Michael Thorpe in April 2000 at the inaugural Frye Festival. I had taken on the job of inviting the English-language authors and I sought help in many corners to get the right authors and the  right mix. I asked Thea Borlase to give me a list of writers from New Brunswick she would suggest. At the top of her list were David Adams Richards, Michael Thorpe, and Elin Elgaard. They all happily agreed to attend.

    Michael read several times at the 2000 festival but the time I remember best was at a place called Au Deuxieme (no longer in existence). The production team had brought in a belly dancer for entertainment at intermission, and I wondered how the heck are the writers to come, including Michael, Marc Poirier, and Sue MacLeod from Halifax, going to follow such an act but they did, with aplomb. In Michael’s case he upstaged the belly dancer by reading a few of his well-crafted erotic poems.

    I had heard about Michael, of course, and his long battles with Mount Allison University’s administration. Students reported on his witty and erudite lectures and his sometimes strict grading system. His reputation as one of the founders and driving forces behind the WFNB was well established. What was new, when I got to know him a little, was his long record of publication, as a critic and a poet, and his wide experience, as a world traveller and a teacher in several different countries, mostly third world. We kept in touch and when his book The Unpleasant Subject: Sketches around Hitler, was published in 2001, we arranged for a launch in Moncton, at my bookstore, the Attic Owl. This was the first of several appearances at the Attic Owl over the next ten or twelve years. In 2006 he took part in an event at the bookstore to celebrate Valentine’s Day. We called it “Erotica Night” and again Michael stole the show.

    When he was in Moncton he would often come into the bookstore to ask for a book. Sometimes Elin would be with him, and I felt we were just getting to know her when suddenly we didn’t see or hear from either one of them for months. We learned that they had had a devastating fire at their house, which meant that they had to live somewhere else (in a hotel I believe) for much longer than they could bear. Not too long after this, Elin was diagnosed with lung cancer and she died December 11, 2008.

    Michael was lonely and depressed those first few months after Elin’s death and might have faded into nothingness had it not been for his children and his cats which he had to look after.We (my wife Elaine and I) gradually became very close to him in the years after Elin’s death. We were often at his house for supper and frequently accompanied him to a play at Live Bait Theatre in Sackville or sometimes at the  theater company in Parrsboro. (The best of these, at Live Bait, was “The Dresser” played brilliantly by Sandy Burnett.)

    In December 2011, at the Attic Owl, he read from his recently published book, Losing Elin, a very touching moment never to be forgotten by those in attendance. Michael published more than twenty books during his lifetime, including more than ten books of poetry and full-length critical studies of Siegfried Sassoon (1966) and Edmund Blunden, which are still benchmark studies. He published Doris Lessing’s Africa (in the early 1970s, as I remember), and once, much to our delight, loaned us the tapes of the lengthy interview he did with Lessing for the BBC.

    Eventually, Michael reconnected with an amazing woman (Jill Bentley), a painter, whom he had known long ago in England, before he left to see the world in the late 50s. Much as we were glad to see Michael happy again, we were sad when he and Jill decided that England was the best place for them to have a life together. We kept in touch by letter and postcard. I regret that we didn’t keep in touch these last few months, leading up to his death. We made the wrong assumption, that a man so alive, so interested in everything, so brilliant, would live another five years, easily. In a letter dated July 29, Jill had made it clear that his health was failing, the main or most worrisome manifestation being shortness of breath. But we chose not to see how dire was her warning.

    In his own letter to us, dated that same July 29, in his beautiful, tiny, sometimes illegible script (a scrawl he called it), the last full-length letter we received from him, Michael (who was almost completely deaf at this time) wrote “I read a lot – we both do, though Jill is the one who belongs to a reading group.” He mentions several books he’s been reading, including Ann Tyler’s Breathing Lessons (“with great pleasure as always”) and the novel The Fishermen by a young Nigerian whose name he can’t quite remember, which “brought back many memories from my years there in the early 60s.”

    I’ll go now, Michael, and try to find one or both of these books and search for what you saw in them that was so special.


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