Submitted by director@writer... on
Thursday, May 9, 2019 - 11:00am

Nova Writes, the WFNS’s competition for unpublished manuscripts, is thriving, with 45 per cent more entries than last year. All of our readers and judges remarked on the high quality of entries this year.

We rely on the expertise of our members to provide meaningful feedback to our entrants who are judged blind. Thank you for the care and commitment provided by this year’s 13 readers and four judges. A big thank you also to Annick MacAskill, the WFNS’s programming and membership officer, for organizing the competition. It’s a massive job.

And now, without further ado, here are the shortlisted writers and winners in the various categories. Winners are indicated in bold

Joyce Barkhouse Award

Recognizing excellence in the category of writing for children.


  • Karen Kelloway - winner for "Keepers of the Pact"
  • Jill Martin
  • Anne Odell
Judge: Janet Barkhouse
Judge's citation: “A trio of human children discover danger—and more—on a fishing boat moored in Brigus harbor. Suspenseful, believable, original, this excerpt grips and delights.”


Budge Wilson Short Fiction Prize

Recognizing excellence in the category of short fiction.


  • KR Byggdin
  • Brad Donaldson
  • Susan Drain - winner for "In the Dugout"
  • K. Brendan Dunbar
  • Bretten Hannam
  • Nigel Herritt
  • Sarah Pitoello
Judge: Sirje Ruus
Judge's citation: “This masterfully crafted story depicts the resilience of a small group of Canadian soldiers on a First World War battleground where all that is left to combat the horror are humble acts of human kindness and large doses of irony. Very little actually happens in the dugout, yet so much is revealed.”


H. R. (Bill) Percy Short Creative Non-Fiction Prize

Recognizing excellence in the category of creative non-fiction.


  • Barbara Cullen
  • Mary Dodd
  • Joanne Light
  • Cynthia Manley
  • Joe Muething
  • Julie Strong -  honorable mention for "I had to steal them"
  • Ariel Watson - winner for "Beasts of Myth"
Judge: Marjorie Simmins

Judge's citation: “The author has written a resonant and complex story, with themes of multi-generational family ties and interactions, looming death, the reshapings of personal histories, the romantic pulls of times gone by, and the essence and changing composition of memory, as connected to a time, and its people.”


The Rita Joe Poetry Prize

Recognizing excellence in the category of poetry.


  • Rachel Edmonds
  • Mary Verna Feehan
  • Rosalie Osmond
  • Cheri Wilson
Judge: Dr. Afua Cooper
Judge's citation: Rosalie Osmond "uses her spiritual, emotional, and physical sense to convey a poetry that is textured, focused, and startling. Her banner is honesty and courage, and so the poems are a ‘take no prisoner’ dialogue between the heart and self. The result is that the heart is flung wide open. Her poems are rich in sensory words, with a tight inner rhythm that can only be produced by one in charge of her craft.”


Congratulations to all the writers on our shortlists and everyone who entered this year’s competition.