Eligibility Criteria | Application Requirements | How to Apply
Peer Assessment Process | Application Checklist 




Eligibility Criteria

To apply for the Alistair MacLeod Mentorship Program, apprentice writers must meet the following criteria: 

  • You must be a member in good standing of the WFNS. Membership is open to anyone who writes. Join by clicking here.  
  • You must be a permanent resident of Nova Scotia (i.e., you have lived in Nova Scotia permanently for at least one year and you file your taxes here). Those who have only seasonal residence in the province (including students who return to a home outside of Nova Scotia in the summer) are ineligible.
  • You must not have a book published in the form of writing in which you wish to apprentice. A few professional periodical publications (e.g., 4 - 6 poems; 1 - 2 short stories or short creative non-fiction articles) are acceptable. 
  • You must submit only one application to each program deadline, so take the time to focus on your strongest project and applicaton.

Application Requirements

  • Use Times New Roman or Arial 12-point font for all parts of your application.
  • Applications must be submitted by the program deadline, must contain all three components listed below, and must be submitted electronically/digitally. Late, incomplete, or faxed/mailed applications will be rejected as ineligible.
  • A minimum of one mentorship pairing each year will be used to connect Indigenous, Black Nova Scotian, LGBTQ2SIAA+, and/or immigrant writers. It is appreciated if you self-identify in your application. 
1. Cover letter containing the following:
  • Your mailing and civic address(es). 
  • A statement confirming you are a permanent resident of Nova Scotia.
  • Your email address and a phone number where you may be reached during business hours. 
  • A statement confirming that (1) you are 19 years of age or older and (2) you are unpublished in the form of writing in which you wish to apprentice. If it is discovered that the declaration was false, the application will be discarded.
  • A statement that, should you be selected, you will make yourself available for the mandatory group meetings on December 3, 2020 (snow date: December 10, 2020); February 18, 2021 (snow date: February 25, 2021); and April  29, 2021, as well as the Celebration of Emerging Writers (a public reading) on June 2, 2021. The three in-person (or by Zoom) sessions and the in-person reading are critical to meeting the goals of the Alistair MacLeod Mentorship Program. If you are unable to commit to all of these dates, please do not apply. Allowances may be made for Skype or teleconferencing should you be unable to make it to Halifax for the group meetings.

2. Personal responses (roughly one paragraph in length) to each of the following:

  1. How long have you been writing?
  2. Summarize your writing activity for the past twelve months.
  3. Provide an outline of what you propose to work on during the mentorship period.
  4. Give a description of the work you'll have available for the mentorship (i.e., number of poems written, number of pages completed of your fiction or prose manuscript).
  5. What goal have you set yourself to achieve during the five-month mentorship period? Be specific.
  6. How will you make writing a priority during the full course of the program? How will the mentorship fit into your schedule? If you are unable to prioritize writing during the mentorship, please do not apply.  

3. A 10-page, doubled-spaced writing sample of the work in progress.

Working on your application to the Alistair MacLeod Mentorship Program?
Check out our five tips for the process!

How to Apply

1. Ensure that your application is complete and correct before submitting. (See our Application Checklist.) In the event of an error, please contact our office and explain the issue before sending a revised application. No application or revised application will be accepted after the deadline.

2. Pay the $25 application fee via PayPal or by cheque (payable to the Writers' Federation of Nova Scotia and mailed to 1113 Marginal Road, Halifax, NS  B3H 4P7).

    • If paying by PayPal, please indicate the name of your PayPal account (or, if you do not have a PayPal account, the email you entered when making your payment) in the body of your application email (detailed immediately below).
    • If paying by cheque, please ensure your cheque is in the mail before you submit your application. The cheque must be post-dated for no later than the program deadline.

3. Email your application as an attachment in DOC/DOCX or PDF format to admin@writers.ns.ca. Combine your cover letter, personal response paragraphs, and writing sample into a single document. Name this document as follows: Lastname_Firstname_MentorshipWe cannot process or administer applications that do not follow this naming convention.

If the application fee (or the WFNS membership fee) presents a barrier to your application, please contact the WFNS Executive Director (director@writers.ns.ca). Funds are available to help underwaged applicants with application fees and (if you are not already a WFNS member) membership fees.


The WFNS reserves the right to determine whether or not an applicant will benefit from the program. In the case of an applicant being rejected for "too much" experience in the form of writing they wish to apprentice in, their application fee will be refunded. The fee cannot be refunded under any other circumstance, including incomplete, ineligible, or unsuccessful applications. 

Peer Assessment Process

After apprentice writers' applications have been processed to ensure they are complete and eligible, the applications are shared with a peer assessment jury of three professional writers contracted by the WFNS. The jury selects apprentices from the applications received and also recommends mentors for each successful application from a list of writers who submitted Expressions of Interest to serve as mentors. The selections made by the jury will be final. The final decision for matching mentors with apprentice writers is made by WFNS staff in order to accommodate availability and other logistical factors. Assessment of applications is based on the merit of the writing sample, the applicant’s commitment to the proposed writing project, and the merit of the proposed project activity. 

All applicants, whether successful or unsuccessful, will be notified of the results of their applications by late November. Please do not contact the office to enquire about the status of your application prior to that time. 

Application Checklist

☐ Application file written in an accepted font (Times New Roman or Arial 12-point), saved in an accepted format (DOC/DOCX or PDF), named according to the required convention (Lastname_Firstname_Mentorship), and containing all three application items:

☐ A cover letter that states

    • your mailing and civic address, email, and phone number;
    • you are a WFNS member in good standing (the WFNS office will verify this when processing your application);
    • you are 19 years of age or older and do not have a book published in the form of writing in which you wish to apprentice;
    • you are a permanent Nova Scotia resident; and
    • you will attend, if your application is successful, the mandatory meetings and the Celebration of Emerging Writers, scheduled for the dates indentified above.

☐ Your six completed personal response paragraphs.

☐ A writing sample (10 double-spaced pages) that forms part of the project you wish to work on during the mentorship.

☐ Application fee ($25 plus, if applicable, WFNS membership fees) via PayPal (click here) or by mailing in a cheque.

For questions or further information, please contact us.