The Writers' Federation of Nova Scotia is pleased to offer a new session of First Words: Fiction for the winter 2020 season. This section of the nine-week fiction writing course will be led by Andrew Battershill, Valerie Compton, and Kris Bertin. This session will be offered on Tuesday evenings (7-9 pm) beginning January 14.  

As a welcoming space for beginner or emerging writers, First Words: Fiction provides an overview of the craft from several professional perspectives. No prerequisites or pre-existing pieces of writing are necessary for participation in this course.

Andrew Battershill – January 14, 21, 28

Valerie Compton – February 4, 11, 18

Kris Bertin – February 25, March 3, 10


Andrew Battershill is the author of two novels, Pillow (2015) and Marry, Bang, Kill (2018). His work has been longlisted for the Giller Prize and shortlisted for the Kobo Emerging Writer Award. He was the 2017-2018 Writer-in-Residence at the Regina Public Library and the 2018 Writer-in-Residence for the City of Richmond. 

Valerie Compton is the author of the novel Tide Road (Gooselane, 2011; shortlisted for the Raddall Atlantic Fiction Award) and a number of short stories. She is also a co-founder of, where she mentors emerging writers and edits fiction and narrative nonfiction. 

Kris Bertin is a writer of from Halifax, NS. His first book of short stories, Bad Things Happen, won the Writers' Union of Canada's 2017 Danuta Gleed Award and the ReLit Award for short fiction. Kris's graphic novel (illustrated by Alexander Forbes) The Case of the Missing Men, published in 2017 by Conundrum Press, was nominated for a Doug Wright Award, and is being adapted for TV. He's had his work featured in The WalrusThe Malahat ReviewTNQPRISM International and The Journey Prize Anthology, Oberon's Coming Attractions and more. He is also a two-time winner of the Jack Hodgins' Founders' Award for Fiction. Kris and his frequent screenwriting partner, Naben Ruthnum have projects in development with Oddfellows Entertainment. Kris Bertin is represented by Sam Haywood & Stephanie Sinclair at Transatlantic Literary Agency.

$215 for WFNS Members

$279 for non-members (includes a membership to the WFNS for 2019)

(Payment plans are available—please contact
(No refunds available after the start of the course)

This workshop is now full. If you are interested in being waitlisted for this program, please email

The Writers’ Federation of Nova Scotia strives to offer an inclusive space where all feel welcome. To this end, we ask that participants not use racist, sexist, homophobic, xenophobic, or other discriminatory language in WFNS workshops and professional development sessions. Participants who use such language may be asked to leave.

Writers' Federation of Nova Scotia, 1113 Marginal Road, Halifax
Tuesday, January 14, 2020 - 7:00pm to Tuesday, March 10, 2020 - 9:00pm