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We’ve got your book… Well, not exactly. But if you have an idea for a nonfiction book, or you want to take your writing to the next creative level, we’ll have your back. The Master of Fine Arts in Creative Nonfiction degree is a two-year program offered jointly by Dalhousie University and the University of King’s College. The program allows you to combine short, intense oncampus sessions with ongoing one-to-one mentoring by professional nonfiction writers and teachers who have all been there and done that.

About King’s and Dalhousie The University of King’s College, Canada’s oldest chartered university, is a small and extraordinarily lively academic community. The college is known nationally and internationally for its interdisciplinary programs in the humanities and journalism.

At the end of two years, you’ll have a degree, a polished book proposal, and a substantial portion of your finished manuscript. The program begins with a two-week on-campus session in August on our beautiful campus at the University of King’s College in scenic Halifax. You’ll fill your days (and many of your nights) with lectures, seminars, panels, workshops, and readings designed to deepen your understanding of the art and craft of creative nonfiction. During the fall semester you’ll continue to learn about the genre while crafting your proposal, and researching your book, under the guidance of your mentor. In January, you’ll take part in a second, one-week session in one of the publishing capitals of North America. The location will alternate each year between New York and Toronto. You’ll get the chance to learn about the latest trends in the rapidly changing publishing industry, as well as meet with, and pitch, editors, agents, and publishers. Then it’s back to work on your project. The second semester follows the same pattern of one-to-one mentoring as you polish your proposal and continue to improve your manuscript.

You’ve got your book.

As an editor at Canadian Geographic and a fan of many of Canada’s national magazines, I don’t need to be convinced that this program would greatly improve the quality and depth of this country’s pool of nonfiction writers… Having completed the one-year journalism program at King’s in the mid-1990s, I would be confident in the School of Journalism’s ability to help me achieve my goals in this country and beyond.”

—Dan Rubinstein, former Managing Editor, Canadian Geographic Magazine

[The program] will be a welcome addition to the Canadian literary landscape. That the program is specific to the rich genre of creative nonfiction is exciting. The publishing residency and practical aspects of the program acknowledge the chasm between writing and publishing and will help students make that often daunting leap. The limited residency opens the program to many, but as Atlantic Rep for the Writers’ Union, may I say it is good news that this degree, unique in Canada, will have its home in the east.”

—Marjorie Doyle, Atlantic Representative, The Writers’ Union of Canada

This is a very exciting initiative and I congratulate you and your colleagues for your efforts in the development of a pedagogy for nonfiction and the means for emerging and experienced writers of the genre to advance their craft and scholarship.”

—Myrna Kostash, Canadian Creative Nonfiction Collective

The university is rich with history and maintains many of its academic traditions. At the same time, it offers innovative programs and promotes the values of entrepreneurship and innovation. While the college’s neighbouring institution, Dalhousie University, has an enrolment of more than 18,000 (11,000 undergraduates), King’s has a total student population of about 1,200 students. King’s is committed to retaining the personal atmosphere, individual attention, and sense of community possible only in a small university. When these features are combined with the extensive resources and faculty of Dalhousie University, King’s provides unique possibilities in undergraduate and graduate education. Our students have the best of two worlds: the facilities and resources of a major Canadian university, together with the advantages of a small college in which all members, faculty, and students feel part of a supportive community. King’s is situated in vibrant Halifax, Nova Scotia, home to nine post-secondary institutions. A city of more than 370,000 people, Halifax is the commercial and cultural hub of Canada’s four Atlantic provinces.

Master of Fine Arts in Creative Nonfiction

Program Overview

Location: School of Journalism, 3rd Floor

Year 1 (Fall Semester)

Year 2 (Fall Semester)

JOUR 6100.03: Writing Craft I (includes on-campus summer session) Students will attend lectures, panels, and seminars, meet in small groups and one-to-one with their first mentors to finalize the subject of their book proposal, and draw up a “contract of deliverables.” During the fall semester, students will read and report on assigned creative nonfiction readings and participate in online group discussions.

JOUR 6200.03: Writing Craft II (includes on-campus summer session) Students will attend lectures, panels, and seminars, and do public readings from their works-in-progress. They will also meet daily in small groups with their Mentorship III mentors to further discuss craft (voice, plot, etc.) and ethical issues (truth, memory, reconstruction, etc.), finalize plans for their manuscript writing project, and draw up a “contract of deliverables” for Mentorship III. Prerequisite: JOUR6100.03


(902) 422-1271 Ext 159 (902) 423-3357 email: Website:

King’s Administration Building 6350 Coburg Road Halifax, NS, Canada  B3H 2A1


Admission Requirements Applicants must have obtained an undergraduate degree—normally an honours degree—in any discipline with an average grade of B or better, and must submit a portfolio of nonfiction writing with their application. While it is not a requirement for admission, prospective students are encouraged to include with their submission a description of the idea or ideas they want to pursue as their major creative nonfiction project. Applicants for whom English is a second language must provide proof of English-language competency. This program has been approved by the Dalhousie and King’s Boards of Governors and is under final consideration by the regional accreditation body, MPHEC. Please check the Dalhousie Faculty of Graduate Studies website at and/or the School of Journalism website at for the most up-to-date information.

Courses offered: JOUR 6100.03 Writing Craft I JOUR 6101.06

Mentorship I

JOUR 6102.03 Publishing I JOUR 6103.06

Mentorship II

JOUR 6200.03 Writing Craft II JOUR 6201.06

Mentorship III

JOUR 6202.03 Publishing II JOUR 6203.06

Mentorship IV

Advisory Board •S  helley Ambrose, co-publisher of The Walrus and

Executive Director of the Walrus Foundation. •S  tephen Brunt, award-winning sports journalist

for The Globe and Mail and the author of seven books, including Searching For Bobby Orr. •A  nne Collins, publisher of the Knopf Random

Canada Publishing Group and winner of the Governor General’s Award for Nonfiction for In the Sleep Room. •D  an Falk, award-winning science writer and radio

documentary producer, author of In Search of Time: Journeys Along a Curious Dimension, and a recent Knight Science Journalism Fellow at MIT. •T  erry Gould, winner of more than 50 awards for

investigative and social issues reporting, including the Canadian Journalists for Free Expression 2009 Press Freedom Award. •M  ary Janigan, award-winning author of Let the

Eastern Bastards Freeze in the Dark, and journalist specializing in Canadian public policy, politics, and economics for the Toronto Star, Maclean’s, and The Globe and Mail.

•K  im Pittaway, former editor of Chatelaine, a

six-time National Magazine Award finalist, and a researcher and lecturer on writing and publishing. • David Hayes, author, journalist, magazine

instructor at Ryerson University, and winner of numerous National Magazine Awards. •L  inden MacIntyre, Gemini award-winning host of

the CBC’s the fifth estate and author of numerous books, including the award-winning memoir Causeway and the Scotiabank Giller Prize-winning novel, The Bishop’s Man. •C  raig Silverman, Montreal print and online

journalist, author of Regret the Error and co-author of Mafiaboy, winner of the Arthur Ellis True Crime Award. • Russell Wangersky, editorial page editor of

the St. John’s Telegram and winner of the British Columbia National Award for Canadian Nonfiction for Burning Down the House. •M  arq de Villiers, former editor of Toronto Life

Magazine, internationally published writer, and winner of the Governor General’s Award for Nonfiction for Water.

JOUR 6101.06: Mentorship I Students will work one-to-one with their mentors to research and develop their individual book proposals as well as begin researching and writing their manuscript projects. Prerequisite: JOUR6100.03

JOUR 6201.06: Mentorship III Students will work one-to-one with their mentors to research, write, and edit their individual manuscript projects. Prerequisite: JOUR6103.06

Year 1 (Winter Semester) Year 2 (Winter Semester)

JOUR 6102.03: Publishing I During this one-week session—alternating between New York and Toronto—students will attend lectures and seminars with publishers, editors, agents, and established authors. They will discuss their book proposals-in-progress with agents and editors. Prerequisite: JOUR6100, JOUR6101.06 JOUR 6103.06: Mentorship II Working with their mentors, students will finalize and polish their book proposals and continue work on their manuscripts, as per their contract of deliverables. Prerequisite: JOUR6101.06

JOUR 6202.03 Publishing II During this one-week session—alternating between New York and Toronto—students will attend lectures and seminars to review trends in creative nonfiction publishing. They will discuss their manuscript-inprogress with editors and agents. Prerequisite: JOUR6102.03 JOUR 6203.06: Mentorship IV Working with their mentors, students will complete and edit their final manuscripts. Prerequisite: JOUR6201.06

MFA brochure  

Brochure for the Master of Fine Arts in creative nonfiction at the University of King's College in Halifax

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