Quebec Writers' Federation Workshops

Fall Session 2017
Workshop leader: Julie Barlow

Eight Thursdays, 6:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m
October 5 to November 23, 2017

QWF Office – 1200 Atwater Avenue, Room 3, Westmount, QC

Workshop fee: $160 for QWF members; $190 for non-members
Cost of QWF membership (annual) and workshop: $195
Payment is due within one week of registration to confirm your spot.

For more information, or to register:
(514) 933-0878 or

What could dead sharks, common minerals, the British Museum, an 18th-century musical manuscript and doctors’ brains all have in common? They are all topics of very successful non-fiction books published over the last decade. Tens of thousands of people have read these books because their authors knew how turn research, facts, and observations into fascinating, compelling stories. That’s the single objective of narrative non-fiction: to make information so interesting readers will enjoy the story and learn without effort.

We will spend this 8-week workshop talking about how to do that. We’ll start by thinking about defining an audience and understanding what makes a topic interesting to them. Next, we’ll look at how to find information, identify sources, interview people, and choose good anecdotes. Then we’ll talk about the actual writing: how to devise a structure, pull material together and transform information into a story that will keep readers enthralled. Over the course of these discussions, we’ll talk about different techniques writers use to make stories engaging and readable.

This class will be useful not just for writers and aspiring writers, but for also for academics who want to break into the trade non-fiction market. Ideally, we’ll spend the bulk of the class work-shopping participants’ own work. Participants are expected to be ready to talk about a non-fiction writing project, whether a book or an article. However, the project can be at any stage of development, even just an idea.

I will be assigning short excerpts to read before each class. These will be from non-fiction works that were very effective for different reasons. I will assign readings based on the projects and interests of the workshop participants. The excerpts will be used to discuss how to tackle specific writing challenges.

Please be ready to talk a bit about your writing idea or project at the first class.

Julie Barlow
Credit: Julia Marois

Julie Barlow is the bestselling co-author of four books: The Bonjour Effect (St. Martin’s Press), The Story of French, The Story of Spanish, and Sixty Million Frenchmen Can’t Be Wrong (Sourcebooks). Winner of the QWF’s Mavis Gallant Prize and France’s Prix La Renaissance française, Barlow has written for newspapers and magazines in Canada, the U.S., and Europe, including The New York Times, USA Today, the Courier international, and the International Herald Tribune. She is a contributing writer at L’actualité magazine and speaks about language and culture to audiences across North America and in Europe. For more information visit:


Registration Information

To register, email [ workshops AT QWF DOT org ].

Payment Information

Payment is due within one week of registration to confirm your spot. Payment options are listed in the column to the right.

Please familiarize yourself with our
cancellation policy.

QWF workshop cancellation policy

Read about QWF and accessibility:

QWF and accessibility

For more information:

(514) 933-0878
[ workshops AT QWF DOT org ]

QWF gratefully acknowledges the assistance of the Canada Council for the Arts.

Canada Council for the Arts / Conseil des Arts du Canada