Partners in life and writing, Jean-Benoît Nadeau and Julie Barlow live, work and raise their children in Canada’s two official languages and two founding cultures.
Together and separately, they have published six books in English and French in the US, Canada, the UK and France. They have published more than 1000 magazine and newspaper articles and have won over 40 journalism and literary awards.
Nadeau and Barlow’s new book, The Story of Spanish (St. Martin’s Press, April 2013), is a popular history of the Spanish language. It explains how Spanish started out as an obscure tongue spoken by a remote tribe of cattle farmers in northern Spain, then conquered Spain and crossed continents to become the world’s third most spoken language. Former editor of TIME magazine’s European edition Donald Morrison calls The Story of Spanish “a charming biography of the world’s least appreciated major language.”
The authors’ previous work, The Story of French (St. Martin’s Press, 2006), explains how French evolved and spread across the planet and carried French culture and ideas with it. The New York Times praised The Story of French as “a highly accessible history of the French language.” The Montreal Gazette called it “a mind-altering experience.” Translated into French and Japanese, The Story of French won the 2007 Mavis Gallant Award for Nonfiction and France’s 2012 Prix Renaissance Française.
Nadeau and Barlow’s first book, the bestseller Sixty Million Frenchmen Can’t Be Wrong, explains how the French think and organize themselves – from their penchant for centralization to their love of street protests and five-course meals. The book has sold 200 000 copies in five languages, is popular among Francophiles in North America, Europe and Asia.
Nadeau and Barlow have spoken about their books to audiences across Canada, the U.S., Europe and Japan. Their work has appeared in The New York Times, USA Today, The International Herald Tribune, France’s L’Express, the Courier international and more. They are both contributors to Quebec’s public affairs magazine L’actualité.
The couple lived in France from 1999-2001 when Nadeau was a fellow of the Institute for Current World Affairs. In 2010, they lived in Phoenix, Arizona while Barlow was a Fulbright Scholar at Arizona State University. They have travelled widely in North and South America, Europe, Africa the Middle East, Central Asia and New Zealand.
Trilingual in English, French and Spanish, Nadeau and Barlow live in Montreal with their twin daughters. They are presently working on a new book about Arabic.