Born December 20, 1964 in Sherbrooke, Quebec, Jean-Benoît Nadeau completed a B.A. in Political Science at McGill University in Montreal.
An author, a journalist and a speaker, Jean-Benoît has published 6 books, 900 magazine articles, won 40 awards in journalism and literature, and given more than 80 lectures on culture, language and writing.
As a regular contributor to L’actualité (Canada’s national French language magazine), he is among the few Canadian journalists who publish in French (Québec Science, Geo, L’Express) and in English (The New York Times, The International Herald Tribune, The Toronto Star). In 1998, Nadeau won a fellowship from the Institute of Current World Affairs to spend two years in France studying “Why the French Resist Globalization.” He also won two grants from the Canada Council for the Arts, as well as a grant from the Quebec Council for the Arts and Literature.
A Successful Author
On returning from France in 1999, Nadeau published a humorous account of his years in France called Les Français aussi ont un accent (The French Have an Accent Too, Payot, 2002). With his wife and writing partner Julie Barlow, he published a detailed analysis of the French, Sixty Million Frenchmen Can’t Be Wrong (Sourcebooks, 2003). The book was translated into French and published by Seuil and France Loisirs in 2005 (Pas Si Fous Ces Français!). Praised in the New York Times, the Daily Telegraph and the Globe and Mail and by French literary critic Bernard Pivot, the work has sold 20 000 copies in five languages (English, French, Dutch, Mandarin, and Thai).
A Book on the French Language
In 2006, Jean-Benoît Nadeau and Julie Barlow published their new book The Story of French with Knopf (Toronto), St. Martin’s Press (New York) and Robson-Anova (UK). Praised by the New York Times, the book appeared in French later that year as La Grande Aventure de la langue française (Québec Amérique). In 2011, Éditions Télémaque (Paris) published an updated edition under the title Le français, quelle histoire! The book was translated into French and Japanese and won Quebec’s 2007 Mavis Gallant Prize for Non-Fiction and the 2011 Prix de la Renaissance Française (French Renaissance Award) from l’Académie des Sciences d’Outre-Mer in Paris (The Academy of Overseas Sciences).
Jean-Benoit Nadeau is also author of a guide to freelance writing, Le guide du travailleur autonome (“Guide for the Self-Employed Worker”), 2nd edition (Québec Amérique, 2007). In 2007 he published a practical writing guide, Écrire pour vivre (“Write to Live”, Québec Amérique), with practical advice for authors and journalists.
Appreciated for his humorous talking style, Jean-Benoît Nadeau has given 80 lectures on France and the French language in Canada, the U.S., the Netherlands, England, Japan and South Korea. He was keynote speaker for the Ontario Modern Lagnguage Teachers Associations, the International Day of the Francophonie and the American Association of Teachers of French. Jean-Benoît Nadeau has also done speaking tours with the Alliance françaises and the Quebec Delegations.
Over the last 15 years, Jean-Benoit Nadeau has regularly given workshops on writing and journalism with Quebec’s largest journalists’ association, the Fédération professionnelle des journalistes du Québec (FPJQ) as well as other professional associations.
Jean-Benoît Nadeau lives in Montreal, but he has lived for extended periods in Paris, Toronto and Phoenix, Az. He has travelled in Mexico, across the United States and New Zealand and in the U.K., Algeria and has lived in Europe.
He speaks fluent French, English and Spanish, and has some knowledge of German. Father of twin daughters, he is married to writer Julie Barlow.
Memberships and Associations
Union des écrivains québécois (UNEQ)
Updated: June 2012