Workshop leader: JULIE BARLOW
Eight Wednesdays, 6:00 to 8:00 p.m.: March 11 to April 29, 2015

QWF Office – 1200 Atwater Avenue, Room 3, Westmount, QC
(Atwater Metro Station)
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. Books that tens of thousands of people read, 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 read with pleasure 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 workshopping participants’ own work. However, I will also assign excerpts from non-fiction works (that were very effective for different reasons) and talk about how I have tackled different writing challenges in my own work.

Please be ready to talk about what you would like to workshop in the first class and/or bring a list of questions you are looking to answer.