Born in Sherbrooke, Quebec, Jean-Benoît Nadeau studied political science and history (BA, 1992) at McGill University in Montreal. He is also a fellow of the American foundation, The Institute of Current World Affairs.

An author, journalist and lecturer, he has published a dozen books and 2,000 reports and columns and won two dozen journalism and literary awards.

In September 2023, his first novel, SIERRA NEGRA, was published by Éditions Château d’encre. Freely inspired by the author’s own experiences, it recounts the adventures of an expedition of speleologists from Quebec who set out to explore the great caves found in an isolated region of Mexico.

In 2023 Jean-Benoît Nadeau also published an English version of his popular Guide du travailleur autonome (Self-Employment Guide), GOING SOLO: Everything You Need to Start Your Business and Succeed as Your Own Boss, translated and adapted by his co-author and wife Julie Barlow. The book will appear in Canadian and US editions.

As an author, he has worked in several literary genres (creative nonfiction, travel writing, practical guides and novels). Some of his titles have been translated into English, Mandarin, Japanese, Dutch, Thai and Turkish.

Jean-Benoît Nadeau is also a three-time recipient of a Canada Council grant and a Conseil des arts et lettres du Québec grant. In 2011, Le français, quelle histoire! was awarded the Prix La Renaissance Française by the Académie des Sciences d’Outre-Mer in Paris. The original English version, The Story of French, won the Prix Mavis-Gallant by the Quebec Writers’ Federation in November 2007.

A reporter and columnist for L’actualité magazine, he writes regularly for the Montreal daily Le Devoir and is editorialist at He is one of the few French Canadian journalists to publish in English, with articles in The New York Times, The Globe and Mail, The Wall Street Journal and USA Today.

Jean-Benoît Nadeau has been the recipient of numerous awards including the Prix Jules-Fournier 2020 from the Conseil supérieur de la langue française, the Bourse d’excellence 2023 from the Association des journalistes du Québec and the Gold Medal for Best French Article 2017 from the Canadian Council for the Advancement of Education.

A popular and humorous speaker, he has given over 150 lectures on France and the French language in Canada, the United States, the Netherlands, Spain, Portugal, England, South Korea and Japan. He has also given numerous seminars and workshops on writing and journalism, mainly in Canada.

On the radio, he also co-produced a documentary in two one-hour episodes, Le français n’a pas dit son dernier mot, broadcast on France Culture in July 2014.

An avid traveller who speaks three languages (French, English and Spanish), Jean-Benoît Nadeau has also lived in Paris, Toronto and Phoenix with his partner and colleague, Julie Barlow. The couple is based in Montreal.



  • Charging Ahead: Hydro-Québec and the Future of Electricity (Baraka Books, 2019) with Julie Barlow
  • 50 ans de rêves et d’actions : l’Office franco-québécois pour la Jeunesse (OFQJ, 2018) with Georges Poirier
  • Les Accents circomplexes (Stanké, 2014)
  • The Bonjour Effect: The Secret Code of French Conversation Revealed (St Martin’s Press, 2016) with Julie Barlow
  • The Story of Spanish (St. Martin’s Press, 2013) with Julie Barlow
  • The Story of French, (St Martin’s Press, 2006) with Julie Barlow
  • Sixty Million Frenchmen Can’t Be Wrong (Sourcebooks, 2003) with Julie Barlow
  • Les Français aussi ont un accent (Payot, 2002)


  • Sierra Negra (Château d’encre, 2023)

Practical guides

  • Going Solo: Everything You Need to Start Your Business and Succeed as Your Own Boss (Sutherland House Books, 2023) with Julie Barlow
  • Écrire pour vivre, 2nd edition (Québec Amérique, 2021)
  • Le Guide de la rénovation heureuse (Trécarré, 2018) with Paul Bernier
  • 100 trucs : Travailleurs autonomes (Protégez-Vous, 2018)


—September 28, 2023

Download high-resolution photo of Jean-Benoît »

Memberships and Associations

Fédération professionnelle des journalistes du Québec (FPJQ)

Institute of Current World Affairs (ICWA)

Union des écrivains du Québec (UNEQ)