Julie Barlow grew up in Ancaster, Ontario. She completed an Honours BA in Political Science at McGill University (1991) and an MA in English Literature at Concordia University (1994).

For three decades Julie has been working as a magazine writer and nonfiction author in both English and French, and as a French-English translator. Julie has published 8 books, including The Bonjour Effect: The Secret Codes of French Conversation Revealed (St Martin’s Press), co-authored with her husband and writing partner Jean-Benoit Nadeau.

Her first book Sixty Million Frenchmen Can’t Be Wrong became an international bestseller translated into 6 languages. Her book The Story of French won Quebec’s 2007 Mavis Gallant Prize for Nonfiction and the 2011 Prix La Renaissance Française (French Renaissance Award) from Académie des Sciences d’Outre-Mer (The Academy of Overseas Sciences) in Paris. Julie has won numerous writing grants throughout her career including three Canada Council Grants for Professional Writers and a Fulbright Fellowship for Professional Writing.

In 2023, Julie published a comprehensive guide to self-employment, GOING SOLO: Everything You Need to Start Your Business and Succeed as Your Own Boss, with Jean-Benoît Nadeau, drawing on the couple’s three decades’ experience as freelance writers.

Julie’s newspaper and magazine articles have appeared across Canada, the United States and Europe in publications like The New York Times, The Boston Globe, The Globe and Mail, USA Today, The Christian Science Monitor, Le Courrier international and more. She is a regular contributor to Quebec French-language news magazine L’actualité and Quebec business magazine Gestion and is a regular translator for TheConversation.ca.

Throughout her career Julie has served on the boards of numerous organizations in Canada and the U.S. including the Quebec Writers’ Federation (2018-2023), the Washington-based Institute for Current World Affairs (2010-2016), Action Réfugiés Montréal (1996-1998, 2006-2010) and the Professional Writers’ Association of Canada (2014-2019). She was President of the Québec Writers’ Federation (2021-2023).

An avid traveler who speaks three languages (English, French and Spanish), Julie has lived in Paris, Toronto and Phoenix and is presently based in Montreal where she lives with Jean-Benoît Nadeau and their two daughters.



Nonfiction Books:

  • Charging Ahead: Hydro-Québec and the Future of Electricity (Baraka Books, 2019) with Jean-Benoit Nadeau
  • The Bonjour Effect: The Secret Code of French Conversation Revealed (St Martin’s Press, 2016) with Jean-Benoit Nadeau
  • The Story of Spanish (St Martin’s Press, 2013) with Jean-Benoit Nadeau
  • The Story of French (Knopf Canada, St Martin’s Press, Robson Anova, 2006) with Jean-Benoit Nadeau
  • Sixty Million Frenchmen Can’t Be Wrong (Sourcebooks, 2003) with Jean-Benoit Nadeau

Practical Books:

  • Going Solo: Everything You Need to Start Your Business and Succeed as Your Own Boss (Sutherland House Books, 2023) with Jean-Benoît Nadeau
  • Look it up! (McGill-Queens University Press, 2017) with Drs. Pierre Pluye and Roland Grad
  • Montreal and Quebec City for Dummies (Wiley, USA, 2004) with Austin Macdonald


—September 28, 2023

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Memberships and Associations

Quebec Writers’ Federation (QWF)

Canadian Freelance Guild (CFG)

Union des écrivaines et des écrivains québécois (UNEQ)