This workshop on memoir is designed for people who have already studied at the intermediate level with Elaine Kalman Naves.

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Time: 18:00 to 20:00

Duration: 17 October, 2023

Location: QWF Office—1200 Atwater Avenue, Room 3, Westmount, QC


IMPORTANT NOTE: The participants for this workshop have already been chosen. This page is only for the selected folks to confirm their participation. Orders from people not from the list will be refunded.

This workshop on memoir is designed for people who have already studied at the intermediate level with Elaine Kalman Naves. Don’t be daunted by the “advanced” label. If you’ve completed an intermediate workshop with Elaine and are interested in writing, reading, and talking about memoir, you are at a level to benefit from this workshop.

As of now, we plan to host this workshop in-person at the QWF office, with some slots open for remote participation.

Though you need not be working on a book-length narrative, you will be expected to have a specific project in mind. It can be something you were working on in a previous workshop or something entirely new.

During the course of the eight-week workshop, you will have the opportunity to submit a piece of up to 3000 words, and with luck you will have a chance to present a second time. (More details about this once we get rolling.)

Instead of a text, you will have the opportunity to read some fine memoirs, and the long lead-up to this fall workshop will give you a chance to do some advance reading. Please give priority in your summer reading to the terrific memoirs by the four writers who will be guest lecturers over the course of the session. (See below.) Once we have established who the actual workshop participants will be, we will also supply you with a list of suggested optional works to enjoy over the course of the summer.

The emphasis will be on student input. Participants will not only be presenting their own work to the group but will also be expected to give careful reading of each other’s pieces in order to provide vital critical feedback. This element of the program is equally important to the writing. As in the past there will also be in-class exercises and discussion of topics of writerly interest. In a new departure, we will start critiquing participants’ pieces at the very first session. Participants who volunteer to present early in the session will be much appreciated! Getting a head start will make it possible to present second drafts. Again, we will work out these details ahead of time once the class list is established.

Here are the names of the guest lecturers and their respective titles:

Mark Abley, The Organist

Linda Leith, The Girl from Dream City

Harriet Alida Lye, Natural Killer

Robyn Sarah, Music, Late and Soon

And please don’t forget that William Zinsser’s On Writing Well is useful to have as a reference at your fingertips!

To apply, please send the following to no later than July 6, 2022.

  1. A 3- to 5-page double-spaced writing sample (nonfiction or fiction) that you feel is representative of your abilities.
  2. A paragraph or two outlining the writing project you plan to pursue in the workshop.

Workshop leader

Credit: Studio Iris

Elaine Kalman Naves is a long-time literary journalist and the author of seven non-fiction titles, and of a novel.  She is a two-time recipient of the Mavis Gallant Prize for Non-Fiction, the winner of two Canadian Jewish Book Awards, and of a Canadian Literary Award for Personal Essay. Her memoir Journey to Vaja: Reconstructing the World of a Hungarian-Jewish Family has been made into a documentary film. Elaine’s novel, The Book of Faith, was nominated for the Leacock Prize for Humour. She has led workshops at the QWF since their inception in 1998.  To find out more about Elaine, visit her website at


Registration for this workshop is now closed.

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