The basic tools of biography and autobiography are the same, and this workshop will show how you can write any life in a meaningful and engaging way.

Want a discount? Become a member by purchasing QWF Membership – General, QWF Membership – Professional or QWF Membership – Student!


Eight Thursdays, March 9-May 4 (no meeting on April 6), 8-10pm
Open to all.
Limited to 12 participants.

The basic tools of biography and autobiography are the same, and this workshop will show how you can write any life in a meaningful and engaging way.

The first challenge is learning how to put lives in a larger context. This means researching the times and places the subject lived in, then weaving their individual narratives with all of their complex personal relationships, into the larger world. We will learn how to do this with the use of the illuminating details that bring people and places to life.

We will also look at the sub-category of ghostwriting, where you are writing a first-person biography and, in a sense, become the person you are writing for, internalizing their thoughts and feelings as you use all of the tools at your disposal to tell their story as if was your own.

Ghostwriting also happens to be a field where a writer can make a decent living in Canada, and at the end of the course, we will look at the business side and what goes into a ghostwriting contract.

One thing you soon discover in writing biographies of any kind, including ghosting an autobiography, is the truth of the cliché that everyone has a book in them. At least in the sense that all of our stories—following our lives along the trajectories of time and space and meeting and beating challenges—are worth telling. As a writer you discover that it is a privilege to write someone else’s life.

Ideally, you will be working on biographical or autobiographical material of your own in the class, but this is not necessary. If you are working on a text now or if you are simply planning one for the future, I look forward to meeting you in the spring of 2023 and exploring the writing of lives together.

This workshop will take place at the QWF Office (Room 3, 1200 Atwater Avenue, Westmount, Quebec) with up to 2 virtual spots for participants who are unable to attend in-person.

Workshop leader

Peter McFarlane has written 4 nonfiction books of his own and five ghostwritten books, as well as more than 100 newspaper and magazine features. He has specialized in Indigenous history and politics and has worked on several CBC radio programs as a researcher and on-air contributor. He is currently completing another ghostwritten book and a new work of his own nonfiction.


Please note that workshop registration is on a “first come, first served” basis.

Payment is required to confirm your place in the workshop. 

Payments are to be made online via credit card or PayPal. Click on the link below to add the workshop to your shopping cart, then proceed to payment. QWF Members must be logged in to receive their discount. If you are not already a QWF member, you will have the option of purchasing a Membership, in which case you will receive the discounted workshop rate.

If you are unable to pay online, you can temporarily reserve a place by registering online. Your payment must be made to the QWF office by cheque or cash within 7 days of registration or it will automatically be cancelled. Cheques must be written out to “QWF–Quebec Writers’ Federation” or “Quebec Writers’ Federation”

If the workshop is full, you will have the option of joining the waiting list. If a space becomes available, all those on the waiting list will be notified at once by email. The available spot will be assigned on a first come, first served basis.

Please familiarize yourself with the rest of the Workshop Policies in the shaded box.


General $170 + $4.16 Fee
Student $98 + $2.52 Fee
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$195 + $4.73 Fee
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