In this workshop, we will explore literary translation from French to English: fiction, nonfiction, poetry, and songs.

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Seven Mondays, May 8-June 26 (no meeting on May 22), see below for time
For those with a solid mastery of French and English, writing ability in English, and an interest in literature.
Limited to 12 participants.

In this workshop, we will explore literary translation from French to English: fiction, nonfiction, poetry, and songs.

We will look at contemporary literature from Quebec and France, as well as some older (nineteenth- and twentieth-century) texts. Sources may include Gabrielle Roy, Anne Hébert, Annie Ernaux, and Samuel Archibald. We will start by looking at an excerpt of a literary text in French and reading a published English translation of it. What difficulties (such as euphony, voice, word play, and verb tense) did the translator face, and how successful were they? At each meeting, there will be time to produce your own translations, often in groups. We will read our work aloud and comment on difficulties and strokes of inspiration.

Participants will have the opportunity to translate a further passage from the same work (or from another) as a homework assignment for the next meeting. The corrected assignments provide individual feedback and lead to discussion of the issues encountered.

During the course of the workshop, you’ll be asked to present a passage you have translated from a work you have chosen, commenting on the issues it presents, and describing ways of solving these issues. This is an ideal opportunity to begin or pursue a project you intend to submit to a publisher.

Please note the bespoke schedule of this workshop:

May 08: 6-8pm
May 15: 6-9pm
May 29: 6-8pm
June 05: 6-9pm
June 12: 6-8pm
June 19: 6-8pm
June 26: 6-8pm

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

Jonathan Kaplansky won a French Voices Award to translate Nobel Prize-winning author Annie Ernaux’s La vie extérieure (Things Seen) for the University of Nebraska Press. Recent translations include Jonathan Bécotte’s Like a Hurricane (Orca, 2023) and Hélène Rioux’s The End of the World is Elsewhere (Guernica, 2022). He has sat on the juries for the translation category of the Governor General’s Literary Awards and the John Glassco Translation Prize and recently translated the libretto of an opera by Hélène Dorion and Marie-Claire Blais entitled Yourcenar: An Island of Passions.


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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