elaine kalman naves
Photo Credit: Monique Dykstra
  • Welcome to the website of Montreal writer, journalist, editor, and lecturer Elaine Kalman Naves. Elaine was born in Hungary, and grew up in Budapest, London, and Montreal. For many years she was literary columnist for the Montreal Gazette, and is the author of eight books. Among them are the award-winning memoirs Journey to Vaja: Reconstructing the World of a Hungarian-Jewish Family and Shoshanna's Story: A Mother, A Daughter, and the Shadows of History. Elaine's other books include: The Writers of Montreal; Putting Down Roots: Montreal's Immigrant Writers; Storied Streets: Montreal in the Literary Imagination (co-written with Bryan Demchinsky); and Robert Weaver: Godfather of Canadian Literature. Elaine has contributed frequently to CBC Radio's Ideas, where her most recent project was about the great 19th-century Montreal photographer, William Notman. Her 2013 book, Portrait of a Scandal: The Abortion Trial of Robert Notman, shed light on a secret page in Canadian history. The Book of Faith, Elaine’s first novel, was nominated for the 2016 Leacock Prize for Humour. Elaine's other honours include a Canadian Literary Award for Personal Essay, two Quebec Writers' Federation prizes for non-fiction, and two Jewish Book Awards for Holocaust Literature.

    Elaine has led workshops in creative writing at the Quebec Writers’ Federation since their inception in 1998, and mentors emerging writers both through the QWF mentorship program and privately. Her workshop students at the QWF have included authors of critically acclaimed works, among them Susan Pinker, Susan Doherty, Lise Weil, and Janet Torge. Two of her private students – Rosalind Pepall and Dr. Judy Stone – recently published books – Talking to a Portrait: Tales of an Art Curator, and Resilience: One Family's Story of Hope and Triumph over Evil – that they originally developed with Elaine.


May 4 2022 |

By Zoom: Beloved Montreal writer Elaine Kalman Naves leads participants in discussion and writing about their reflections on Queen Elizabeth II on her Platinum Jubilee.

The three sessions are stand alone with registration limited to 15 each.

To REGISTER, please send an email specifying the date(s) to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

May 9 2022 | QWF Office—Westmount, QC
Intermediate Memoir: The Art of Truth

This workshop on memoir is designed for people who already have some experience of workshop settings and would like to embark or have already begun to embark on a memoir project of their own.

For more information, visit the QWF website.

Upcoming Interviews

April 27 2022 |
Yom Hashoah Vehagvurah, Holocaust and Heroism Remembrance Day

Join us on Facebook and YouTube on Wednesday, April 27 at 7:00 pm to commemorate Yom Hashoah Vehagvurah, Holocaust and Heroism Remembrance Day. On this day and every day, we remember the victims of the Holocaust, honour the survivors, and learn the difficult lessons of the past.

This year’s virtual ceremony will include a special conversation between Maxwell Smart, Holocaust survivor and artist, and Elaine Kalman Naves, author and journalist. The ceremony will also feature messages of hope and the performance of songs written by Mordechai Gebirtig, renowned Yiddish poet and songwriter killed in the Krakow ghetto.

Organized in partnership with the Atlantic Jewish Council, the Calgary Jewish Federation, the Canadian Museum for Human Rights, the Canadian Museum of Immigration at Pier 21, the Neuberger Holocaust Education Centre, the Segal Centre for Performing Arts, and the Vancouver Holocaust Education Centre.

For more information, visit Facebook