Tuesday, 20 December 2011 18:21

“In university I studied history and developed a great interest in the impact of huge historical events on the lives of ordinary people. This particular theme inhabits not only my family books Journey to Vaja, and Shoshanna’s Story, but also Putting Down Roots: Montreal’s Immigrant Writers, winner of a Mavis Gallant Prize for Non-Fiction. The epigraph to this book comes from the Canadian novelist Wayson Choy: ‘All the most interesting things happening today occur at the intersection of cultures.’ Questions of culture and identity—religious, ethnic, racial, and national—continue to fascinate me, whether I’m writing about my own family or exploring a broader canvas.”
--Elaine Kalman Naves

Lecturing and Teaching

Elaine is in demand as a workshop leader, writing mentor, and lecturer on topics related to her books and her journalism. Over the course of the past twenty years she has led student writing workshops from the elementary level right through university. She continues to conduct workshops in Creative Non-Fiction and Memoir Writing at the Quebec Writers’ Federation, where she has taught since 1998. She also mentors emerging writers both through the scholarship program of the QWF and privately.

Elaine studied history at McGill University, and education at Bishop’s University. She began her career as a high-school teacher of English and History, and then worked as a professional historian at the Centre d’Étude du Québec of Sir George Williams University (now Concordia).

Among the venues where Elaine has lectured are:

  • The National Library, Ottawa
  • The Ottawa Public Library
  • Eötvös Loránd University English Department, Budapest
  • Cultural Association of Hungarian Jews, Budapest
  • The 20th International Association of Jewish Genealogical Societies’ Conference, New York, New York (where Paradise Lost, the film based on Journey to Vaja, was screened)
  • The Blue Metropolis International Literary Festival, Montreal
  • Montreal Museum of Fine Arts
  • McGill University Department of Education, Montreal
  • McGill University Department of Jewish Studies, Montreal
  • Sauvé Scholars Leadership Program, McGill University, Montreal
  • Concordia University Journalism Department, Montreal
  • Champlain College, Lennoxville
  • Vanier College, Montreal
  • Marianopolis College, Montreal
  • Collège Maisonneuve, Montreal
  • The Barbara Frum Library, Toronto
  • University of Toronto Reading Series, Hart House
  • Books and Brunch, Nicholas Hoare/King Edward Hotel, Toronto
  • Trent University Open Lecture, Peterborough, Ontario
  • Vancouver Jewish Book Festival

Among the topics on which Elaine lectures

  • The Writer as a Work-in-Progress (a motivational talk about her own evolution as a writer)
  • The Writers of Montreal
  • The Muse in Montreal: The Streets of Montreal as Inspiration for Writers
  • The Art and Craft of Book Reviewing

If you would like to book Elaine for a talk, click here and fill out the form.


In 2014-2015 Elaine will be presenting the following titles at book clubs:

  • The Marrying of Chani Kaufman by Eve Harris
  • The Finkler Question by Harold Jacobson
  • The Bridge of Sighs by Richard Rousso
  • The Dew Breaker by Edwidge Danticat
  • Brooklyn by Colm Tóibín

If you would like to book Elaine for a presentation, click here and fill out the form.