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Writers at school


Host an Artist or Writer.

Monique Polak



Monique Polak

Monique Polak is the author of nine novels for young adults. Her most recent book, What World Is Left, made the American Library Association’s Editor's Choice list for 2008. Monique teaches English Literature, Humanities, and Creative Writing at Marianopolis College. She is a frequent contributor to the Montreal Gazette. Her work also appears in Maclean's Magazine.

Suggested reading*

Flip Turn (J.Lorimer, 2004)
Finding Elmo (Orca Book Publishers, 2007)
121 Express (Orca Book Publishers, 2008)
Junkyard Dog (Orca Book Publishers, 2009)
The Middle of Everywhere (Orca, 2009)
Miracleville (Orca Book Publishers, 2011)
What World Is Left (Orca Book Publishers, 2008)
Scarred (J. Lorimer, 2007)
All In (J. Lorimer, 2006)
On the Game (J. Lorimer, 2005)
Home Invasion (Orca Book Publishers, 2005)
No More Pranks (Orca Book Publishers, 2004)

*These titles have been suggested by the author based on the activities that he/she proposes to students.
It is, however, up to teachers to verify whether the titles are appropriate for their groups (age and education level, specific context, etc.).
Teaching staff are invited to contact the author for clarification on this aspect and assistance in preparing their groups for his/her visit.

Proposed approach and type of activities

Part of the lesson she has to teach youngsters is about perseverance and not giving up on your dreams. Her approach, both as a classroom teacher and as a journalist, is the same: she wants to hear young people's voices. She wants to help them express themselves more effectively.

Examples of activities


  • Since the setting is essential to her stories, she could help students develop their observation skills. She would ask them to focus on a particular memory or scene, and use all five senses to create a single dominant mood or impression.

Elements of narrative:

  • She would ask students to think about some of the elements that make a story: character, point of view, plot and conflict. She would then ask them to develop their own story lines.


  • Drawing on her own work, she would discuss the function of dialogue. She would ask students to write their own dialogue, using two distinctly different characters.

Turning trauma into art:

  • If she was working with high school students, she would discuss the transformation of traumatic experience into art. She would ask them to come up with examples from their own and others' experiences, and to begin writing a short piece based on this material.

Other examples of activities

Monique Polak has a special interest in Holocaust studies. Her novel What World Is Left is based on the story of Monique's mother's imprisonment in a Nazi concentration camp, a story her mother kept secret for more than 60 years. Monique’s workshop can include a unit on writing about the Holocaust and how to uncover the stories people are reluctant to share.

Special conditions

For information

Monique Polak
Phone : 514 483-3984
Other phone : 514 931-8792
Email :

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