Literary Salon

I’m reviving the literary salon. In private homes, libraries, schools, conventions, retreats – anywhere people want to gather to share openly from the heart with one another.

A host gathers some friends or I come to a school classroom, conference or public space. We talk about how real-life conversation is different from typing on the internet. We cover the rules of the salon so we can all agree to hold a safe space for sharing. We journal together. I read from one of my essays to set a warm tone of invitation and exploration. Then we pass bags of open-ended questions in categories and spend a delightful hour or two in conversation about the deeper things in life. Some examples:

  • What is my biggest fear? Why does it have a hold on me?affirmations
  • What are 3 simple things I could do to take better care of myself?
  • What did I learn about expressing emotions when I was growing up?
  • Right now, what I need most is…

In our technology-driven culture, we are at risk of losing our ability to connect authentically with other people through well-thought-out conversation. The literary salon is designed to get people talking to one another. At the heart of the salon is a search for meaningful connection. It is about about creating a safe space for vulnerable sharing, with no digital distractions.

No one is ever pressured to participate or share more than they are comfortable sharing. The goal of the literary salon is to remind us just how satisfying it can be to engage in guided conversations; ones that help us reach inward in order to connect with others around our shared human experience. Salons can reveal new pieces of our identity to us.

Please contact me for more information or to book a date.


“I had a FABULOUS time at the salon! The questions were really fantastic and thought-provoking. I also thought that you had a really good balance of being facilitator and sharing a little of your story. Well done!” – Sandra

“I thought the entire concept of the salon was phenomenal. I liked the journaling prompts. You were a warm, receptive facilitator. I’m excited to do another salon in the future!” – Pam

“The choice of questions (relationship, parenting, personal growth) was perfect for the audience. Just what we all seemed to need to talk about. Such a great idea. Conversation is becoming a lost art – something that is crucial to self growth.” – Amy

“My ELA 20-2 and 30-1 classes had the absolute pleasure of experiencing Julianne Harvey’s Literary Salons in November of 2015. Ms. Harvey’s ease and comfort in front of the students set the tone for an interesting and enlightening morning of thought, exploration and conversation. The format of the Literary Salon lends itself to gently easing the students into the exercise, allowing them to understand the process without trepidation. The Salon itself is extremely well organized and moves seamlessly from beginning to end. Students in both classes were quickly engaged and delved into the conversation exercises with vim. I was amazed and enthralled to watch the students answer questions about themselves and the world around them without hesitation. I would do this again, even with the same students!” – Shelley C., High School English Teacher

A Few Places I’ve Done Salons:

  • Edmonton and Calgary Teachers’ Conventions
  • Roots: A Women’s Night Out
  • Mothers of Preschoolers
  • Women Daring Greatly Creative Retreat
  • High School English Classes
  • Public Libraries
  • Private Homes