December 16, 2013

Season's Greetings from the President of WICE

I wish you a Happy New Year.  I'm pleased to report that the past year was another very good year at WICE.  We did well with our regular program offerings and we had a good summer Writer’s Course the American University of Paris.  Our Open House at the American Church in September got us off to a good start for the current year. It was very well attended by both WICE members and guests.
Ed Canady
President - WICE
Since we moved to our new home near La Motte-Piquet metro with its separate classroom, we have begun to move our classes there.   This allows us to substantially reduce external room rental costs and pass the resulting savings onto our members by continuing to offer a selection of free courses and events and by keeping enrollment fees lower for other courses.  

November 26, 2013

Happy Thanksgivukkah!

A Once-in-a-Lifetime Convergence

What Happens When You Cross a Menorah with a Turkey?

Thanks to Meredith Mullins and OIC Moments for this article celebrating Hanukkah and Thanksgiving. We hope you have a happy holiday, whether with a menorah, a turkey, or a Menurkey.

Thanksgiving Meets Hanukkah

Once in a lifetime

The very words—once in a lifetime— stir the creative spirit.

An exceptional comet. The first moon landing. A rare transit of Venus across the face of the sun. A new millenium.

We are inspired to celebrate these rare moments and to capture them in some special way.

This year, this week, for the first time in recorded history since President Lincoln established Thanksgiving in 1863—and for the only time until around 77,000 years from now—Thanksgiving and Hanukkah fall on the same day. Crossing cultures in the best possible way.

Gobble tov. Happy Thanksgivukkah. Mazel turk.

The Mind of an Inventor

This rare merging of the Gregorian and Hebrew lunar calendars planted a seed in the inventive mind of 10-year-old Asher Weintraub.

Asher was excited when his mom told him of this rare convergence of dates—two memorable days of thanks on November 28.

“Cool,” he said. “They’re two of my favorite holidays. There should be something to celebrate it.”

November 19, 2013

Paris Museum Exhibitions: Explanations for your Enjoyment

History of Art courses have returned this season with a large course selection full of exciting topics. With a professional background in History of Art, Christina Vremes joins the WICE Instructor team to teach a series of Exhibition Seminars and Venetian Renaissance art courses.   WICE's free social event to launch these History of Art classes was held on November 3, 2013, at the Chateau Champs-sur-Marne, where Christina presented all of her upcoming courses and seminars.  Participants were treated to wine (provided by WICE's wine tasting department) during the presentation, before exploring the recently restored 18th century chateau and its gardens.   

art history class paris
Art History tour at the Chateau Champs-sur-Marne
-photo by Jenna Smith

November 6, 2013

Fabulous French Cooking with Françoise

"Cooking is always sharing. " - Françoise Meunier

Now that the holiday season has arrived, it's time to spend special evenings together with family and friends.   Everyone looks forward to sharing these memorable moments highlighted by delicious food.  But if you're the one preparing the special meals, there might be a bit of stress along with the anticipation of the holiday gatherings. 
Françoise Meunier
Françoise leading a Market Walk 

This holiday season take one of WICE’s Cooking Courses with Françoise Meunier and let her melt away your stress as she demystifies French cooking.   French cooking may be different from the kind of cooking that you're used to, but Françoise teaches us that different does not have to mean difficult.   The theme of each of her courses is French Family Cooking where you learn to prepare a main dish and dessert, using recipes that are easy to prepare, but taste and look fantastic.  

October 16, 2013

A Passion for Fashion

Now that the buzz has died down about Paris Fashion Week 2013, WICE’s new Fashion courses can help fill in the gap until next year. 

As one of the newest additions to the Visual Arts Instructor team, WICE is pleased to introduce Iveta Karpathyova.   Originally from Slovakia, Iveta also lived in Greece before moving to Toronto, Canada, to receive her degree in Design and Communication - Fashion Communication from Ryerson University.  In 2010 she moved to Paris, where she worked as a graphic designer for one of the top color and beauty forecasting companies, and did trend research for the bi-annual color forecast meetings. 

October 2, 2013

Eating Healthy With a Smile at The Superfoods Cafe

In honor of the growing effort to make today, October 2nd, (and future first Wednesdays of October) become the official National Kale Day, let's talk about healthy eating. 

superfoods cafe
Elke Seyser - Owner of The Superfoods Cafe

Of course, you've easily been able to avoid those fried pork skins and twinkies, but have you been able to take your healthy eating to the next step, by reducing your dependence on packaged and processed foods with paragraph-long lists of ingredients that only a scientist can understand?  

Organic, vegetarian, vegan, raw.   Are you trying to eat healthier, but you don't know where to start?  

September 17, 2013

Open House 2013: Find your place in the Paris International Community with WICE

Come and join us next week at WICE’s annual Open House event, where you can have fun finding out about WICE and how it can enrich your stay in Paris.   Open House 2013 is a free event that is open to the public. 

When:  Tuesday, 24 September from 14h30 to 18h30

Where:  American Church of Paris, 65 Quai d’Orsay, 75007 Paris
              Metro: Invalides, Alma-Marceau

WICE holds a unique spot in the Paris expat community, with its diverse offering of courses in English.  WICE also holds free weekly French-English conversation groups and many free social events throughout the year.  

September 4, 2013

WICE Member Spotlight: Marnie Keith-Murray

C’est la Rentrée.  Welcome back! 

We hope that everyone has come back from vacation tanned, rested, and ready to attack the new year.  Here at WICE we've got a great line up of courses and events to kick start your Rentrée with excitement.  Some courses are tried-and-true while others are just being introduced for the first time and eagerly awaiting your participation.  So whether you’re new and thinking about enrolling in your first WICE course, or a seasoned member taking your favorite course again, WICE has something to offer you this fall. Check out our courses, have fun learning something new and make cool friends.  But don’t take our word for this. We recently received some great feedback from one of our many satisfied members.  

Here’s a bit about Marnie Keith-Murray and what she had to say about her experiences with WICE:   

Why did you move to Paris and what do you do here?

Marnie Keith-Murray
I am a sailor and for 5 winters after my retirement as a management consultant, I went south to the Bahamas and the Caribbean crewing on other peoples’ boats.  I crewed on sailboats and trawlers meandering down the IntraCoastal Waterway from Toronto to Trinidad through both calm and stormy seas.  I loved the people I met and the adventures but something was missing from that life.  In 2010, I journeyed to Paris and discovered what it was, and it was the unabated culture and history which I found in Paris.    I had lived in France and Belgium for four years in my twenties and I had fond memories even then of wanting more!

June 23, 2013

What's Coming Up With WICE

With the weather refusing to believe the calendar's indication that summer has actually begun, everyone is eager to leave these dreary gray skies in search of warmth, sun, and the relaxation of vacation getaways.   But just as the excitement for vacation ramps up, eventually the dread of its ending will grow and cast a bittersweet taste at the thought of returning back home to 'real life'.   

To cure these 'end of the summer blues', the WICE Program Directors are pleased to bring you an exciting Fall Course selection that will make you look forward to the Rentrée, all summer long. 

June 18, 2013

Lucy Wadham Takes a Close Look at Both the French and British

Ben Nason
Lucy Wadham
Photo: Ben Nason
In the world of writing, memoirs are usually a one hit wonder.  Once you've used your life's material, that source is exhausted and then it's time to move on to other topics.   But British author Lucy Wadham triumphantly breaks through this limitation, with the recent publication of two vastly different memoirs:  Heads and Straights, and So French.

In honor of the London Underground's 150 anniversary this year, Transport for London and Penguin books teamed up to create a series celebrating life in London, in which each book was inspired by one of the 12 different Tube lines.   Lucy was commissioned to write about the Circle Line which serves the Chelsea neighborhood where she grew up in the 1970s. Heads and Straights recounts Wadham's family experiences in the pre-Thatcher days of punk, drugs and rebellious teenagers.

"In Heads and Straights, Lucy creates a funny, moving account of a group of people eager to escape the confines of class. Through interlocking tales of their extravagant and often self-destructive journeys away from the Circle line stops of Sloane Square, South Kensington and Gloucester Road, Lucy evokes the collision between conformism and bohemian excess and the complicated class antipathies that flourished in that particular time and place."*

Moving across la manche, Lucy examines the cultural differences between the British and the French, in The Secret Life of France.  Unlike most 'froglit', that unique genre of British writers' fish-out-of-water experiences in France, Lucy gives us her insider's perspective.  With her marriage into a Parisian bourgeois family, children in the French educational system, assignments as an investigative journalist for the BBC, and over twenty years of living in France, Lucy was well placed to give the insightful observations and amusing anecdotes that made The Secret Life of France become a bestselling hit after its release in 2009.

Following the success of The Secret Life of France, the eagerly awaited French version (So French -  L'amour Vache d'une Anglaise Pour la France) was just released .  For the launch of So French, Lucy's been busy giving media interviews with the likes of TV5 Monde, Europe 1, and France Bleu.  So French also enjoyed an elegant launch party on June 3rd, at a chic art gallery in the 6eme arrondissement, complete with champagne.

In addition to the publication of these two books this spring, Lucy spoke about Heads and Straights at the prestigious Hay Festival of Literature and the Arts - aka The Woodstock of the Mind.

Prior to these memoirs, Lucy wrote three thriller and crime fiction novels:
·         Lost:  2000  short listed for the Macallan Golden Dagger Award and optioned for the screen by John Malkovich
·         Castro's Dream:  2003
·         Greater Love:  2007

In January of this year at WICE's Write-In course, Lucy came to speak about her experiences and journey as a published writer.   Five months later, Lucy shows us that she's having a blockbuster year with publications, interviews, and speaking engagements.  Not to mention that she's also currently working on her next book, Bomb Damage.

What about you?  Are you making progress towards your life goals and dreams?  Need a jumpstart or motivation?  Then check out WICE's diverse selection of courses and events to find your own source of inspiration.

To find out more about Lucy Wadham, visit:


Post by Veronica Kugler

June 9, 2013

Krazy for Kale in Paris!

Frustrated because you’ve searched high and low in the markets but still can’t find kale anywhere in Paris?

Kristen and kale in a Parisian market
Who would have guessed that after moving to Paris, this lesser-known green vegetable would become one of the things that you miss so much from home?
Fortunately for us, Kristen Beddard, the founder of The Kale Project, has taken on the task of making kale available to all of us living in Paris. In the following interview, Kristen discusses The Kale Project’s efforts to bring kale to a Parisian table near you.  

* What is the mission of The Kale Project?
The goals are simple:
1.     When in season, kale will be available to buy in outdoor markets, health food stores and supermarkets. 
2.     Integrate kale into Paris restaurants.
3.     Educate the French community about kale: why it is good for you and what you can do with it.
4.     Expand The Kale Project beyond Paris and into France.

* Why are you such a fan of kale?
It's honestly so funny how kale has become such a daily part of my life - aside from just eating it. But there are a few reasons why...

My childhood: 
My mother became really interested in yoga, vegetarian cooking and macrobiotics in the late 70s before yoga and eating vegetables was considered trendy. When I born in 1984, she lived a macrobiotic lifestyle and I was raised mostly vegetarian (we ate eggs and fish) until I went to Penn State. So kale was always a part of my diet from the time I started eating solid food. I grew up taking weekend trips to the East End Co-op coming home with bags of leafy greens. 

For those that live a vegan/vegetarian lifestyle, kale is very important because it cleanses the blood and acts like a detox. One of the biggest reason is because it is an alkaline vegetable. The majority of Americans eat diets that are much too acidic (let's be honest, the things that taste the best are acidic foods!) so kale is important piece that helps balance out the PH in your body. 

I grew up with my mother telling me that kale was like a medicine and while I might not have loved kale as a young child, I knew that it was something which would keep me healthy.

Kristen and The Kale Project in the French Media
In third grade, we played the game where you have to introduce yourself and add a food that matches your name. I remember saying, "Hi, I'm Kristen and I like kale." No one knew what I was talking about. In the early 1990's, during elementary school, I was the kid that took brown rice, vegetable nori rolls to school for lunch with a side of steamed green beans and this was the time when Kiku in Station Square was the only sushi restaurant in Pittsburgh. So clearly I was always the kid with the weird lunch...

On a side note, my uncle (my mother's brother) is the founder of Lady Moon Farms, which is now the largest organic, vegetable farm on the east coast. So from two kids born in the 1950's in Brentwood, I would say that organics and vegetables are just a big part of our family. 

About two or so years before we left NYC, kale started to become a "thing." By the time we left NYC in August 2011, it was hard to go to a restaurant and not find kale on a menu. The juicing/detox culture was everywhere and it was no longer considered to be "weird," "hippie," or "granola," but cool. Kale was everywhere and I could buy it anywhere whenever I wanted so when we arrived in Paris and kale was nowhere to be found I just was confused. 

While I never did and still don't have an obsession with kale, it just was so bizarre that I could find spinach, swiss chard (although not the gorgeous rainbow kind), and other boring cabbages in the Paris markets but not kale. It's one of the most ancient cabbage greens and was nowhere to be found! 

What else I found very interesting is that kale is grown and sold in neighboring countries which just piqued my curiosity even more. 

* What gave you the idea to promote kale in Paris? 
I first had the idea in November 2011 soon after we'd moved to Paris. I'd talked to a few farmers, shown them photos of kale, etc and got blank stares. Restaurants either had no clue and the restaurants owned by Anglos told me... you will never be able to find it. Through more online research I saw that I was not the only expat that missed and wanted kale - so I knew there would be a niche market if I could find someone to grow it. 

Kristen checks out the kale crops
So my husband and I were talking about it all and I figured instead of joining the people who were complaining about the lack of kale that I would try to do something about it and then that April launched the Project. He is a huge supporter of the Project and frequently helps with marketing and advertising expertise.

Plus I knew that at the end of the day, kale is just a cabbage and not some exotic vegetable that can only be grown in a warm climate, etc. It's easy to grow and prefers colder weather - which is northern France weather. French weather is perfect for this vegetable!

I actually launched the Project before I even had my first farmer on-board but that was a strategic decision. I knew that I could not create supply by growing kale with a farmer without creating awareness and demand at the same time - so I used social media and blogger influence to create a movement and "kale-lover community" in France - of course at first targeting expats. Through these platforms, I made "kale in France" an issue. It was no longer just something that expat mom #1 mentioned to expat mom #2 - the conversation became more than just "I miss kale." I provided a place for people to talk about their love for the vegetable, how they ate it at a restaurant in the states, how they tried to get a farmer to grow it once back in 2008, etc. And through word-of-mouth, the Project grew. 

* Since you've started The Kale Project, have you noticed an increase in the availability of kale in Paris?  What about other areas in France, outside of Paris?

Absolutely, I've created a central place for people to talk about and learn about the vegetable and where to buy it. While a random farmer may have grown kale one time, some years ago, the difference is that very few expats knew that the farmer was growing it so could not go buy it and the French just didn't know what it was, so would rarely buy it. The farmer would not sell it and then he would not grow it again. 
Kale for sale at a Parisian Market

People were excited if they randomly spotted kale at a market and would immediately tell me. Then I go to the market or shop, take photos, talk to the farmers or shop keepers in my pigeon French (they think I'm crazy!) and then add it to the Project's google map of "where to find kale," and write about it. People know what days, when and where to find it and the farmers were selling out. One farmer told an American woman that if she didn't get to the market by 9:30am (they are normally open from 8-1pm), that the kale would be sold out. 

Now the next step is the French and slowly they are becoming more aware. There has been some great French press in early 2013 and efforts are continuing! 

I am definitely expanding outside of Paris. I'm working a few farmers in cities/towns like Nice, Lyon, Caen and Montpellier. I also have people that are like "kale-ambassadors" who reached out to me asking how they could help in their respective towns. It's been so incredible how interested and engaged people are to further the movement. 

* What are you doing to promote kale? 
Since I do not have any actual marketing dollars, social media and digital tactics are the primary way I promote the vegetable. It's been incredible to see how powerful the internet is with something as simple as re-introducing a vegetable to a country where their food culture is already so important. 

The Project also participated in Yelp's France Winter Food Festival this past December. We sampled kale chips, kale pesto and green smoothies to an audience of over-500 French people and I would say that 99.9% of them had never even heard of kale or seen it. So it was a great way to create awareness - and the French loved all of the kale we offered. It was a big success and the reviews of the event even called The Kale Project, "the discovery of the night!" 
Kale Chips from The Kale Project

Note: Loustic, the recently opened espresso bar in the Marais, now serves Kristen’s kale dishes 2-3x per week along with The Kale Project’s products, such as kale chips.

* What's the most rewarding experience that you've had because of The Kale Project?
When Madame Mustard, a year later, looked at the website and truly realized what I had been doing for the past year. I could see it in her eyes her excitement of being part of something and her gratitude for me helping her sell the vegetable.

* How often do you eat kale?  Do you have any recipes that you'd like to share?
Before leaving the states, I think I ate kale about 2x per week. Then I moved to France and of course didn't eat kale in Paris from August 2011 - September 2012 - minus being back in America a few times and going on massive kale binges of salads and juices! Now I eat it a lot more because I'm always experimenting with it. But as with everything, moderation is key. I still love eating swiss chard, spinach and beet greens as well. 

My favorite way to eat kale is a raw kale salad.  This recipe is best for the summer but you can vary the toppings depending on the season. I was actually just at Casbah over the holidays and I can't tell you how great it felt to actually say to the waiter, "I'll have the kale salad please."

Kristen's Raw Kale Salad

Ingredients: 1 bunch of kale, 1 lemon, Olive Oil, Sea Salt & Pepper

1. Wash and remove kale leaves from the stems. Chop into smaller bite-size pieces.

2. Add juice from 1/2-1 lemon.

3. Add drizzle of olive oil. Then salt and pepper to taste.

4. KALE MASSAGE TIME! For about 2-4 minutes, massage the kale with your fingertips. Massaging makes the kale more tender.

An array of toppings can be added: radishes, cherry tomatoes, almonds, carrots, dried cranberries, raisins, avocado, pecorino cheese - the choices are endless!

* What can people do if they'd like to get involved and help?
Contact me! I'm always interested if someone might have a favorite local producer that we can work with together. I have a few "Kale Ambassadors" in the south of France who are working with farmers which has been great. 

For more information about kale and where to find it in Paris, visit

***Have your own kale experiences in Paris that you'd like to share?  Tell us in the comments section.

Posted by Veronica Kugler

May 31, 2013

Three Unique Views of Rare Perfumes

Do you love perfume, but don't know anything about the art of perfume making?

Or does the thought of hanging around Place Vendôme and exploring some of the expensive-looking luxury shops nearby feel a bit intimidating to you?

Maitre Parfumeur et Gantier
If so, WICE has the perfect solution for you.  Recently, WICE members were treated to a special tour of three artisan perfumeries in Paris that specialize in rare and unique, hard to find fragrances.  In these boutiques, you will not find any of the popular mainstream perfumes that are typically found in department stores.

At Maitre Parfumeur et Gantier, we were transported back in time with its elegant 17th century boudoir decor.  There, we learned all about the evolution of the different scents in a fragrance.  The top notes, middle notes, and base notes in perfume unfold at different rates, so it takes a bit of time in order to smell the complete fragrance.  This explains why initially smelling perfume in a store does not have the same fragrance as when you've worn it for an hour.  In fact, some flowers release many different fragrance notes over time, which makes the perfume's fragrance continue to evolve as you wear it throughout the day.    

With their focus on celebrating the history of perfume in France, Maitre Parfumeur et Gantier has a collection of historical perfumes that were recreated using old formulas from the past, such as one of George Sand's perfumes.   Perfumed gloves are sold in homage to the time when perfume and glove making went hand in hand.  They also offer ambiance perfumes for your home, including the one that’s used at the Ritz Hotel.  With this fragrance you can have the aromatic experience of staying at the Ritz, without breaking the bank. 

Frederic Malle
Editions de Parfums
Next we visited Frederic Malle's Editions de Parfums - a modern boutique with a masculine feel.    As the grandson of the founder of Christian Dior perfumes, Malle focuses on highlighting the creators of each fragrance.  Usually people love perfumes without having any awareness of the people behind them.  With Malle, each bottle displays the creator's name as an attempt to correct this oversight.  

Customers can sit down for a one on one consultation aimed at finding their perfect fragrance.  To ensure that they select fragrances that will also be loved once worn, part of the consultation includes the unique Smelling Chamber experience.   These floor-to-ceiling chambers block out all other odors and release all the fragrance notes at once. This allows you to smell the complete perfume without having to wait.  It's as if you get a chance to smell the fragrance trail that you will leave behind, as you walk down the street.      

Last but not least, we ended our tour at Jovoy, where the owner gave us VIP treatment in the store's back parlor area with coffee, tea and exquisite macarons. Unlike the other two stores that sell only their own fragrances, Jovoy has a large selection from over 70 different brands from all over the world.  Delivered with a great sense of humor, the owner gave us a 20th century history lesson of perfume trends in France, including the role of mistresses in the evolution of perfume use.  
Frederic Malle
Smelling Columns
Editions de Parfums

Different fragrances were presented, from various aroma families, including some higher price point perfumes and unusual scents like rhubarb.  At first this might sound strange but if your partner is someone who loves rhubarb-confitured tartines or rhubarb crumbles for dessert, then this might be a winner for you.   At the end of our visit we had the rare treat of receiving free samples of some of the enchanting perfumes that we enjoyed the most.   

What other opportunity would you have to walk into these high-end perfume boutiques, learn all about different fragrances, get VIP treatment and not have any pressure to buy?    After an experience like this, I feel very fortunate to be a WICE member!

Once WICE reconvenes after summer break, our expert perfume guide will offer more perfume tours and workshops available to members.  

**** Don't miss the upcoming workshop dedicated to discovering and learning about the perfumes of Chanel which will take place on Tuesday, December 3rd from 10am -12pm.  

Post and photos by Veronica Kugler

May 22, 2013

Exploring the Jardins Albert Kahn

© Anu Berghuis-Pohjola
When the Paris winter lingers a little too long, offering only precious few days of sun, the WICE Photography Exploring group must rise to the challenge.

© Ashley Frye Roukema 
Last week, the intrepid group wandered the Jardins Albert Kahn and found the essence—rich colors, strong lines, and elegant forms. As usual with a creative group, everyone saw something different, even though our paths overlapped and intersected.

© Geoffrey Kanter
The diffused light of the overcast day was the perfect complement to the layers of green and bursts of bright color.

© Nora Kanter

© Heidi Crooks
Even the raindrops provided graphic elegance.

© Linda Sterckel-Delno
Chapeau to the photographers! May you have many more rewarding explorations.

© Annette Van Cranenburgh 

© Bob Levy
© Lorena Coletta
Join the WICE guided tour of the Albert Kahn Gardens coming up on June 4. The roses will be in bloom! Check out the visit on the WICE website.

As of this writing, there is one spot left in the NEW "Exploring Paris Through The Lens" class that starts on May 28. Find out more Exploring Class

Posted by Photography Instructor Meredith Mullins.

May 13, 2013

Hot Pot, Can't Stop....a Culinary Experience

Do you know what Chinese Hot Pot is and where you can find it in Paris?

Chinese Hot Pot simmering on tabletop stove

Well, you’re not alone.  I didn't either.  At least, not before I recently went to one of WICE’s social events.     You might not know this, but in addition to classes, WICE also offers a variety of free social events for members. 

Stove tabletops
A couple of weeks ago, I attended the WICE event: Hot Pot - Can’t Stop.   Although I had never heard of Chinese Hot Pot cooking before, with this catchy title, I could not resist giving it a try.  On one of the rare
hot and sunny days in April, seven of us WICE Members met for lunch at a small restaurant called Au Ciel, in the 11th arrondissement.

Chinese Hot Pot (also known as Chinese Fondue) is a soup-like dish in which you cook all of the ingredients yourself, at your own pace while you’re eating.  It’s been around for over 1000 years and can be cooked with various combinations of all kinds of vegetables, seafood, meats, and noodles. 

At the restaurant, the conversation started off easily with the typical ex-pat conversation about where we all came from and why we had chosen to live in France.   Since most of us had never met each other before, it was fascinating to hear each person’s unique path to Paris.  After ordering, the server came to each of us, leaned over, and pressed some hitherto unseen buttons in front of us to turn on our individual cooking surfaces.  As newbies to the Chinese Hot Pot experience, we hadn't realized that our shiny black glass table where we had been casually resting our elbows on was also our stovetop.  

Table overflowing with ingredients  
Next, we each received a large metal pot filled with a savory broth, a plate of green leafy vegetables with uncooked noodles, a plate of sliced meats, and rice.   Once the broth started to boil, we could add our
ingredients as we pleased and cook them to our own liking.  Mid-meal the server came walking by with a humongous metal tea pot, stopping at every table.  Now I’m used to Chinese restaurants serving tea in small, dainty ceramic cups, so I wondered, “Just how thirsty does she think we are?”

Actually, she wasn't serving tea at all.   She was offering refills of the soup base for all our hot pots.  Because you let the pot simmer the entire time that you’re cooking and eating, the broth slowly evaporates.  You need the broth refills to continue cooking until you've had enough to eat. 

By the end of this meal, I was stuffed.  I’m definitely going to go back to try a new combination of ingredients from the extensive menu of Hot Pot choices.   This WICE event successfully delivered its promise of a good meal.  As an added bonus, I discovered a new neighborhood to explore and met some pretty interesting people.    How cool is that, for only 9€80 (the price of the lunch menu)!

Next time you’re looking for something different to do, try one of WICE’s free social events.

Post and  photos by Veronica Kugler

April 17, 2013

WICE 2013 Summer Writing Course - Zoë Brân's thoughts on Non-Fiction

Zoë Brân 
These days it's easier than ever to write and be read by a wide readership, even a global readership. Writing for a publisher who will pay you is however becoming a more difficult prospect, certainly more difficult than it was nearly 20 years ago when I wrote my first non-fiction book. This is not to say that there's no money in writing, on the contrary, online writing is fast becoming an excellent source of income. So, it's important for writers whether aspiring or established to be aware that we are now at a turning point in the history of publishing when the ways the past - author, agent, publisher - are currently being superseded by the Internet and online publishing. This is an exciting development and one that we should welcome as it offers a previously unknown level of artistic licence and author freedom.

What I encourage all my students to do, in any discipline of writing, is to consider what they want to write and why they want to write it. One of the best ways to ensure publication, in any form, is to be absolutely clear about your commitment to a chosen genre and certain that it is the best way to express what it is you want to say to the world. Non-fiction offers a wide variety of possible genres from autobiography and biography to travel literature or blogging about food or make up. Which of these many possibilities is right for you? Finding the best use and direction for your skills and talents is one of the things I particularly enjoy working on with students.

Perhaps you are already well advanced with your writing? How is it possible to improve it? Non-fiction walks a line between storytelling and fact and one of the key elements of almost all writing, regardless of genre, is the weaving of research into a harmonious whole. As a former Writer in Residence at The University of the Arts here in London I worked with students across many topics, including journalism, fashion and business, helping them manage their research and edit their work. The second key element, common to all genres, is of course, editing. How do you go about your research and editing? Is it possible to make them easier and simpler?

Ultimately, any success in terms of readership, income or both, depends upon the happy conjunction between what it is you want to write and what is the world wants to read. Awareness of the market, trends and the links between online and hardcopy are essential for any aspiring writer. Online social networking platforms are increasingly important to many non-fiction publishers seeking to maximise their marketing and sales advantage and these are things that any writer is able to develop for themselves.

We are all limited by our expectations and perceptions of the world around us and these limitations naturally feed into our creativity and our writing life. Over the years I have used simple techniques to open up students’ creative thinking processes thereby allowing fresh perspectives and new directions to emerge. Changing the way we see writing itself (I dictate all my writing, including this blog post), the world of publishing and our possible readership, can help us to find our voice as a writer and the best place to express that voice.

© Zoë Brân 2013

-Zoë Brân's The Art of Non-Fiction course will be offered at:

When:  June 24, 2013 to June 28, 2013
Where:  The American University of Paris

***Enrollment is limited.  Reserve your spot now at The Art of Non-Fiction (PWU242).

For more information about Zoë Brân visit