Contact Claudia

Claudia Cornwall, a freelance writer for over 20 years, has written three books. The second one, Letter from Vienna: A Daughter Uncovers her Family’s Jewish Past, won the BC Book Prize for best non-fiction in 1996.

She has been published in many Canadian magazines and newspapers including The Globe & Mail, Reader’s Digest, (the Canadian, the international and the Mainland China editions), BC Business, as well as the on-line magazine, Tyee.

She teaches courses about ethical and legal issues for writers as well as courses in memoir writing at SFU and Douglas College. In March 2009, she received a $20,000 journalism award from the Canadian Institutes of Health Research to support the writing of a series of stories about health research.

Claudia Cornwall grew up in Vancouver and studied philosophy at UBC and the University of Calgary. She is married and has a son and a daughter who are both at university.

  1. Dear Claudia Cornwall. I have just been reading through ‘At The World’s Edge’. I found it very moving. I was fairly close to Curt back in the period 1957-9. We shared a house till early ’58 and then met up again in London. We both taught English at the Regency in Ramsgate. Then our paths separated: he went to Spain and then back to Vancouver. I went on to Paris and then to Greece, where I have spent much of my subsequent life.I am sorry this information was not available to you when you wrote the book. I live at present in the UK.
    Thanks again for bringing that remarkable life back so vividly.
    Victor Hill

  2. Hi. I found your site while searching for “ethics in writing and publishing” and found your class at SFU. I’m hoping you might be able to provide some help or insight with what are ongoing issues in my writing life. I’m fresh out of my latest battle with amateur/wannabe writers over whether it’s appropriate to even discuss ethics in writers groups (let along what those standards actually are.) The biggest battles are over self-publishers’ marketing ploys, including fake/purchased reviews, using fake business names to try to mask that a book was self-published, trying to lump self-publishers in with traditionally vetted & edited “small” or “indie” publishers by using those terms interchangeably, etc. I’ve lost track of how many death threats and insults I’ve received by raising these issues. The preponderance of self-publishers and the demand that one accept immoral and even illegal acts (i.e. violating the FTC’s “endorsement” statutes) without protest have made it impossible for me to participate in local writer’s organizations. Will we ever see an examination of the negative impact of self-publishing* on writing culture? Does anyone realize how isolated aspiring writers are who oppose lying to and misleading potential readers through deceptive marketing practices? I’d appreciate any insight you have into these issues. It’s brutal out here. *Obviously, self-publishing can be a useful tool for reissuing backlist items or for “niche” publications. I’m speaking here of those self-publishers who are trying to conceal the fact that their stuff is self-published.

    • Hi Kell,
      Self publishing has a long and distinguished history as you can see by looking at this link:
      Many authors who went on to fame (if not fortune) have done it. I also think that there is less shame attached to the practice now. Publishers these days have become so risk averse that they may actually like it if authors try their titles first. If there is an audience, then a publisher might be motivated to take over. (“Fifty Shades of Grey” was first self-published.) So my advice would be not to conceal the fact that something is self published. I also would advise authors to pay to have the book professionally edited, pay for a good design, make arrangements for distribution…In other words, use the tools that will make the book competitive in the marketplace. I think it is too bad if you are staying away from writers’ organizations because of this issue. Being part of that community can really be helpful and useful. Have you tried the Writer’s Union of Canada?

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