Category Archives: Claudia Cornwall


City of Vancouver Book Award announces shortlist

Independent presses dominate the shortlist for the 2012 City of Vancouver Book Award, which was announced today.

The $2,000 annual prize recognizes “authors of excellence of any genre who contribute to the appreciation and understanding of Vancouver’s history, unique character, or the achievements of its residents.”

The nominees are:

  • V6A: Writing from Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside, John Mikhail Asfour and Elee Kraljii Gardiner, eds. (Arsenal Pulp Press)
  • At the World’s Edge: Curt Lang’s Vancouver, 1937–1998, Claudia Cornwall (Mother Tongue Publishing)
  • Undesirables: White Canada & the Komagata Maru, Ali Kazimi (Douglas & McIntyre)
  • The Better Mother, Jen Sookfong Lee (Random House Canada)
  • YVR, W.H. New (Oolichan Books)

This year’s jury was comprised of former bookseller Jane Bouey, author and educator David Chariandy, and retired Vancouver Sun books editor Rebecca Wigod. The winner will be announced at the Mayor’s Arts Awards gala on Sept. 20.

Curt Lang’s Vancouver: 1937-1998

Will the real Curt Lang please stand up?

Curt was a beatnik poet, painter, photographer, beachcomber, boat builder, fisherman, and software entrepreneur. He was born in Vancouver in 1937 and died there in 1998. He and Freddy Douglas were known as the two hippest guys in Vancouver during the late fifties and sixties. This book is my portrayal of Curt and the wild and crazy scene that swirled around him.  It will be published by Mother Tongue Publishing in the fall of 2011.

I remember  hiking in a forest with Gordon and my two children.  He was telling them a story about a Druid wizard called Clang. “Clang” was part of Curt’s email address and the wizard bore some resemblance to Curt. We were climbing higher and higher between the Douglas Firs. A mist hung between the trees. I think the story revolved around a major construction project that the wizard was mounting. There were obstacles, delays, frustration. And then I remember that Gordon was overcome by sadness. He couldn’t continue. “It’s too close to the bone,” he said.

There was something wizard-like about Curt. I think that in an earlier and less sophisticated time, a person like him might very well have been so regarded. A shape-shifter he was. Not only did he transform himself several times during his lifetime, but the people around him saw him in such radically different–wildly different–ways. Read more »