Claudia Cornwall

Claudia Cornwall, BA Hons, PhD, is a successful freelance writer whose second book, Letter from Vienna, won a 1996 B.C. Book Prize for non-fiction.

Her articles have appeared in several national publications, including The Globe and Mail and Reader's Digest. She earned her PhD in philosophy from the University of Calgary and has taught undergraduate philosophy at the University of Toronto.

In 2011, she won a Canadian Institutes of Health Research Journalism Award worth $20,000. Her book At the World's Edge: Curt Lang's Vancouver 1937–1998 was published in October 2011. Find out more at

Claudia’s advice for Writer’s Studio applicants

What are you looking for in your workshop group?

I am looking for people who have a passion for telling stories. It’s a plus if they can show me something they have already published but it’s not necessary. Some of my students have had a pivotal experience they want to describe and understand. Others may be intrigued by different events and enthusiastic about communicating this interest to readers. It’s wonderful to see evidence of a willingness to experiment, as I think that is a sign of someone who is likely to grow as a writer.

What do you look for when reading an applicant’s submission?

I’d like to know what you would like to accomplish in the year ahead. Do you already have something specific in mind? Do you want to write a larger work or a series of stand-alone pieces? Or do you regard a year in the Writer’s Studio as an opportunity to discover your voice? I’d like to know something about your education and your current occupation. I’m interested in what your writing experience has been so far and whether you have participated in any writing workshops. If so, how did that go? If you have a project in mind that involves research, do you have previous experience with research? If you have tried different genres, I’d like to see examples of that in your portfolio. Your cover letter does not have to be long. It is best, however, if something in it stands out, is original or unique.  

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