Claudia Casper

Claudia Casper

Long-form Fiction

Claudia has written three novels: The Reconstruction, a best-seller, published by Penguin Canada and in the UK, US, and Germany; The Continuation of Love by Other Means, also published by Penguin and short-listed for the Ethel Wilson Fiction Prize; and most recently, The Mercy Journals, published by Arsenal Pulp Press and winner of the 2017 Phillip K. Dick Award for distinguished science-fiction. She has also written creative non-fiction (Event Magazine, Geist, Lit-Hub, Globe and Mail, Dropped Threads etc.), book reviews for the Globe and Mail and the Vancouver Sun, and is currently collaborating on France/Canada feature film adaptation of her first novel. She has taught as a sessional at Kwantlen Polytechnic University, and appeared at the 2017 Iceland Writer’s Retreat, and most recently the Pasadena LitFest. She will be the Whistler writer-in-residence for 2018. She has been a mentor with VMI for 9 years.

What will VMI participants gain from the program?
The invaluable gift of an honest reflection back of what they’ve created. Clear feedback about what isn’t working, and collaborative discussion about how to make it work. A fellow writer to walk beside you in the difficult process of finishing a book.

What is the most valuable piece of writing advice you have received?
Leonard Cohen said, “Don’t trust my inner feelings, inner feelings come and go.” And paraphrasing Cohen here, if you stay with something long enough, it will yield.

What book, poem or other written work has been most inspirational to you?
Hamlet, King Lear, the Torah, James Joyce Ulysses, Nadine Gordimer, Anita Brookner’s Hotel du Lac, Kurt Vonnegut, J.M. Coetzee, Disgrace

What books do you recommend VMI participants read for additional advice?
That very much depends on what they are working on.

What are you currently working on?
A feature-length screenplay and just beginning a hybrid novel and a short story.

What is the most valuable insight or skill that your VMI writers have learned from you?
This would probably be better coming from them. I can’t really say. I believe I am strong in seeing the whole, helping them articulate what they are aiming for, and mapping a path forward to get where they want to go.

What do you gain from the mentoring process?
The joy of sharing the creative process, of participating in creating something complete and new.

What do you wish you knew when writing your first manuscript that you know now?
That it never gets easier. The feeling of wishing I had a bigger brain to contain the whole suitcase of a novel and a bigger brain to more easily track and reorder all the items inside that suitcase to form an original, cohesive and logical narrative.

What do you enjoy most about being a VMI mentor?
I love the melding of minds to create the best possible book.

What will VMI participants gain from the program?
The invaluable gift of an honest reflection back of what they’ve created. Clear feedback about what isn’t working, and collaborative discussion about how to make it work. A fellow writer to walk beside you in the difficult process of finishing a book.