ERNA PARIS is the author of seven acclaimed works of literary non-fiction and the winner of twelve national and international writing awards for her books, feature writing, and radio documentaries. Her works have been published in fourteen countries and translated into eight languages. Long Shadows: Truth, Lies, and History was chosen as one of “The Hundred Most Important Books Ever Written in Canada” by the Literary Review of Canada Her most recent work, The Sun Climbs Slow: The International Criminal Court and the Struggle for Justice was first on The Globe and Mail's “best book of the year” list and shortlisted for the Shaughnessy Cohen Prize for Political Writing.


Erna is a member of the Honorary Council of the Canadian Centre for International Justice; a member of the Canada Committee of Human Rights Watch; a member of the board of the Canadian Civil Liberties Association; and a past chair of the Writers' Union of Canada. In 2012, Erna was awarded the World Federalist Movement – Canada World Peace Award.

News and Events

Erna’s best-selling, award-winning book, The End of Days: A Story of Tolerance, Tyranny, and the Expulsion of the Jews from Spain, will be re-published in an updated edition by Cormorant Books, Toronto. The new title is: From Tolerance to Tyranny: A Cautionary Tale from Fifteenth-Century Spain
Pre-order at

Saturday, March 8, 2014
Erna Paris will deliver the keynote address at
the Providence Spirituality Centre,
1200 Princess St., Kingston, Ontario.
For more information:
International Women’s Day 2014 Conference
Read the full Keynote Address

Wednesday, January 29, 2014, Ottawa Citizen

We almost missed our flight several weeks ago at the end of a lengthy stay in Mexico. A raucous demonstration by thousands of the country’s teachers was blocking traffic near the historic centre of the capital.

The powerful teachers’ unions had been fighting back since President Enrique Peña Nieto announced education reforms last September. The reforms demanded testing and advancement according to merit. The unions objected. Many teachers are themselves poorly educated; in addition, many had inherited or bought their jobs. [more]

Wednesday October 30, 2013, Confucius Institute Edmonton (CIE)

Local volunteer group Edmonton ALPHA announced today that internationally-recognized Canadian writers, Erna Paris and Joy Kogawa, will address students in several Edmonton senior high schools on November 21 and 22. In addition, the authors will address a symposium, entitled Why History Matters: The Need for Learning about the Past so that We Can Avoid a Catastrophic Future 1:30 Saturday, November 23rd. The Confucius Institute. Free Admission.

Award-winning historian Erna Paris, author of Long Shadows: Truth, Lies and History, will talk to students about how unaddressed war crimes continue to impact our lives today, and the need for survivors to seek justice and reconciliation. In her public lecture War Crimes: Why Germany Remembers, Why Japan Forgets, and What Can Be Done, Ms. Paris will speak about the legacy of Imperial Japan’s war of aggression and why this continues to matter in today’s world. [more]

Monday November 4, 2013, Globe and Mail

In 1998, when 120 countries at a United Nations conference in Rome agreed, miraculously, to a treaty that would govern the world’s first permanent international criminal court, few thought the road ahead would be easy.

The United States was opposed, as were other major powers, such as Russia and China, who viewed the future institution as a threat to their sovereignty. Although the U.S. now offers important strategic support and has facilitated ICC interests at the Security Council, it still has not ratified the Rome Statute, meaning that its citizens remain largely immune from potential indictments. This political positioning has damaged the reputation of the court as a purveyor of even-handed justice, through no fault of its own. When George W. Bush and Dick Cheney remain unaccountable for having approved torture at prison sites around the globe, people elsewhere notice. [more]

Iranian Edition of The Sun Climbs Slow

February, 2012 Erna is pleased to announce that the Persian-language edition of The Sun Climbs Slow: The International Criminal Court and the Struggle for Justice has been published by Enteshar Publication Co.,Tehran. In addition to being made available to the general public, the book will be studied by Iranian law students. In a separate edition, [...]

More »

Justice for Child Victims is Indeed Possible

Thursday, Mar. 15, 2012, Globe and Mail Guilty as charged. There was high drama in The Hague and in the Democratic Republic of the Congo on Wednesday as the judges of the International Criminal Court prepared to release the tribunal’s historic first judgment. The decision was unanimous. Between September, 2002, and August, 2003, Thomas Lubanga [...]

More »

International Criminal Court Track Record

Thursday March 15, 2012, CBC Radio, The Current Well it did take a decade and piles of money for the International Criminal Court to get a conviction. And now the Congolese warlord who destroyed the lives of so many children forcing them to be child soldiers or sex slaves will be locked away. But of [...]

More »

National Magazine Award Winner

June 7, 2012 The New Solitudes, Erna’s Walrus magazine article on a changed Canada, won a silver medal at the Canadian National Magazine Awards.

More »

Nuremberg’s Forgotten Doppelganger
A cautionary tale of victors’ justice.

The Mauthausen Trial: American Military Justice in Germany, By Tomaz Jardim, Harvard University Press Reviewed By Erna Paris Literary Review of Canada, May 2012 “Shortly after 9:00 a.m. on May 27, 1947, the first of forty-nine men condemned to death for war crimes at Mauthausen concentration camp mounted the gallows in the courtyard of Landsberg [...]

More »

Charles Taylor Sentencing Brings World Closer to Humanitarian Vision of Justice

Saturday June 2, 2012, Globe and Mail Fifty years in prison. To receive his sentence, former Liberian president Charles Taylor was ordered to stand before the judges of the special court that had been convened to try him. Only a small involuntary movement of his lower lip marked the moment he understood the news.

More »

China has moved forward. The party hasn’t

Monday, Nov. 19 2012, Globe and Mail The tea-leaf readers were jittery during my recent visit to Beijing in the days leading up to the 18th Congress of the Communist Party of China. Speculation about political reform peppered conversations, especially after a high-ranking official publicly acknowledged the need for change. To the certain disappointment of [...]

More »

Why Not Try Taking Syria to Court?

Friday, January 25, 2013, Globe and Mail Last week, in a desperate effort to derail Syria’s murderous civil war, the Swiss government and 55 countries from every region of the world collectively called on the United Nations Security Council to refer the crisis to the International Criminal Court. After almost two years of escalating atrocities, [...]

More »

Rape Must Be Outlawed as a Weapon of War

Monday, Apr. 29 2013, Globe and Mail Rape is a weapon of war. In the past, women were carried away as booty, along with the loser’s gold and silver reserves. Occasionally, they became the subject of great theatre, as in Euripides’s still-raw drama of grief, The Trojan Women. Over the centuries, the wartime abuse of [...]

More »

A Very French National Emergency

Wednesday, Aug. 14 2013, Globe and Mail For over a century, foreigners have flocked to France. The country is geographically diverse, beautiful and blessed with a thriving agricultural sector whose products can reach national markets within hours of harvest. A culture of pleasure prevails, including café society and local consumption of the world’s best wines. [...]

More »

Quebec and the Surveillance Society

Thursday September 19, 2013, Ottawa Citizen Personal privacy: the right not to have our words tracked by the overseers of the digital world we now inhabit. Freedom of expression: the right to communicate our commitments however we choose, provided no harm is done. Remarkably, both these hard-won rights are being jeopardized at the highest levels [...]

More »

The Sun Climbs Slow

The Sun Climbs Slow

A compelling journey into the dramatic events behind the creation of the International Criminal Court.

Long Shadows

Long Shadows

A superb work of history and thought. A brilliantly conceived quest...