Cleft Palate Survivor, Professor, Painter, and Prose Writer

Karl Schonborn, Author of Cleft Heart

Karl Schonborn has earned a living using his voice as a public speaker, even though it once sounded nasal and snuffly as cleft-palate voices often do. Besides using his voice to narrate documentaries and interview  guests on TV shows, Schonborn has lectured and spoken to thousands of students in his career as a university professor.

Schonborn’s experience of being bullied as a child motivated him to study violence of all sorts—from schoolyard incidents to international ones. He’s written four books over the years, some with recommendations about how teachers, police—and even U.N. peacekeeping troops—can more effectively deal with violence.

One might expect Schonborn,  a product of the Ivy League * and a student of violence, to be one serious dude. However, his students know from painful experience that he’d like to be a stand-up comic one day…if not in this life, then in the next. With a wife and two kids and a mustache covering his upper-lip cleft palate scars, Schonborn passes for “normal” in a San Francisco suburb.

If you still don’t know enough about Schonborn… read on.

Random Facts About Karl

  • His 9 pound rescue dog, Monte, fights bullies—as an Anti-bully warrior—at
  • Karl’s torn between spending free time with family and friends or spending it writing or painting, two very solitary enterprises.
  • In his youth, he circumnavigated the world for $880—planes, trains, and mostly automobiles. Still loves to travel, but recently paid $880 to spend 2 nights in St. Petersburg, Russia. Had to pay upfront Russia would grant a visa.
  • He eats sticks and twigs for a long life. However, or maybe because of this, he absolutely insists on tasty, fabulous food when he breaks his cardboard n catsup diet.
  • He dislikes scuba diving, and would never bungee jump, or skydive either. His 7 cleft lip and palate surgeries left him with a healthy respect for life. Plus he dislikes the amenities of intensive care units.
  • Furthermore, he still remembers when his whole family got seasick on a catamaran on a snorkeling expedition.
  • He only watches news on TV (the Superbowl and World Series count as news given his warped male sensibility). Well, once in a while, a TV Special or a boffo movie. Not a snob, just too busy.


  • Yale College                                                  Psychology, Writing
  • Columbia University Medical School      Medicine
  • UPenn                                                           Sociology
  • UC Berkeley, UCLA, CSU                          Writing