Austin Clarke, Canadian novelist, Died at 81


Austin Ardinel Chesterfield “Tom” Clarke was born on July 26, 1934, in St. James, Barbados, and died on June 26, 2016.

He was a Barbadian novelist, essayist, and short story writer.

He was living in Toronto, Ontario

He received his early education there and taught at a rural school for three years.

During 1955, he relocated to Canada to attend the University of Toronto.

Then, after two years he turned his hand to journalism and broadcasting.

Austin Clarke was a reporter in the Ontario communities of Timmins and Kirkland Lake before joining the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation as a freelance journalist.

Austin Clarke taught at several American universities, including Yale University (Hoyt fellow, 1968–70), Duke University (1971–72), and the University of Texas (visiting professor, 1973).

During 1973, he was designated cultural attaché at the Barbadian embassy in Washington, DC.

Then, he became the General Manager of the Caribbean Broadcasting Corporation in Barbados (1975-1977).

On his return to Canada, in 1977 he ran as a Progressive Conservative candidate in the Ontario election.

Austin was a writer in residence at Concordia University, Montreal, Quebec (1977), and at the University of Western Ontario (1978).

Austin Clarke served on the Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada, rom 1988 to 1993

In September 2012, at the International Festival of Authors (IFOA), Clarke was announced as the winner of the $10,000 Harbourfront Festival Prize “on the merits of his published work and efforts in fostering literary talent in new and aspiring writers”.

He was a recipient of the awards (established in 1984) include: Dionne Brand, Wayson Choy, Christopher Dewdney, Helen Humphreys, Paul Quarrington, Peter Robinson, Seth, Jane Urquhart, and Guy Vanderhaeghe.

Austin Clarke was reported as saying: “I rejoiced when I saw that Authors at Harbourfront Centre had named me this year’s winner of the Harbourfront Festival Prize. I did not come to this city on September 29, 1959, as a writer. I came as a student.

He went on to say’ my career as a writer buried any contention of being a scholar and I thank Authors at Harbourfront Centre for saving me from the more painful life of the ‘gradual student.’ It is an honour to be part of such a prestigious list of authors.

Austin Clarke passed away at 81 yrs old.