National Institute on Aging

In Memoriam: Austin Chesterfield Clarke, 1934-2016

clarkeAustin Clarke, the award-winning novelist and educator, died in a Toronto hospital on June 26. He was 81 years old.

Clarke was a native of Barbados. He came to Canada in 1955 to study at the University of Toronto and became a Canadian citizen in 1981. He worked as a journalist covering the civil rights movement in the United States for the Canadian Broadcasting Company.

Clarke was the author of 11 novels, including the highly acclaimed The Polished Hoe (Amistad Press, 2003), which was awarded the Giller Prize and the Commonwealth Writers’ Prize. His final work, Membering (TAP Books, 2015) is a memoir of his early days as a Black man in Canada.

Early in his career, Clarke taught at Yale University, Duke University, and the University of Texas. Later, he served as a writer-in-residence at Concordia University in Montreal and the University of Western Ontario.


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