The Austin Clarke Library

Overview

Gathered together are three extraordinary books by renowned storyteller and memoirist Austin Clarke.

’Membering, Clarke’s breathtaking memoir, spans over fifty years of his life as a writer, chronicling his coming to Canada in the fifties, formative experiences with Malcolm X, Chinua Achebe, and LeRoi Jones, and bursting with cultural insights and poignant memories from a narrative master.

In The Polished Hoe, winner of the Giller Prize and the 2003 Commonwealth Writers’ Prize, when an elderly Bimshire village woman calls the police to confess to a murder, the result is a shattering all-night vigil that brings together elements of the African diaspora in one epic sweep. Set on the post-colonial West Indian island of Bimshire in 1952, The Polished Hoe unravels over the course of 24 hours but spans the lifetime of one woman and the collective experience of a society informed by slavery.

Choosing His Coffin is a selection of Clarke’s finest work from more than forty years of storytelling, drawing on his Caribbean roots and his years in Canada. These stories range in theme from growing up in West Indian society and what it means to be black in both the United States and Canada to surviving as an immigrant in a predominantly Anglo-Saxon culture.

Awards

Winner
Scotiabank Giller Prize
2002
Winner
Commonwealth Writers’ Prize
2003

Reviews

A novelist of exceptional gifts.

All of Clarke's talent comes together: the understated compassion, the sly humour, the seductive language, and the adroit diversions.

...brilliantly written dialogue, a rich, dancing patois that fills out the dimensions of the island's painful history and its complex caste system.

About the Author

Austin Clarke

Posted by Kendra on October 30, 2014
Austin Clarke photo

Austin Clarke

Austin Clarke is one of Canada’s foremost authors, whose work includes ten novels, six short-story collections, three memoirs, and two collections of poetry. His novel The Polished Hoe won the 2002 Giller Prize. Clarke is a member of the Order of Canada, holds four honorary doctorates, and has been awarded the Commonwealth Writers' Prize, the W.O. Mitchell Prize, and the Casa de las Américas Prize, among others.