Austin Clarke

in St. James, Barbados
July 26, 1934

June 26, 2016



Austin Ardinel Chesterfield Clarke was a Canadian novelist, essayist and short story writer who lives in Toronto, Ontario. He has been called "Canada's first multicultural writer".

Clarke had his early education in Barbados and taught at a rural school for three years. In 1955 he moved to Canada to attend the University of Toronto but after two years turned his hand to journalism and broadcasting. He was a reporter in the Ontario communities of Timmins and Kirkland Lake, before joining the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation as a freelance journalist. He subsequently taught at several American universities, including Yale, Duke and the University of Texas.

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

Average rating: 3.37 · 2,626 ratings · 281 reviews · 59 distinct worksSimilar authors
The Polished Hoe

3.25 avg rating — 1,686 ratings — published 2002 — 15 editions
Rate this book
Clear rating

3.10 avg rating — 144 ratings — published 2008 — 11 editions
Rate this book
Clear rating
Pig Tails 'n Breadfruit

3.80 avg rating — 98 ratings — published 1999 — 5 editions
Rate this book
Clear rating
Choosing His Coffin: The Be...

3.37 avg rating — 91 ratings — published 1965 — 3 editions
Rate this book
Clear rating
Growing Up Stupid Under the...

3.77 avg rating — 65 ratings — published 1980 — 8 editions
Rate this book
Clear rating
The Meeting Point

3.47 avg rating — 62 ratings — published 1998 — 3 editions
Rate this book
Clear rating
The Origin of Waves

3.66 avg rating — 61 ratings — published 1997 — 4 editions
Rate this book
Clear rating
The Bigger Light

3.58 avg rating — 24 ratings — published 1975 — 4 editions
Rate this book
Clear rating
Storm of Fortune

3.84 avg rating — 19 ratings — published 1998 — 3 editions
Rate this book
Clear rating

2.62 avg rating — 29 ratings — published 1999 — 3 editions
Rate this book
Clear rating
More books by Austin Clarke…
The Meeting Point Storm of Fortune The Bigger Light
(3 books)
3.56 avg rating — 105 ratings

“In my mother's book, a vegetarian is somebody who is not concern with his or her diet and health. "Someone who prefer bush and grass, as if they is sheeps and cows, is somebody who don't have enough food to put in his mouth," she always say.

Only vegetarians eat dryfood regularly—and like to eat it, too. It is not considered normal for a person to cook food that doesn't have some amount o' meat or fish to go with it. Only someone who is starving, who don't have money to buy a fish head or a single flying fish or even the head of a dolphin—in other words, a person who is "catching his arse"—has to eat dryfood. A person at this stage is a person one remove from having to cook bakes for breakfast, lunch and dinner.”
Austin Clarke, Pig Tails 'n Breadfruit

“And immediately we rushed like horses, wild with the knowledge of this song, and bolted into a startingly loud harmony:
'Rule Britannia, Britannia rules the waves; Britons, never-never-ne-verr shall be slaves!'
and singing, I saw the kings and the queens in the room with us, laughing in a funny way, and smiling and happy with us. The headmaster was soaked in glee. And I imagined all the glories of Britannia, who, or what or which, had brought us out of the ships crossing over from the terrible seas from Africa, and had placed us on this island, and had given us such good headmasters and assistant masters, and such a nice vicar to teach us how to pray to God - and he had come from England; and such nice white people who lived on the island with us, and who gave us jobs watering their gardens and taking out their garbage, most of which we found delicious enough to eat...all through the ages, all through the years of history; from the Tudors on the wall, down through the Stuarts also on the wall, all through the Elizabethans and including those men and women singing in their hearts with us, hanging dead and distant on our schoolroom walls; Britannia, who, or what or which, had ruled the waves all these hundreds of years, all these thousands and millions of years, and kept us on the island, happy - the island of Barbados (Britannia the Second), free from all invasions. Not even the mighty Germans; not even the Russians whom our headmaster said were dressed in red, had dared to come within submarine distance of our island! Britannia who saw to it that all Britons (we on the island were, beyond doubt, little black Britons, just like the white big Britons up in Britannialand. The headmaster told us so!) - never-never-ne-verr, shall be slaves!”
Austin Clarke, Amongst Thistles and Thorns

“but here I am, in this study that looks across a road well travelled in the rushing mornings to work, and hardly travelled with such anxiety and intent during the hours that come before the rush to work, walked on, and peed on, by the homeless, and the prostitutes and the pimps, and the men and women going home to apartments in the sky, surrounding and overlooking Moss Park park, as I like to call it. Moss Park park is where life stretches out itself on its back, prostrate in filthy, hopeless, bouts of heroism and stardom, for these men who lie on the benches and the dying grass, are heroes to themselves and to one another,”
Austin Clarke, 'Membering

Topics Mentioning This Author

topics posts views last activity  
The Seasonal Read...: This topic has been closed to new comments. Winter Challenge 2010-2011 Completed Tasks (do not delete any posts) 2589 1010 Feb 28, 2011 09:05PM