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Birthplace
Barbados
Residence
Canada
Identities
Barbados
DOB
1934
Gender
Male

Austin Clarke

Born in Barbados in 1934, Clarke was educated at Harrison College and became a schoolteacher before moving to Canada in 1955 to study at the University of Toronto.

Beginning in 1959, Clarke worked as a freelance broadcaster for the CBC, for which he recorded a series of interviews and documentaries on racial issues in North America and Britain. This began a prolific period in Clarke's career, during which he wrote several short stories and the novels Survivors of the Crossing (1964), Amongst Thistles and Thorns (1965), and The Meeting Point (1967); followed by the novel Storm of Fortune (1973) and a collection of short stories entitled When He Was Free and Young and He Used to Wear Silks (1973). In the mid-1980s Clarke published two collections of short stories When Women Rule (1985) and Nine Men Who Laughed (1986), as well as the novel Proud Empires (1986). Returning in the early 1990s to the short story form, Clarke published the collections In This City (1992) and There Are No Elders (1993). In 1992, in response to a riot, Clarke produced Public Enemies: Police Violence and Black Youth, a pamphlet. Also in the 1990s, Clarke wrote A Passage Back Home (1994), a memoir of his friendship with the Trinidadian writer Sam Selvon, and Pig tails 'n Breadfruit: The Rituals of Slave Food (1999), a “food memoir” that combines recipes with memories of Clarke's formative years in Barbados. Clarke's 1997 novel The Origin of Waves won him the inaugural Rogers Communications Writers' Trust Fiction Prize in 1998. Clarke's memoir Growing Up Stupid Under the Union Jack (1980), won the 1980 Casa de las Americas Prize for Literature. Over the course of his career, Clarke has held many political, professional, and academic positions, including: Cultural Attacheé to the Barbadian Embassy in Washington, D.C.; General Manager of The Caribbean Broadcasting Corporation in Barbados; and visiting lecturer in creative writing and African American literature at Yale, Brandeis, Duke, the University of Texas, and the University of Western Ontario.

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