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Ampersand Adult Titles Publishing November 2020 (ATLANTIC)

'Membering Austin Clarke
Edited by: Paul Barrett

Edited by :

Paul Barrett


Wilfrid Laurier University Press - Waterloo, ON



Product Form:


Form detail:

Paperback , Trade


Nov 24, 2020
$39.99 CAD


8in x 5.25 x 0.7 in | 280 gr

Page Count:

236 pages
Wilfrid Laurier University Press
LITERARY CRITICISM / Caribbean & Latin American
Literature: history and criticism
  • Short Description
A collection of reflections, anecdotes, essays, and interviews on Austin Clarke's life and writing that gives long overdue attention to the importance of Clarke’s contributions to the development of Canada’s literary canon.

'Membering Austin Clarke reflects on the life and writing of Austin Clarke, whose depictions of Black life in Canada enlarged our understanding of what Canadian literature looks like.

Despite being one of Canada's most widely published, and most richly awarded writers, Austin Clarke (1934–2016) is not a household name. This collection addresses Clarke's marginalization in Canadian literature by demonstrating that his writing on Black diasporic life and the immigrant experience is a foundational, if untold, part of the story of CanLit.

Novelist, short-story writer, poet, and essayist, Clarke was born in Barbados, moved to Canada in 1955 and went on to establish Black Studies programs at a number of universities in America. He returned to Canada and became one of Canadian literature’s most prolific authors and a public voice for Black people in Canada. Among his best-known works are the Giller Award–winning The Polished Hoe (2002) and his memoir ‘Membering (2015).

This collection of essays from colleagues, scholars, friends, and fellow writers addresses Clarke's work in all its richness and complexity in order to understand how Clarke's legacy continues to transform Canadian writing. It includes previously unpublished poems and short stories from Clarke's archives as well as personal reflections from friends, histories of the publication of his works, essays, interviews, and short stories and poems inspired by Clarke.

Contributor List

  • Paul Barrett, University of Guelph
  • Michael Bucknor, University of West Indies
  • Austin Clarke (1934 – 2016)
  • George Elliott Clarke, University of Toronto
  • Patrick Crean, Toronto,
  • Cyril Dabydeen, Ottawa
  • André Forget, Toronto
  • John Harewood, Ottawa, ON
  • Camille Isaacs, OCAD, Toronto
  • Sonnet L’Abbé, Vancouver Island University
  • John R. Lee, St. Lucia
  • Dennis Lee, Toronto, ON
  • Katherine McKittrick, Queen's University, Kingston
  • E. Martin Nolan, York University
  • Giovanna Riccio, Toronto
  • Leslie Sanders, York University, Toronto
  • Winfried Siemerling, University of Waterloo
  • Kate Siklosi, Toronto
  • Kris Singh,Royal Military College, Kingston
  • Marquita Smith, John Brown University, AR
  • Asha Varadharajan, Queen's University, Kingston
  • directly address debates that are the heart of Canadian literature and culture today, such as publication and promotion of BIPOC authors
  • contains previously unpublished poems and short stories from Clarke's archives
  • important historical perspective on anti-blackness and racism in Canada today
  • recent histories of CanLit have ignored Clarke -- this book places him in the canon

  • Paul Barrett is an Assistant Professor in the School of English and Theatre Studies at the University of Guelph. His research interests include Canadian literature, diasporic literature, and digital humanities.

    "This anthology stands as a refuta¬tion of how Black life in Canada is discarded and disremembered. It marks an intimate encounter with Austin Clarke's life and writing and reminds us of his singular contributions to Black life in Canada." —Rinaldo Walcott

    "’Membering Austin Clarke is a wonderful collection – a both discerning and poignant tribute to one of Canada’s great writers, which will be a landmark work in Austin Clarke criticism for years to come. Paul Barrett has assembled some of the leading names in Black Canadian criticism, along with several friends and fellow travellers of Clarke, resulting in the production of a manuscript that will be widely read beyond an academic audience." —Aaron Kamugisha

    'Membering Austin Clarke makes for a lively and often fascinating mix of literary criticism that […] is well-judged and imaginatively structured. The careful placing of different but interweaving contributions and kinds of contributors works iteratively and accumulatively, like the jazz music that Clarke loved almost as much as his own skilfully mixed home martinis. — Sarah Lawson Welsh, Canadian Literature

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