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Austin Ardinel Chesterfield "Tom" Clarke, CMOOnt (July 26, 1934 - June 26, 2016), was a Barbadian novelist, essayist, and short story writer who was based in Toronto, Ontario. Among his notable books are novels such as The Polished Hoe (2002), memoirs including Membering (2015), and two collections of poetry, Where the Sun Shines Best (2013) and In Your Crib (2015).
Early life and education
Austin Clarke was born in 1934 in St. James, Barbados, where he received his early education in Anglican schools. He taught at a rural school for three years. In 1955 he moved to Canada and attended the University of Toronto for two years.
In September 2012, at the International Festival of Authors (IFOA), Clarke was announced as the winner of the $10,000 Harbourfront Festival Prize "on the merits of his published work and efforts in fostering literary talent in new and aspiring writers". Previous recipients of the award (established in 1984) include: Dionne Brand, Wayson Choy, Christopher Dewdney, Helen Humphreys, Paul Quarrington, Peter Robinson, Seth, Jane Urquhart, and Guy Vanderhaeghe. Clarke was reported as saying: "I rejoiced when I saw that Authors at Harbourfront Centre had named me this year's winner of the Harbourfront Festival Prize. I did not come to this city on September 29, 1959, as a writer. I came as a student. However, my career as a writer buried any contention of being a scholar and I thank Authors at Harbourfront Centre for saving me from the more painful life of the 'gradual student.' It is an honour to be part of such a prestigious list of authors."
Public Enemies: Police Violence and Black Youth (Toronto: HarperCollins, 1992)
A Passage Back Home: A Personal Reminiscence of Samuel Selvon (Toronto: Exile Editions, 1994)
Pigtails 'n Breadfruit: A Culinary Memoir (New Press, 1999); as Pigtails 'n' Breadfruit: The Rituals of Slave Food, A Barbadian Memoir (Toronto: Random House, 1999; University of Toronto Press, 2001); Pig Tails 'n' Breadfruit - Anniversary Edition (Ian Randle Publishers, 2014, ISBN978-9766378820)