2016 OCM Bocas Prize for Caribbean Literature — Longlisted
2016 RBC Taylor Prize — Longlisted

The unforgettable memoir of Giller Prize–winning author and poet Austin Clarke, called “Canada’s first multicultural writer.”

Austin Clarke is a distinguished and celebrated novelist and short-story writer. His works often centre around the immigrant experience, of which he writes with humour and compassion, happiness and sorrow. In ’Membering, Clarke shares his own experiences growing up in Barbados and moving to Toronto to attend university in 1955 before becoming a journalist. With vivid realism he describes Harlem of the ’60s, meeting and interviewing Malcolm X and writers Chinua Achebe and LeRoi Jones. Clarke went on to become a pioneering instructor of Afro-American Literature at Yale University and inspired a new generation of Afro-American writers.

Clarke has been called Canada’s first multicultural writer. Here he eschews a traditional chronological order of events and takes the reader on a lyrical tour of his extraordinary life, interspersed with thought-provoking meditations on politics and race. Telling things as he ’members them.


OCM Bocas Prize for Caribbean Literature
RBC Taylor Prize


Clarke’s voice … is rich, engaging, and — to use the author’s own word — singular.

Quill & Quire

[W]hat is most evident throughout ’Membering is Clarke’s voice, which is rich, engaging, and – to use the author’s own word – singular.

Quill & Quire

A magnificent account of a writer’s life.

[I]t is difficult to think of another Canadian writer so equipped through experience and sensibility — and graciousness, it must be said — to trace the attempts, stuttering at times, that Canada has made from the 1960s onward to accommodate diversity.

Globe and Mail

[a] brilliant free-range style of writing, which is enfolded in discussions of ideas, interaction with other writers and fragments of [Clarke's] own memories and reflections of 'membering.

Literary Review of Canada

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.