Gathered together are three extraordinary books by renowned storyteller and memoirist Austin Clarke.
’Membering, Clarke’s breathtaking memoir, spans over fifty years of his life as a writer, chronicling his coming to Canada in the fifties, formative experiences with Malcolm X, Chinua Achebe, and LeRoi Jones, and bursting with cultural insights and poignant memories from a narrative master.
In The Polished Hoe, winner of the Giller Prize and the 2003 Commonwealth Writers’ Prize, when an elderly Bimshire village woman calls the police to confess to a murder, the result is a shattering all-night vigil that brings together elements of the African diaspora in one epic sweep. Set on the post-colonial West Indian island of Bimshire in 1952, The Polished Hoe unravels over the course of 24 hours but spans the lifetime of one woman and the collective experience of a society informed by slavery.
Choosing His Coffin is a selection of Clarke’s finest work from more than forty years of storytelling, drawing on his Caribbean roots and his years in Canada. These stories range in theme from growing up in West Indian society and what it means to be black in both the United States and Canada to surviving as an immigrant in a predominantly Anglo-Saxon culture.
About the author
Culminating with the international success of The Polished Hoe in 2002, Austin Clarke has published ten novels, six short story collections, and three memoirs in the United States, England, Canada, Australia, and Holland. Storm of Fortune, the second novel in his Toronto Trilogy about the lives of Barbadian immigrants, was shortlisted for the Governor General’s Award in 1973. The Origin of Waves won the Rogers Communications Writers’ Development Trust Prize for Fiction in 1997. In 1999, his ninth novel,The Question, was shortlisted for the Governor General’s Award. In 2003 he had a private audience with Queen Elisabeth in honour of his Commonwealth Prize for his tenth novel, The Polished Hoe. In 1992 Austin Clarke was honored with a Toronto Arts Award for Lifetime Achievement in Literature, and in 1997, Frontier College granted him a Lifetime Achievement Award. In 1998 he was invested with the Order of Canada, and he has received four honorary doctorates. In 1999 he received the Martin Luther King Junior Award for Excellence in Writing.
- Winner, Commonwealth Writers' Prize
- Winner, Scotiabank Giller Prize
All of Clarke's talent comes together: the understated compassion, the sly humour, the seductive language, and the adroit diversions.
The Globe and Mail
A novelist of exceptional gifts.
The New York Times
...brilliantly written dialogue, a rich, dancing patois that fills out the dimensions of the island's painful history and its complex caste system.