19 entries
  • "A GREAT WRITER ....happy to have been exposed to his work..."
    - Eleanor Best
  • "MY deepest sympathy and sincere condolences to the family..."
    - Keith Osborne
  • "My deepest condolences to Austin's family. May you be..."
    - Dirk McLean
  • "Sincere condolences from the Wiltshire family in Barbados...."
    - Honor Wiltshire
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CLARKE, Austin
Austin Ardinel Chesterfield "Tom" Clarke passed away peacefully in Toronto on Sunday, June 26, 2016, at the age of 81. Austin leaves behind his daughters, Janice, Loretta (Allen), Darcy Ballantyne and Jordan (Aieron); his son, Mphahlele "Michael"; his brothers Dennis "Mphahlele Lukeman," Clifton, John and Robin (Mary-Ann); his sister, Anna; his granddaughter Sophia; his grandson Sawyer; and many other nieces, nephews, cousins, extended family members and close friends. Austin was born in St. James, Barbados. He graduated from Harrison College in Barbados, and immigrated to Canada in 1955 where he attended Trinity College at the University of Toronto. While working to establish his writing career, Austin worked as a newspaper reporter in Northern Ontario, taught at Yale University, and served as Cultural Attaché of Barbados in Washington, DC, General Manager of the Caribbean Broadcasting Corporation, and a member of both the Ontario Censor Board and the Immigration Board. Beginning in 1964 with his first novel, The Survivors of the Crossing, Austin embarked on a writing career that would span five decades and yield eleven novels, eight short story collections, six memoirs and two long poems. His work has been published in the USA, the UK, Canada, Australia and Holland and translated into several languages. His novel The Polished Hoe, set in Barbados and concerned with the legacy of slavery, won the Giller Prize in 2002, the 2003 Commonwealth Prize and the 2003 Trillium Prize. His novel More, set in a gritty downtown Toronto, won the 2009 Toronto Book Award. In 2012, he won the Harbourfront Festival Prize. In 1980 he won the Casa de las Américas Prize and in 1999, Austin was awarded the Martin Luther King Junior Award for Excellence in Writing and the W. O. Mitchell Literary Prize. He holds four honorary doctorates and an Order of Canada and has won many other prizes and awards. Austin was dedicated to helping young writers hone their craft and will be warmly remembered for his tireless work as a mentor to several writers who went on to publish their own work. A celebration of Austin's life will take place on Friday, July 8, at St James Cathedral, Toronto, Ontario, at 11:00 a.m. The family asks that donations in Austin's honour be made to The Writers' Trust of Canada by visiting support, or by calling 416 604-8222 x243. Floral tributes, if any, should be sent to Rosar-Morrison Funeral Home and Chapel at 467 Sherbourne Street, Toronto, ON, M4X 1K5. Condolences -

Published in National Post on July 5, 2016
Arrangements under the direction of:
Rosar-Morrison Funeral Home & Chapel
467 Sherbourne Street | Toronto, ON M4X1K5 | (416) 924-1408
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