(1934) from a young age wanted to flee the Caribbean island of Barbados where he grew up. The British education he received was helpful in this. After finishing his education he taught at a country school, and then left for Canada to study economy and politics. As a freelance journalist he made documentaries about the black population of North America and England for the Caribbean Broadcasting Corporation. He was awarded the Commonwealth Writers Prize for his novel Mijn leven in schande (The Polished Hoe) (2005). In this novel the character Mary- Mathilda tells the story of her life as a mistress of a plantation owner and the collective experiences of a society that was formed by colonialism and slavery. In his work Clarke evokes the sensuality of the tropics and the tragic wealth of this island culture.(WIN 2005)
Archive available for: Austin Clarke
Ode to the Caribbean woman
Austin Clarke from Barbados and Drisana Deborah Jack from St Martin, two writers in diaspora, discuss in their work the role of the black Caribbean woman. In spite of her oppressed position, she is strong, proud and confident. For both writers their native island remains an important source of inspiration. Deborah Jack presents her new collection of poems and Commonwealth Writers Prize- winner Austin Clarke reads from his recently published novel Mijn leven in schande (The Polished Hoe). Bas Heijne chairs the discussion. English spoken.