Call for Papers

Austin Clarke’s Legacy: A Celebration and Conference

10-11 November 2017
York University and University of Toronto, Toronto, Canada


In recognition of the 150th anniversary of Confederation in Canada, the Department of Humanities in the Faculty of Liberal Arts and Professional Studies, in partnership with the Jean Augustine Chair in Education, and the Harriet Tubman Institute for Research on Africa and its Diasporas at York University, the Robarts Centre for Canadian Studies and the Women and Gender Studies Institute at the University of Toronto, invites submissions to “Austin Clarke’s Legacy: A Celebration and Conference.”

Barbadian Canadian journalist, novelist, short story writer and poet Austin Clarke wrote “multiculturalism” in Canada before Canada embraced its definition. Having migrated to Canada in 1955, Clarke’s novels, short stories, and journalism implanted into the Canadian imaginary the voices and lives of Caribbean immigrants and their children for over half a century. His work spoke to and of their pain and aspiration, their courage and despair, their joys and their sadness. As model and mentor, Clarke had a profound influence not only on Black Canadian writing, but his prodigious output, and his work as teacher and guide, also had enormous influence beyond the community his writing represented and addressed.

The purpose of this conference is both celebration and exploration—a celebration of Clarke’s life (he passed away on June 26, 2016) and a reflection on the present and future of Black letters in Canada, and the place and influence of his work within it. The conference will open on the evening of November 10, 2017, as a celebration of Clarke’s life and work and will be held in Toronto. This will be followed by concurrent panels on York University’s North York campus, exploring the nature of his legacy on November 11, 2017.

Call for Paper Details

The conference organizing committee is seeking proposals for panels, individual papers and round tables on all aspects of Austin Clarke’s work. These may include presentations considering the ways in which Clarke’s work has influenced the field of Canadian literature post-1960. Participants should submit a 200-word abstract proposal by May 1, 2017. Please include your name and affiliation.

Email your abstracts and inquiries to