The Afterlives of Austin Clarke

Introducing the Austin Clarke Prize in Literary Excellence

On Austin Clarke’s Style

When a writer leaves us, we are left only with fragments to draw upon, pore over, and reassess to hold onto some aspect of his being.
Fiction Prize

Winner: Perfect Little Angels

We meet for the first time in the realm of 1s and 0s. A warm Lagos rain pelts the bedroom windows and leaks through the ceiling into a bucket near my brother Ndubisi’s bed.

Runner Up: The Upper Bright World

On the first day of the new year, she ran. She ran from nowhere and nothing, following the drinking gourd, and the brilliant star at the top of its handle.

Runner Up: Playing Possum

Even before they killed that momma and her babies, Scott felt bad. Not sick-with-the-flu bad, just weird-and-worried bad.
Poetry Prize

Winner: Same Ocean

Years after being asked, where are you from?/ I realized that I should’ve answered:/ did you know that when seawater meets/ freshwater in the ocean,/ a boundary forms/ between them?

Runner Up: Shelter

He chewed a trout with the eyes in,/ suggested we could be lovers as my easy-/ overs grew cold.

White Dust

It was a downpour so wild the drains were overflowing, and the trees on the far side of Eneh, hovering above remote farmlands and shadowed fortresses, were contorting into giant, exorbitant shapes.

The Needle Eye Bridge

A middle-aged man holds up a sign with Julia’s Chinese name at the Chongqing Jiangbei International Airport.


This is the story of my exorcism. The alley is drenched in darkness, a bucket of thick black paint upended on everything except the car’s headlights.

Walking through rainstorms (to a tryst)

I hold you the way sandalwood embers ash onto a white desk after the/ air has cradled


from Los infiernos espléndidos

God Is a New Anchor Dipped into the Sea

The Sky Falls in Bullets

“Peru” and “Earthgirl Wearing A Rain Poncho”


an excerpt from Nothing Will Be Different

My dad came into the café with his arms full of roses because of the Indian Act. I have to back up a bit, here, again. Bear with me.

Culture Will Have Her Girls

The films of Catherine Breillat delighted me more than any of the teen comedies or coming of age dramas I consumed at sleepovers in friends’ basements as an adolescent.

On Nishga, Empty Spaces, and Experimental Art: An Interview with Jordan Abel

During the Summer of 2021 I interviewed the Nisga’a poet and writer Jordan Abel to mark the release of his genre-defying autobiographical book, Nishga.

Writing in the Spaces Where Lives Touch: Casey Plett’s A Dream of a Woman

To dream is to weave together a world, stitching together disparate phenomena into odd, arbitrary patterns.