The prolific Austin Clarke put in a lifetime of hard work before his 2002 Giller win, having written five short story collections and nine novels up to that point. But it was his novel The Polished Hoe
, a story that offers a 24-hour window into the life of a woman on a postcolonial West Indian island, that topped a very competitive shortlist of veteran authors.
"It is a personal gratifying feeling that something I've written is
worthy of such an honourable, auspicious prize," Clarke told the audience upon receiving his trophy and prize money.
We've actually got a recording of his beautiful speech, in which shares some details about his early experiences in his native Barbados before moving to Canada.
2002 Shortlist:Austin Clarke - The Polished Hoe
Bill Gaston - Mount Appetite
Wayne Johnston - The Navigator of New York
Lisa Moore - Open
Carol Shields - Unless