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George Elliott Clarke

  • Fellow 2005
  • Alumni
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Former parliamentary aide at the House of Commons
Government of Canada

    Raised in a Halifax household filled with art, music, dialogue, and social engagement, George Elliott Clarke credits his Africadian heritage (African-American and Mi'qmak origins) for shaping his geographical and historical sense of identity, and Atlantic Canada for anchoring him in communal specifics. An expert on African-Canadian and African-American history and culture, especially that of the Maritime provinces, Dr. Clarke has compiled the most complete bibliography of African-Canadian writing to date. His practice of poetry and politics, in honour of his late parents William Lloyd and Geraldine Elizabeth, has led him to work as an editor, social worker, researcher, journalist, and parliamentary aide.

    Inhabiting the Trudeau Foundation's four themes through his pro-multiculturalism and anti-racism, his attentiveness to the political arena, his use of cosmopolitan and internationalist ideas and materials, and his respect for nature, Dr. Clarke continues to explore his development as an artist and intellectual. He is currently at work on a variety of compositions: Trudeau: Long March, Shining Path (an opera libretto); I & I (an illustrated poem); The Motorcyclist (a novel); and African/Black Canadian Literature: An ABC's (a collection of academic essays). He also intends to follow in the footsteps of the classical poets by creating an epic poem.

    Mr. Clarke is an officer of the Order of Canada and a member of the Order of Nova Scotia. He has received numerous honorary degrees: a doctorate of law from Dalhousie University in 1999, a doctorate in literature from the University of New Brunswick in 2000, a doctorate of letters from the University of Alberta in 2005, a doctorate of letters from the University of Waterloo in 2006, a doctorate in litterature from St. Mary's University in 2008, a doctorate of law from the Royal Military College in 2009, a doctorate of law from the University of Windsor in 2010, and a doctorate of letters from Acadia University in 2012.

    "The Trudeau Fellowship has literally taken me places I wouldn't have visited otherwise; it has also allowed me to share my work with more audiences in more places; it has also supported my research and my writing. I feel freer to explore my interests and to share them with like-minded others."