The annual prize, given during the International Festival of Authors in Toronto, recognizes a writer for his published work and his contributions to fostering the next generation of literary talent.
Barbados-born Clarke, who came to Canada as a student in the 1950s, is author of the novels The Survivors of the Crossing, The Origin of Waves, The Question and More. He won the Toronto Book Award for More and the Rogers Trust Fiction Prize for The Origin of Waves. Clarke is a member of the Order of Canada.
"I rejoiced when I saw that Authors at Harbourfront Centre had named me this year's winner of the Harbourfront Festival Prize. I did not come to this city on September 29, 1959, as a writer. I came as a student,” Clarke said in a statement.
“However, my career as a writer buried any contention of being a scholar and I thank Authors at Harbourfront Centre for saving me from the more painful life of the 'gradual student.' It is an honour to be part of such a prestigious list of authors."
Previous winners include Dionne Brand, Wayson Choy, Jane Urquhart, and Guy Vanderhaege. The prize will be presented to Clarke on Oct. 27 at the IFOA in Toronto.