Full Biography



Awards & Honours

1981—First Prize—Poetry—Writers’ Federation of Nova Scotia provincial competition;

1991—Archibald Lampman Award for Poetry—Ottawa Independent Writers—awarded to Whylah Falls as best book of poetry published by an Ottawa-based poet;

1993—Invitee—World Poetry Festival, Harbourfront Reading Series, Toronto;

1997—$12,000 Canada Council Arts Grant “B”—awarded for manuscript of Beatrice Chancy;

1998—Portia White Prize—Nova Scotia Arts Council—$25,000 award for artistic excellence;

1998—Bellagio Center Fellowship—Rockefeller Foundation of New York—a one-month residency at the Villa Serbelloni, Bellagio, Italy, awarded to allow the completion of the manuscript of Beatrice Chancy;

1999—Honorary Doctor of Laws degree—Dalhousie University;

1999—Alumni Achievement Award—University of Waterloo;

2000—Honorary Doctor of Letters degree—University of New Brunswick;

2000—Outstanding Screenwriter Award—Toronto Black Film & Video Network—awarded for One Heart Broken Into Song (CBC-TV, 1999);

2001—Governor-General’s Literary Award for Poetry—$15,000 award for selection of Execution Poems as best book of poetry published in English in Canada;

2002—National Magazine Foundation Gold Award for Poetry—$1,500 award for selection of six poems published in Prairie Fire as best poetry published in any English-Canadian magazine in 2001;

2003—Appointed by Her Excellency, The Rt. Hon. Adrienne Clarkson, Governor-General of Canada, to the Board of Directors of the Canada Council for the Arts;

2003—Appointed E.J. Pratt Professor of Canadian Literature at the University of Toronto;

2004—Martin Luther King, Jr. Award—Black Theatre Workshop of Montreal—awarded for achievement;

2004—Estelle and Ludwig Jus Memorial Human Rights Award—University of Toronto Alumni Association;

2005—Distinguished Teacher Award—Student Administrative Council, University of Toronto;

2005—Honorary Doctor of Letters degree—University of Alberta;

2005—African Renaissance Award—Planet Africa Television;

2005—Faculty Award—University of Toronto Black Alumni Association;

2005—Trudeau Foundation Trudeau Fellowship Prize—$225,000 award, over three years, to support artistic and scholarly work;

2006—Dartmouth Book Award for Fiction—Atlantic Book Awards—$1,500 award for George & Rue;

2006—Frontieras Poesis Premiul [Prize]—Poesis [Magazine], Satu Mare, Romania— $500 award and statuette in honour of poems in translation;

2006—Appointed by Her Honour, The Hon. Mayann Francis, Lieutenant-Governor of Nova Scotia, to the Order of Nova Scotia;

2006—Honorary Doctor of Letters degree—University of Waterloo;

2008—Honorary Fellow of the Haliburton Society—University of King’s College;

2008—Honorary Doctor of Letters degree—Saint Mary’s University;

2008—Appointed by Her Excellency, The Rt. Hon. Michaelle Jean, Governor-General of Canada, to the Order of Canada at the rank of Officer;

2008—William P. Hubbard Award for Race Relations, City of Toronto;

2009—Eric Hoffer Book Award for Poetry, Hopewell Publications, awarded to Blues and Bliss: The Poetry of George Elliott Clarke, ed. Jon Paul Fiorentino;

2009—Honorary Doctor of Laws degree—Royal Military College of Canada;

2010—Honorary Doctor of Laws degree—University of Windsor;

2012—Honorary Doctor of Letters degree—Acadia University;

2012—The Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal;

2012—Excellence in the Arts Award—Canadian Civil Liberties Association.

2012—Appointed by the City Council to the post of Poet Laureate of Toronto.  Honorarium: $10,000 per annum for the three-year term.

2014—Appointed Full Professor, Department of English, University of Toronto.

2016-17—Appointed by The Parliament of Canada to the post of Parliamentary [National] Poet Laureate. Honorarium:  $20,000 per annum for the two-year term.

2017—Lifetime Achievement Award, Dalhousie University Alumni Association.

2017—Trailblazers Award—National Black Canadians Summit, Federation of Black Canadians & Michaëlle Jean Foundation.

2017—Elected, Fellow of the Royal Canadian Geographical Society.  

2018—George Elliott Clarke Scholarship Fund established at Duke University, thanks to a gift from Ms. Rebecca Gardiner.

Collected Works


Saltwater Spirituals and Deeper Blues.  Pottersfield Press, 1983.

Whylah Falls.  Raincoast—Polestar Books, 1990, 2000; Gaspereau Press, 2010.

Lush Dreams, Blue Exile: Fugitive Poems.  Pottersfield Press, 1994.

Execution Poems.  Gaspereau Press.  2000, 2001; 2009.

Blue.  Raincoast—Polestar Books, 2001, 2008; Gaspereau Press, 2011.

Illuminated Verses.  Canadian Scholars Press—Kellom Books, 2005.

Black.  Raincoast—Polestar Books, 2006; Gaspereau Press, 2012.

Blues and Bliss: The Poetry of George Elliott Clarke, ed. Jon Paul Fiorentino.  Wilfrid Laurier University Press, 2008.

I & I.  Goose Lane Editions, 2009.

Red.  Gaspereau Press, 2011.

Illicit Sonnets.  Eyewear Publishing, 2013, 2016.

Lasso the Wind: Aurélia’s Verses and Other Poems.  Illus. Susan Tooke.  Nimbus Books, 2013.

Traverse.  Exile Editions, 2014.  2nd printing: 2014.

Extra Illicit Sonnets.  Exile Editions, 2015.

Gold.  Gaspereau Press, 2016.

Canticles I (MMXVI).  Guernica Editions.  2016.

Canticles I (MMXVII).  Guernica Editions, 2017.

These Are the Words.  [The Gospel of Tobit by GEC & Bread, Water, Love by John B. Lee.]  Hidden Brook Press, 2018.  



George & Rue: A Novel.  HarperCollins Canada, 2004; Secker & Warburg, 2005, Carroll & Graf, 2006; Vintage, 2006; Random House (E-book), 2012.

The Motorcyclist.  HarperCollins Canada, 2016. HarperCollins Canada (paperback), 2017.



Ed.  Fire on the Water: An Anthology of Black Nova Scotian Writing.  2 vols.  Pottersfield Press, 1991-1992.

Ed.  Eyeing the North Star: Directions in African-Canadian Literature. McClelland & Stewart, 1997.

Ed.  The Dalhousie Review.  Special Africadian Issue.  [1999] 1997.

Odysseys Home: Mapping African-Canadian Literature.  University of Toronto Press, 2002.

Directions Home: Approaches to African-Canadian Literature.  University of Toronto Press, 2012.

On Entering the Echo Chamber of Epic:  My “Canticles” vs. Pound’s Cantos.  Nanaimo, BC: Vancouver Island University / Arbutus Editions, 2016.

Ed., Locating Home: The First African-Canadian Novel and Verse Collections.  Toronto: Tightrope Books, 2017.



Whylah Falls: The Play.  Playwrights Canada Press, 1999, 2000.

Beatrice Chancy.  Raincoast—Polestar Books, 1999, 2008.

Québécité: A Jazz Fantasia in Three Cantos.  Gaspereau Press.  2003.

Trudeau: Long March / Shining Path.  Gaspereau Press.  2007.

The Merchant of Venice (Retried).  Gaspereau Press, 2017.



“Beatrice Chancy: An Opera Libretto in Four Acts.”  Canadian Theatre Review.  1998.

“Québécité: An Opera Libretto in Three Cantos.”  Canadian Theatre Review.  2002.

“Trudeau: Long March / Shining Path.”  Canadian Theatre Review.  2006.

Chapbooks & Limited Editions

Two Hogtown Poets: Psicogeografia.  Breve Seleccion Poetica de George Elliott Clarke, Giovanna Riccio y Stephen Brown.  Trans. Ana Paula Austin Ferreira.  Cuidad Mexico (MX): Libros del Marques, 2019.  50 copies.

At Ortona:  An Oratorio.  One poem plus French translation [A Ortona:  Un Oratorio] by Robert Paquin and an Italian translation [A Ortona:  Oratorio] by Riccardo Duranti.  Roma:  Embassy of Canada to Italy, Villa Grandi, Roma, Italia, 2018.  200 copies.

The Denouement of Poet Laureate George:  Writings of December 2017.  Ottawa:  Ottawa Antiquarian Bookfair, 28 October 2018.  120 copies.

Selected Canticles.  Ottawa:  above / ground press, 2012.  Poetry. 300 copies.

The Gospel of X.  Vallum Chapbook series No. 9.  Montreal: Vallum Society for Arts and Letters Education, 2010.  Poetry. 200 copies.

Africadian History: An Exhibition Catalogue.  Wolfville, NS: Gaspereau Press, 2001.  Poetry.  400 copies.

Blue (II).  Included in anthology, Running with Scissors: New Poetry by 19 Young Writers.  Eds. Andy Brown & Meg Sircom.  Montréal: Cumulus Press, 2001. Poetry.

Execution Poems.  Wolfville, NS: Gaspereau Press, 2000.  Poetry. 66 copies.

Gold Indigoes.  Durham, NC: Carolina Wren Press, 2000.  Poetry. 500 copies.

Provençal Songs [II].  Ottawa:  above / ground press, 1997.  Poetry. 150 copies.

Provençal Songs.  Ottawa:  Magnum Book Store, 1993.  Poetry. 30 copies.



Poeme Incendiare.  Trans. Flavia Cosma.  Oradea, Romania: Editura Cogito, 2006.  [Poetry]

[Many Kinds of Love: Heavenly, Earthy, and Hellish. Trans. of Whylah Falls.] Trans. Tong Renshan.  Beijing: International Publishing, 2006.  [Poetry]

George Elliott Clarke: Poesie e Drammi.  [Trans. & Ed.]  Giulio Marra. Venezia, Italia: Studio LT2, 2012.  [Poetry]



One Heart Broken Into Song.  Feature Film.  Prod: CBC-TV. 1999.

Beatrice Chancy: The Opera.  Feature Film.  Prod: CBC-TV. 2001.


Stage Productions

Whylah Falls: The Play.  Dartmouth NS: Eastern Front Theatre, 1997, 2000; Ottawa ON: National Arts Centre, 1998, 2000; Venice, Italy: Universite de Venezia, 2002.

Beatrice Chancy: The Play.  Toronto ON: Theatre Passe Muraille, 1997.

Beatrice Chancy: The Opera.  Toronto ON: Queen of Puddings Music Theatre Company, 1998, 1999; Dartmouth NS: Queen of Puddings Music Theatre Company, 1999; Edmonton AB: Queen of Puddings Music Theatre Company, 2001.

Québécité: A Jazz Opera.  Guelph ON: Guelph Jazz Festival, 2003; Vancouver, BC: Vancouver Jazz Festival, 2003.

East Coasting, or Make It Beautiful.  Toronto, ON: CBC Radio, “Words & Music Series,” Glenn Gould Theatre, 2004.

Trudeau: Long March / Shining Path.  Wolfville, NS: Summer Institute of the Trudeau Foundation, 2006; Toronto, ON: Africanadian Playwrights Festival, 2006;  Toronto, ON: Harbourfront Centre Corporation, 2007; Halifax, NS: Pier 21 Museum and Mulan Chinese Cultural Centre, 2007; Department of Political Science, University of New Brunswick, Fredericton, NB, 2008.

Québécité: The Play.  Ottawa, ON: Pennyworth Productions, 2006.

Québécité: A Jazz Opera.  Bethlehem, PA: Moravian College, 2009.

Beatrice Chancy: The Play.  Toronto, ON: Tarragon Theatre, 2009.

Trudeau: Long March / Shining Path.  Halifax, NS: Vocalypse Productions, 2010.

Beatrice Chancy: The Play.  Winnipeg, MB: Aqua Books, 2011.



Africadian Atlantic: Essays on George Elliott Clarke.  Ed. Joe Pivato.  Toronto: Guernica Editions, 2012.

Musical Recording

Constitution, by The Afro-Métis Nation.  Featuring GEC, Karen Ashcroft, Shari Clarke, Sugar Plum Croxen, Gilbert Daye, Shelley Hamilton, Russ Kelley, Jhn Somosi, Chris White, Ken Whiteley, and Brent Williams.  Produced by Ken WHiteley and The Afro-Métis Nation.  18 tracks, incl. “O Canada” (Words: GEC), “Hymn to Portia White” (Words: GEC), “For the Murdered ad the Missing” (Words: GEC), “Ain’t You Scared of the Sacred” (Words: GEC), and “Pass Me Not” (Words: GEC).

Following The Moonroad.  “Flight of the Fugitive Slave,” “The Gracious Exchange,” and “Flight of the Fugitive Slave—Coda.”  Composer: Christine Donkin.  Text: GEC.  Da Capo Chamber Choir.  Cello:  Miriam Stewart-Kroeker.  Director: Leonard Enns.  St. John the Evangelist Church, Kitchener (ON), March 9, 2019, and Trillium Lutheran Church, Waterloo (ON), March 10, 2019.

“To Tell Dalhousie’s Story:  Speak a Poem Insurgent / Sound a Piano Insolent.”  Recitation of “The Story of Dalhousie; or, The University as Insurgency.”  Text by GEC.  With pianist  Tim Crofts.  The Dalhousie Art Gallery, Halifax (NS), December 6, 2018.

George Elliott Clarke Koiné Opera (GECKO).  Vicenza, Italy: The Art Box, 2017.

Halifax Explosion Remembrance. Excerpts from “Achieving Disaster, Dreaming Resurrection: Witnessing the Halifax Explosion, 6 December 1917, and After,” by George Elliott Clarke, commissioned by the Halifax Regional Municipality, recited alongside musical selections  performed by Symphony Nova Scotia. December 6, 2017.

“Never,” by Chris White, Mary Gick, George Elliott Clarke, Giovanna Riccio, performed in the Aboriginal Peoples Committee Room, House of Commons, Parliament of Canada, Ottawa, ON, November 17, 2017.

Canadian Art Song Project.  Dawn always begins in a new house.  Music by Ana Sokolovic.  Poetry by George Elliott Clarke (“Song of Ecclesiastes”), et al.  Presented by the Canadian Opera Company at the Four Seasons Centre, Toronto, ON, May 17, 2017.