As part of celebrating the 40th anniversary of the Literary Press Group of Canada, All Lit Up has started a CanLit Rewind blog, stating they “will be highlighting books from our publishers that either helped launch a new voice in CanLit or made an impact at the press it was published with”. All Lit Up recently focused on Where the Sun Shines Best by Austin Clarke, released by Guernica Editions in 2013.
All Lit Up begins by stating “Where the Sun Shines Best by Austin Clarke is just as relevant today as it was the day it hit bookshelves. From Kandahar to Bridgetown to Mississauga, Ontario, Where the Sun Shines Best encompasses a tragedy of epic scope: based on a true-life act of violence, three Canadian soldiers awaiting deployment to Afghanistan beat a homeless man to death on the steps of their armoury after a night of heavy drinking”.
Clarke uses “long-form narrative poetry to discuss a very difficult topic without scaring off readers”. Clarke, who has many major awards and nominations under his belt, manages to write “in a way that both reveals objective facts and circumstances, and brings to light the subtleties of humanity and its capacity for compassion and love”.
Referring to statements made by Guernica Editions about Where the Sun Shines Best, All Lit Up states “it was an honour for Guernica Editions to publish such an important work”. All Lit Up also notes that the book strongly confirmed for Guernica the kind of “essential work they were doing and their place among other Canadian publishers”. The ways that Clarke’s poetry “brings up crucial social issues that are affecting our society and breaks down shallow assumptions” paved the way for Guernica’s new mandate, “No Borders, No Limits”, with the mission of “publish[ing] texts that make the world a better and more peaceful place”.
Austin Clarke is the writer of ten novels, six short story collections, and three memoirs in the United States, England, Canada, Australia, and Holland. His books have been shortlisted for many awards, and have received numerous literary prizes. In 2003 he had a private audience with Queen Elizabeth in honor of his Commonwealth Prize for his tenth novel, The Polished Hoe, and in 1992 he was honored with a Toronto Arts Award for Lifetime Achievement in Literature. In 1998 he was invested with the Order of Canada, and in 1999 he received the Martin Luther King Junior Award for Excellence in Writing. His book In Your Crib, a “lyrical plea, both indictment and lamentation, and a powerful account of the ongoing struggle for racial equality” was released by Guernica Editions earlier this year.