Archie Crail

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Archie Crail
Born 1944
Paarl, South Africa
Occupation journalist, short story writer, playwright
Nationality South African-Canadian
Period 1990s
Notable works The Bonus Deal

Archie Crail (born 1944 in Paarl, South Africa)[1] is a South African-Canadian writer. He was a shortlisted nominee for the Governor General's Award for English-language fiction at the 1992 Governor General's Awards for his short story collection The Bonus Deal.[2]


A coloured South African of Khoisan descent,[3] Crail was born and raised in Paarl.[1] Educated at the University of South Africa,[4] he was an anti-apartheid activist with the African National Congress,[1] and studied theology under Desmond Tutu.[5] He later spent several years living in South-West Africa, continuing his political activism with SWAPO,[5] and briefly moved to Botswana[1] before moving to Canada in 1980.[3] He initially resided in Toronto, but a series of suspicious events during this time led him to believe that the apartheid government of South Africa was continuing to target him for attack or assassination.[1]

Crail and his family settled in Regina, Saskatchewan in 1984.[4] Crail took classes at the University of Regina,[4] including studying creative writing under Ven Begamudré.[5]


His first work, a theatrical play titled Exile, won the Saskatchewan Writers' Guild literary competition in 1989[6] and was produced by Saskatoon's 25th Street Theatre in 1990.[7] A touring production of Exile was later mounted in South Africa.[4]

The Bonus Deal was published by Coteau Books in 1992.[8] Several of the short stories in The Bonus Deal were also dramatized for CBC Radio.[4]

In 1991, after the South African government lifted its ban on exiled African National Congress members returning to South Africa, Crail attended the organization's conference in Durban.[4]


  • Exile (1990)
  • The Bonus Deal (1992)


  1. ^ a b c d e "Can't feel safe, even in Saskatchewan". Windsor Star, February 3, 1995.
  2. ^ "Ondaatje leads top literary nominees". Financial Post, November 7, 1992.
  3. ^ a b "The essence of politics; Relocated in Regina, South African writer explores his roots". Edmonton Journal, June 21, 1992.
  4. ^ a b c d e f Heather Hodgson, Saskatchewan Writers: Lives Past and Present. University of Regina Press, 2004. ISBN 978-0889771635. p. 63.
  5. ^ a b c "A spinner of complex but sturdy prose". The Globe and Mail, November 28, 1992.
  6. ^ "Writers pick up $4,800 in prizes". The Globe and Mail, June 7, 1989.
  7. ^ 25th Street Theatre Centre at The Canadian Encyclopedia.
  8. ^ Claire Rothman, "South African emigre shows lives at breaking point". The Gazette, December 5, 1992.