Clark Blaise

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Clark Blaise, OC (born April 10, 1940) is a Canadian-American author.[1] He was a professor of Creative Writing at York University, and a writer of short fiction. In 2010, he was named an Officer of the Order of Canada.

Early life and education[edit]

Blaise was born in Fargo, North Dakota to Canadian parents who lived in the United States.[2] His mother, Anne Marion Vanstone, was English-Canadian and from Wawanesa, Manitoba, and his father, Leo Romeo Blaise, was of French-Canadian descent and was a furniture salesman and long-distance traveller.[3] Later on, his father would inspire the father characters in Blaise's fiction.[3] Growing up, his family moved constantly throughout the U.S.[2][3] Before the eighth grade, he had already moved 30 times; ultimately, he attended 25 different schools.[3] From ages six to ten, he lived in Florida.[3] Throughout his childhood, Blaise also lived in Alabama, Georgia, communities in the American Midwest, Cincinnati, Pittsburgh, and Winnipeg.[3] When Blaise was nineteen, his parents divorced.[3]

He attended Denison University and the University of Iowa, graduating in 1961 and 1964 respectively.[2] While at Denison University, he initially intended to pursue a major in geology but switched to English[4] after taking a writing course in which he studied under Paul Bennett.[3] While studying at Denison, he read extensively, began writing book reviews for the weekly newspaper, helped edit campus literary magazines, and received several campus writing awards.[3]

He married to writer Bharati Mukherjee in 1963.[5] They met as students at the Iowa Writers' Workshop at the University of Iowa[6] and have two sons.[7]


In 1966, Blaise moved to Montreal and obtained Canadian citizenship.[2] While living in Canada, Blaise published his first two short fiction collections, A North American Education (1973)[8] and Tribal Justice (1974).[2]

Blaise was the director of the International Writing Program. While living in Montreal in the early 1970s, he taught creative writing at Concordia University; he also joined with authors Raymond Fraser, Hugh Hood, John Metcalf and Ray Smith to form the Montreal Story Tellers Fiction Performance Group. Blaise and Mukherjee collaborated on a memoir of experiences in India which was published in 1978.

In 1978, Blaise and Mukherjee moved to Toronto. Blaise became a professor of Creative Writing at York University, and wrote his first novel.

Mukherjee felt excluded in Canada, attributing it to racism and publishing an essay in Saturday Night.[6][7] In 1980, the couple decided to return to the United States,[6] moving to San Francisco.[9] Both continued their literary careers, including a collaborative analysis of the Air India tragedy. Blaise wrote two more novels and a number of short stories.

Mukherjee died in 2017.[5]

Honours and awards[edit]

In 2009, he was made an Officer of the Order of Canada "for his contributions to Canadian letters as an author, essayist, teacher, and founder of the post-graduate program in creative writing at Concordia University".[10]


Short stories[edit]

  • A North American Education – 1973
  • Tribal Justice – 1974
  • Resident Alien – 1986
  • Man and His World – 1992
  • Southern Stories – 2000
  • Pittsburgh Stories – 2001
  • Montreal Stories – 2003
  • The Meagre Tarmac – 2011 (longlisted for the 2011 Scotiabank Giller Prize)






  1. ^ J. R. Tim Struthers (2016). Clark Blaise: Essays on His Work. Guernica Editions. ISBN 978-1-77183-111-6.
  2. ^ a b c d e Grandy, Karen. "Clark Blaise". Retrieved 2016-07-08.
  3. ^ a b c d e f g h i "Clark Blaise - Biocritical Essay | Basic page". Retrieved 2016-07-08.
  4. ^ "Clark Blaise ~ interviewed by Derek Alger | Pif Magazine". Retrieved 2016-07-08.
  5. ^ a b "Award-Winning Author Bharati Mukherjee Dead at 76". NBC News, by Frances Kai-Hwa Wang / Feb.08.2017
  6. ^ a b c "Clark Blaise and Bharati Mukherjee | Toronto Star". Retrieved 2016-07-08.
  7. ^ a b "Clark Blaise and Bharati Mukherjee: a shared literary journey". The Globe and Mail. Retrieved 2016-07-08.
  8. ^ "The Meagre Tarmac: Stories, by Clark Blaise". The Globe and Mail, STEVEN HAYWARD, June 17, 2011
  9. ^ "The invisible Canadian | Quill and Quire". Retrieved 2016-07-08.
  10. ^ "Governor General Announces 57 New Appointments to the Order of Canada". Office of the Secretary to the Governor General. December 30, 2009. Retrieved 2009-12-30.
  11. ^ "Long read: How the 1985 Air India bombing could tie into the 2019 federal election in Canada". Georgia Straight, by Charlie Smith on November 12th, 2017
  12. ^ Blaise, Clark. "A Novel of India's Coming of Age." The New York Times. April 18, 1999. Retrieved on November 27, 2014.

External links[edit]