Austin Clarke, the award-winning Barbadian-born author who wrote about the immigrant experience and being black in Canada, has died at age 81.

His publicist Denise Bukowski said Clarke died in a hospital early Sunday morning, and a funeral service has been scheduled for July 9.

Clarke won the prestigious Scotiabank Giller Prize and the Commonwealth Writers Prize for his 2002 novel "The Polished Hoe." The novel tells the story of Mary Mathilda, a plantation owner's black mistress who confesses to a brutal crime.

His memoir and final work, titled "Membering," was published last year. The book describes his moving to Canada in 1955 to study at the University of Toronto and his early days as a journalist covering the civil rights movement in New York's Harlem in the 1960s.