Clark Blaise, novelist, short-story writer (b at Fargo, N Dak 10 Apr 1940). Clark Blaise spent his childhood moving around the United States, where his Canadian parents were living and working. He estimates that he attended school in at least 25 different cities before graduating from high school in Pittsburgh. A graduate of Denison University (1961) and the University of Iowa (1964), Blaise moved to Montréal and acquired Canadian citizenship in 1966. He taught at Sir George Williams University (now Concordia), where he helped establish the Creative Writing Program. Since returning to the United States in 1980, Blaise has taught writing at a number of American universities, including New York's Skidmore College, the University of Iowa, and the University of California, Berkeley.
Clark Blaise's fiction sympathetically explores various conditions of alienation, isolation and displacement. His characters typically find themselves (as he often has) at odds in a foreign culture and place. Their keen sense of wonderment at the sharply observed details of their immediate environment - oppressively eccentric or pedestrian, exotic or banal - emphasizes their private disorientation.
Blaise published his first two collections of short fiction while living in Canada: A North American Education (1973), followed by Tribal Justice in 1974. Lunar Attractions (1979), a coming-of-age story set in rural Florida, won the Books in Canada First Novel Award. Blaise's fiction publications include the novels Lusts (1983) and If I Were Me (1997). He also continues to write short stories, such as those collected in Pittsburgh Stories (2001), Montreal Stories (2003), and World Body (2006).
A number of Blaise's works challenge the boundary between fiction and autobiography. Days and Nights in Calcutta (1977), co-written with his wife, novelist Bharati Mukherjee, is a fascinating joint account of their year in India. Blaise describes his collection Resident Alien (1986) as "an autobiography in tales and essay." His work I Had a Father (1993) is subtitled A Post-Modern Autobiography.
Clark Blaise and Bharati Mukherjee also co-authored The Sorrow and the Terror (1987), a non-fiction account of Canada's worst terrorist attack, the 1985 Air India bombing. Blaise's 2001 biography Time Lord: Sir Sandford Fleming and the Creation of Standard Time explores the 19th-century Scottish-Canadian scientist's life and his pivotal role in the adoption of an international system for keeping time.