Culture Secretary Jeremy Hunt presented the accolade to Mrs Clarke, who has dedicated her professional life to promoting African and Caribbean literature, in London on Wednesday.
Mrs Clarke began her publishing career at Heinemann, where she was Submissions Editor on their highly regarded African and Caribbean Writers Series for 12 years. During this time she published and promoted prominent writers and Nobel Prize winning authors including Chinua Achebe, Wole Soyinka and Nelson Mandela.
In 2003, she founded Aybeia Publishing, working with new and established authors to promote high quality African and Caribbean literature that brings fresh insights into these cultures.
Under her direction, the firm became an award-winning publisher responsible for books including 2004’s The Cry of Winnie Mandela by Njabulo Ndebele and the ground-breaking African Love Stories Anthology in 2006.
In 2005 she was appointed to the board of the Executive Council of the African Literature Association USA and was one of the judges of the inaugural Wole Soyinka Prize for Literature in 2006. She is also the Editor for the British Council’s Crossing Borders online magazine which nurtures budding African writers with the help of established British writers.
Mr Hunt presented the honorary MBE on behalf of The Queen, as Mrs Clarke is not a British citizen.