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Author Lawrence Hill at Laurier this week as writer-in-residence
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Award-winning writer Lawrence Hill, author of the best-selling novel The Book of Negroes, is visiting Wilfrid Laurier University this week as writer-in-residence.
This past weekend, publisher HarperCollins Canada announced that The Book of Negroes has sold more than 500,000 copies in Canada, in various editions, since it was first published in February 2007.
Hill’s itinerary at Laurier this week includes three public readings — two on the Waterloo campus and one at Laurier Brantford — as well as a luncheon with students, two lectures with undergraduates (Waterloo and Brantford), a roundtable discussion with graduate students and faculty, and a fund-raising dinner. The money raised through the fund-raising event will help establish the Lawrence Hill Graduate Award in Arts and Humanities.
Hill has visited Laurier several times in the past. He wrote a small portion of The Book of Negroes while staying in Laurier’s Lucinda House guest residence on a previous visit.
His upcoming writer-in-residence visit stems from an invitation by Laurier professor Carol B. Duncan, a friend and colleague who contributed to a documentary film project, Seeking Salvation: A History of the Black Church in Canada, for which Hill served as writer. The writer-in-residence visit is sponsored by the office of Laurier vice-president academic and provost, Dr. Deb MacLatchy.
“Inviting Lawrence Hill to visit the Laurier community will allow students, faculty, staff and visitors to the university the opportunity to hear an acclaimed author discuss his work. The arts are an important aspect of university life,” said Duncan, chair of Laurier’s Department of Religion and Culture.
Hill is the son of American immigrants, a black father and a white mother who raised their family in Toronto. The story of how his parents met, married, left the United States and raised a family in Toronto is described in Hill's best-selling memoir Black Berry, Sweet Juice: On Being Black and White in Canada (2001).
He has published three other works of non-fiction: Trials and Triumphs: The Story of African-Canadians (1993); Women of Vision: The Story of the Canadian Negro Women's Association (1996); and The Deserter's Tale (2007).
Hill has also published three novels: Some Great Thing (1992); Any Known Blood (1997); and The Book of Negroes (2007). The Book of Negroes won the overall Commonwealth Writers' Prize for Best Book, the Rogers Writers' Trust Fiction Prize, the Ontario Library Association's Evergreen Award and CBC Radio's Canada Reads Award. The book was a finalist for the Hurston/Wright LEGACY Award and long-listed for both the Giller Prize and the IMPAC Award.
Hill has worked as a journalist for The Globe and Mail and served as parliamentary correspondent for The Winnipeg Free Press. He earned a BA in economics from Laval University in Quebec City and an MA in writing from Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore.
Lawrence Hill public events at Laurier:
Monday, Sept. 27, 2-3 p.m.
A reading, talk and book signing, The Concourse, Waterloo campus.
Tuesday, Sept. 28, 7 p.m.
A reading, lecture and book signing, Maureen Forrester Hall, Waterloo campus.
Wednesday, Sept. 29, 2:30-3:30 p.m.
A reading, talk and book signing, Laurier Brantford, Rm. 202 of the new Laurier Brantford Research and Academic Centre.