Lawrence Hill

Lawrence Hill

Author of The Illegal and The Book of Negroes


...a compulsive storyteller in the oral, African-American tradition.


Lawrence Hill is the son of American immigrants — a black father and a white mother — who came to Canada the day after they married in 1953 in Washington, D.C. Growing up in the predominantly white suburb of Don Mills, Ontario in the sixties, Hill was greatly influenced by his parents’ work in the human rights movement. Much of Hill’s writing touches on issues of identity and belonging.

Hill is the author of ten books including the novels The Book of Negroes and The Illegal, and the non-fiction books Blood: the Stuff of Life, and Dear Sir, I intend to Burn your Book: An Anatomy of a Book Burning. Hill is a winner of the Rogers Writers’ Trust Fiction Prize, the Commonwealth Writers’ Prize for Best Book, and both CBC Radio’s Canada Reads and Radio-Canada’s Combat des livres. 

“Lawrence Hill’s hugely impressive historical work is completely engrossing and deserves a wide, international readership.”

— The Washington Post

“Astonishing in scope, humanity and beauty, this is one of those very rare novels in which the deep joy of reading transcends its time and place…”

Editors’ Choice, Historical Novels Review


“Unputdownable ... The Illegal is a twisting, intricately woven yarn that spins itself out at an incredible pace... Hill takes on the snarled, pressing issues of our moment in time, including race and discrimination, the movement of refugees across borders and the political fight to define who belongs and who is “an illegal.”

The Globe and Mail

The Book of Negroes is a masterpiece, daring and impressive in its geographic, historical and human reach, convincing in its narrative art and detail, necessary for imagining the real beyond the traces left by history...a stunning historical novel that is at once moving, lyrical and shocking, a dazzling neo-slave narrative that spans three continents and blends known events and characters with necessary fictions.” 

The Globe and Mail