Lawrence Hill

University of Guelph

Lawrence Hill has taught and mentored developing writers for thirty years, and became a professor of creative writing in the School of English and Theatre Studies at the University of Guelph in 2016. He is the founder and chair of the organizing committee of Gryphons Read, a campus-wide common reading program at the University of Guelph. He also chairs the university’s undergraduate creative writing committee as well as the President’s Advisory Committee on Anti-Racism.

Lawrence is the author of eleven books, including his most recent novel, Beatrice and Croc Harry (HarperCollins Canada, 2022). Other novels include The Illegal and The Book of Negroes, winner of various awards including The Commonwealth Writers’ Prize, the Rogers Writers’ Trust Fiction Prize, CBC Radio’s Canada Reads, and the NAACP Image Award. Lawrence delivered the 2013 Massey Lectures, based on his non-fiction book Blood: The Stuff of Life. He co-wrote the adaptation for the six-part television miniseries The Book of Negroes, which attracted millions of viewers in the United States and Canada. In 2021, his one-woman, one-act play Sensitivity was commissioned by Obsidian Theatre and screened on CBC TV. Some of his earlier books include the memoir Black Berry, Sweet Juice: On Being Black and White in Canada, and the novels Any Known Blood and Some Great Thing. He performs on stage at literary festivals and other creative events across Canada and around the world. As a public intellectual, he is a frequent keynote speaker or special lecturer at conferences and special events and at international universities such as Princeton, Harvard, Georgetown, Colgate, Salamanca, the Free University in Amsterdam and the Universidad del Claustro de Sor Juana in Mexico City.

Lawrence holds honorary doctorates from ten Canadian universities. In 2015, he was appointed a Member of the Order of Canada, received the Governor General’s History Award and was inducted into Canada’s Walk of Fame. In 2016, his novel The Illegal won CBC Canada Reads after a spirited defense by Olympian and philanthropist Clara Hughes. The Illegal was longlisted for the 2017 International DUBLIN Literary Award and in 2016 was shortlisted for the NAACP Image Award (for fiction) and the Hamilton Arts Council Literary Award. In 2016, Lawrence (along with co-writer Clement Virgo) won the best writing award from the Canadian Screen Awards for the TV miniseries adaptation of The Book of Negroes, which won CSA awards in eleven categories.