Our First Meet the Presenter Blog of 2011

It's time, ladies and gentlemen! Can you feel the excitement from all the way over here at SiWC Central? I am absolutely thrilled to be able to introduce you to one of our SiWC 2011 presenters today. Over the next few weeks, we'll be introducing you to more new faces and old friends, and after that, we'll begin posting workshop details and all the information you'll need to pick your 2011 registration package and preferred appointments in time for registration. (We'll announce the registration opening date as soon as we confirm it, but it'll likely be in early June again this year.) We've got a great line-up for you this year.

First up, a brand new face for SiWC. Please give a warm welcome to Lawrence Hill.

Lawrence Hill is the author of seven books, including the internationally acclaimed The Book of Negroes. He 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. He has been described as “a writer who challenges [Canada’s] myths.”

Lawrence Hill's third novel was published as The Book of Negroes in Canada, Great Britain, South Africa and Jamaica and as Someone Knows My Name in the USA, Australia and New Zealand, and is being translated into various other languages. It 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. The book was a finalist for the Hurston/Wright LEGACY Award and longlisted for both the Giller Prize and the IMPAC Award.

Hill is also the author of the novels Any Known Blood (William Morrow, New York, 1999 and HarperCollins Canada, 1997) and Some Great Thing (HarperCollins 2009, originally published by Turnstone Press, Winnipeg, 1992).

Hill's most recent non-fiction book is The Deserter's Tale: the Story of an Ordinary Soldier Who Walked Away from the War in Iraq (written with Joshua Key). His bestselling memoir Black Berry, Sweet Juice: On Being Black and White in Canada (HarperCollins Canada, 2001) continues to influence academic and informal discussions on racial identity in Canada.

In 2010, Hill received an honorary doctorate from The University of Toronto, and was named Author of the Year by Go On Girl, which is the largest African-American women’s book club in the USA. Hill won the National Magazine Award for the best essay published in Canada in 2005 for "Is Africa's Pain Black America's Burden?" (The Walrus, February 2005). In 2005, the 90-minute film document that Hill wrote, Seeking Salvation: A History of the Black Church in Canada, Travesty Productions, Toronto (2004), won the American Wilbur Award for best national television documentary.

Lawrence Hill has an M.A. in writing from Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, a B.A. in Economics from Laval University in Quebec City and graduated from University Toronto Schools (UTS). Formerly a reporter with The Globe and Mail and parliamentary correspondent for The Winnipeg Free Press, Hill also speaks French and Spanish. He has lived and worked across Canada, in Baltimore, and in Spain and France and has traveled to the West African countries Niger, Cameroon and Mali as a volunteer for Canadian Crossroads International, an organization he now represents as an honorary patron.

Welcome, Lawrence Hill!