About the speakers
Lawrence Hill is the author of ten books, including The Illegal and The Book of Negroes, winner of various awards including The Commonwealth Writers’ Prize, the Rogers Writers’ Trust Fiction Prize, and CBC Radio’s Canada Reads. Hill 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. He is currently writing a new novel about the African-American soldiers who helped build the Alaska Highway in 1942-43, and is working on a children’s book, and has sold the screen rights for television miniseries adaptation of The Illegal for Conquering Lion Pictures.
Lawrence Hill holds honorary doctorates from seven 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 was shortlisted in 2016 for the NAACP Image Award (for fiction) and the Hamilton Arts Council Literary Award. In 2016, Hill (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. In 2016, Hill served as chair of the jury of the 2016 Scotiabank Giller Prize. In 2017, Hill received the Canada Council for the Arts Molson Prize.
Chantal Gibson is a mixed media artist interested in the cultural (re)production of knowledge. Mythmaking and border crossings are major themes in works called ‘Historical In(ter)ventions,’ altered history books that challenge codex forms and the ideas and ideologies inscribed in them. She transforms old texts and sculpts new ones to illustrate the omissions and absences in historical meta-narratives. The works highlight the hands of the artist-historian in re/writing the text as they push the physical and geographical boundaries of ‘bookness’ and explore the question “What does it mean to write history?”.
Gibson teaches writing, visual communication and new media courses in the School of Interactive Arts & Technology at Simon Fraser University.