One of Canada’s most esteemed writers and cultural voices will be joining the University of Guelph. Lawrence Hill has been appointed a professor in the College of Arts.

Lawrence Hill

He will teach creative writing beginning in July.

“I have always loved to teach, mentor and encourage developing writers, and I can’t think of a more exciting way to embrace that passion and to support the world of Canadian letters than to join the School of English and Theatre Studies at the University of Guelph,” Hill said.

“As a writer, citizen of the campus and teacher, I very much look forward to embracing the community.”

Among his 10 books of fiction and non-fiction, Hill’s best-known work is The Book of Negroes. Since its publication in Canada in 2007, it has been translated into 10 languages and published around the world.

The novel received numerous accolades, including the Rogers Writers’ Trust Fiction Prize, the Commonwealth Writers’ Prize, and CBC’s Canada Reads and its French-Canadian equivalent, Le combat des livres. It was made into an award-winning TV miniseries co-written by Hill.

“Lawrence Hill is a tremendous talent who has influenced our country’s literary and cultural history through his writing, public speaking and advocacy work,” said president Franco Vaccarino.

“I am delighted that he is joining our University.”

Charlotte Yates, provost and vice-president (academic) added:  “Lawrence Hill brings energy, creativity and a diverse and unique perspective, which will enhance the learning experiences of our students.”

Hill’s 2015 novel, The Illegal, was inspired by stories of refugees around the world and is in the running for Canada Reads for this year. Hill is currently adapting the novel for another television miniseries.

“Lawrence Hill tackles complex issues,” said Don Bruce, dean of the College of Arts. “His focus on identity and belonging is particularly powerful, and he gets readers to think about and even challenge their own views and beliefs.”

A member of the Order of Canada, Hill currently chairs the jury for the 2016 Scotiabank Giller Prize, viewed as Canada’s top literary award.

Early in his career, he worked as a reporter for the Globe and Mail and the Winnipeg Free Press. In 1986, he moved to Spain to write fiction.

Hill has taught fiction and mentored writers in the Booming Ground program at the University of British Columbia, Ryerson University, the Humber School for Writers, the Banff Centre and Johns Hopkins University, where he earned his master’s degree in creative writing.