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Freedom to Read 2024: Discussion with Author Lawrence Hill

Freedom to Read Week is an annual event, taking place February 18-24, 2024. This week provides Canadians with the opportunity to discuss book challenges, censorship, representation in literature, intellectual freedom, access to information and the literary community’s and library's role. It serves as an opportunity to reaffirm Canadians commitment to intellectual freedom and the fight for on-going access for all against all threats to that access either through book challenges, the digital divide or otherwise.

The Ottawa Public Library’s (OPL) Mission is to inspire learning, spark curiosity, and connect people; our core values are Community, Inclusion, Integrity, Intellectual Freedom, and Literacy. This is why it is important to us to participate in Freedom to Read Week. OPL takes a stance against limitations of lawful freedom of expression, including freedom to read.

Lawrence Hill will discuss his lifelong literary passion for dramatizing neglected corners of Black history in Canada. He will explore the challenges of censorship that he and other writers have faced, and share thoughts about the title change of The Book of Negroes in the United States as well as the burning of images of The Book of Negroes in the Netherlands. He will discuss how increasing opposition to use of the N-word in literature affects Black writers and all readers.

Meet and Greet with Lawrence!

Time: 6:00-6:45pm

Freedom to read discussion with Lawrence Hill

Time: 7:00-8:15pm

Book signing and meet and greet

Time: 8:15-9 pm

This is a hybrid event: the program is in-person, but we will also stream live on OPL's YouTube page.

Registration is for the in-person portion of the event.

LAWRENCE HILL is the author of eleven books of fiction and nonfiction, including the internationally bestselling The Book of Negroes and The Illegal. His latest novel is Beatrice and Croc Harry. He has received the Commonwealth Writer’s Prize, Canada Reads (twice), a Canadian Screen Award, ten honorary doctorates and is a member of the Order of Canada.

Hill has volunteered with Crossroads International, The Black Loyalist Heritage Society, The Ontario Black History Society, and in federal penitentiaries. Hill is writing a novel about the African-American soldiers who built the Alaska Highway in British Columbia and Yukon during World War Two.