Identity as Performance: You're Given a Script, but You Can Switch It (Maybe)
The case of Rachel Dolezal, the American civil rights activist who passed for black until her parents outed her as white, illustrated that human identity — including racial identity — is evolving, complex and sometimes impossible to define. Are you black? white? Jewish? Christian? Are you a full citizen in your country, or are you seen as an undocumented migrant hiding in a country of refuge? Lawrence Hill will share observations that he has raised on the subject of individual identity in his latest novel, The Illegal, and in his other works of fiction and non-fiction including The Book of Negroes and his 2013 Massey Lectures book Blood: the Stuff of Life.
Lawrence Hill is the author of ten books, including The Illegal and The Book of Negroes, and winner of various awards, including The Commonwealth Writers’ 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. He is currently writing a new novel, as well as a screenplay adaptation of The Illegal for Conquering Lion Pictures. Mr. Hill volunteers with Crossroads International and with the Black Loyalist Heritage Society, and lives with his family in Hamilton, ON and in Woody Point, NL.