The Book Of Negroes
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Lawrence Hill’s nationally bestselling novel has garnered praise and awards around the world. The Book of Negroes has won the Commonwealth Writers’ Prize, the Rogers Writers’ Trust Fiction Prize and CBC Canada Reads, among many others. Lawrence Hill—and his remarkable character Aminata Diallo—have become household names throughout Canada. Readers will follow the story of Aminata, an unforgettable heroine who cut a swath through an 18th-century world hostile to her colour and her sex. Abducted as an eleven-year-old child from her village in West Africa and put to work on an indigo plantation on the sea islands of South Carolina, Aminata survives by using midwifery skills learned at her mother’s side, and by drawing on a strength of character inherited from both parents. Eventually, she has the chance to register her name in the “Book of Negroes,” a historic British military ledger allowing 3,000 Black Loyalists passage on ships sailing from Manhattan to Nova Scotia. This remarkable novel transports the reader from an African village to a plantation in the southern United States, from a soured refuge in Nova Scotia to the coast of Sierra Leone, in a back-to-Africa odyssey of 1,200 former slaves. Bringing vividly to life one of the strongest female characters in recent fiction, Lawrence Hill’s remarkable novel has become a Canadian classic.
Abducted from her West African village at the age of eleven and sold as a slave in the American South, Aminata Diallo thinks only of freedom - and of finding her way home again. After escaping the plantation, torn from her husband and child, she passes through Manhattan in the chaos of the Revolutionary War, is shipped to Nova Scotia, and then joins a group of freed slaves on a harrowing return odyssey to Africa.Based on a true story, Lawrence Hill's epic novel spans three continents and six decades to bring to life a dark and shameful chapter in our history through the story of one brave and resourceful woman.
Based on a true story, The Book of Negroes tells the story of Aminata, a young girl abducted from her village in Mali aged 11 in 1755, and who, after a deathly journey on a slave ship where she witnesses the brutal repression of a slave revolt, is
Dreaming of escaping her life of slavery in South Carolina and returning to her African home, slave Aminata Diallo is thrown into the chaos of the Revolutionary War, during which she helps create a list of black people who have been honored for their service to the king.
Censorship and book burning are still present in our lives. Lawrence Hill shares his experiences of how ignorance and the fear of ideas led a group in the Netherlands to burn the cover of his widely successful novel, The Book of Negroes, in 2011. Why do books continue to ignite such strong reactions in people in the age of the Internet? Is banning, censoring, or controlling book distribution ever justified? Hill illustrates his ideas with anecdotes and lists names of Canadian writers who faced censorship challenges in the twenty-first century, inviting conversation between those on opposite sides of these contentious issues. All who are interested in literature, freedom of expression, and human rights will enjoy reading Hill's provocative essay.
Selected for The Globe 100 Books in 2013. With the 2013 CBC Massey Lectures, bestselling author Lawrence Hill offers a provocative examination of the scientific and social history of blood, and on the ways that it unites and divides us today. Blood runs red through every person’s arteries and fulfills the same functions in every human being. The study of blood has advanced our understanding of biology and improved medical treatments, but its cultural and social representations have divided us perennially. Blood pulses through religion, literature, and the visual arts. Every time it pools or spills, we learn a little more about what brings human beings together and what pulls us apart. For centuries, perceptions of difference in our blood have separated people on the basis of gender, race, class, and nation. Ideas about blood purity have spawned rules about who gets to belong to a family or cultural group, who enjoys the rights of citizenship and nationality, what privileges one can expect to be granted or denied, whether you inherit poverty or the right to rule over the masses, what constitutes fair play in sport, and what defines a person’s identity. Blood: The Stuff of Life is a bold meditation on blood as an historical and contemporary marker of identity, belonging, gender, race, class, citizenship, athletic superiority, and nationhood.
Keita Ali is on the run. Like every boy on the mountainous island of Zantoroland, running is all Keita’s ever wanted to do. In one of the poorest nations in the world, running means respect. Running means riches—until Keita is targeted for his father’s outspoken political views and discovers he must run for his family’s survival. He signs on with notorious marathon agent Anton Hamm, but when Keita fails to place among the top finishers in his first race, he escapes into Freedom State—a wealthy island nation that has elected a government bent on deporting the refugees living within its borders in the community of AfricTown. Keita can stay safe only if he keeps moving and eludes Hamm and the officials who would deport him to his own country, where he would face almost certain death. This is the new underground: a place where tens of thousands of people deemed to be “illegal” live below the radar of the police and government officials. As Keita surfaces from time to time to earn cash prizes by running local road races, he has to assess whether the people he meets are friends or enemies: John Falconer, a gifted student struggling to escape the limits of his AfricTown upbringing; Ivernia Beech, a spirited old woman at risk of being forced into an assisted living facility; Rocco Calder, a recreational marathoner and the immigration minister; Lula DiStefano, self-declared queen of AfricTown and madam of the community’s infamous brothel; and Viola Hill, a reporter who is investigating the lengths to which her government will go to stop illegal immigration. Keita’s very existence in Freedom State is illegal. As he trains in secret, eluding capture, the stakes keep getting higher. Soon, he is running not only for his life, but for his sister’s life, too. Fast moving and compelling, The Illegal casts a satirical eye on people who have turned their backs on undocumented refugees struggling to survive in a nation that does not want them. Hill’s depiction of life on the borderlands of society urges us to consider the plight of the unseen and the forgotten who live among us.
Contains extra content -- insights, interviews and more! Langston Cane V is thirty-eight, divorced and childless, and has just been fired for sabotaging a government official’s speech. The eldest son of a white mother and prominent black father, Langston feels more acutely than ever the burden of his illustrious family name. After a run-in with his father in Oakville, Langston takes off for Baltimore, where he embarks on a remarkable quest to uncover his family’s past—and his own sense of self. At once elegant and sensuous, wry and witty, Any Known Blood slips effortlessly from the slave trade of 19th-century Virginia to the modern, predominantly white suburbs of Oakville, Ontario—once a final stop on the Underground Railroad. Rich in historical detail, Any Known Blood is an engrossing tale about one man’s attempt to find himself through unearthing and giving voice to those who came before him.
Mahatma Grafton is a disillusioned university graduate burdened with a famous name, and suffering from the curse of his generation -- a total lack of interest in the state of the world. The son of a retired railway porter from Winnipeg, he returns home for a job as a reporter with The Winnipeg Herald. Soon Mahatma is scoping local stories of murder and mayhem, breaking a promise to himself to avoid writing victim stories. As Mahatma is unexpectedly drawn into the inflammatory issue of French-language rights in Manitoba, with all its racial side-channels, he is surprised to find that he has a social conscience. Combating his boss’s flair for weaving hysteria into his stories, Mahatma learns that to stay afloat he must remain true to himself. Populated with colourful characters -- including an unlikely welfare crusader, a burned-out fellow reporter, a French-language-rights activist, and a visiting journalist from Cameroon -- Some Great Thing is a fascinating portrait of a major urban newspaper and a deeply perceptive story of one man’s coming of age.
In White Negroes, cultural commentator, essayist, and scholar Lauren Michele Jackson explores trends started in Black communities that have caught on and become cool, hugely popular and lucrative, but that exclude Black communities once mainstream audiences and mainstream dollars latch on. The consequences of this phenomenon can be easy to miss, as it is so ingrained in our consumer habits. Yet over and over, Black intellectual property is converted into white profit - one hashtag, hair style, music genre, and dance move at a time. This, Jackson argues, plays a role in keeping Black people from achieving economic, political, and social equity. Weaving together media scholarship and cultural critique, Jackson re-situates cultural appropriation as more than just a new buzzword. It is, she contends, simply another chapter in the long history of whiteness thriving at the expense, stolen labor and ingenuity of Black people. Further, her interrogation and exposure of the interracial antagonism resting on the other side of appropriation unravels behavior that feels normal only because it is common. Piercing, audacious, and bursting with pop-culture touchstones, White Negroes introduces a bold new voice in Jackson. Her debut is both a love letter to the creativity of Black folks and an urgent call for more thoughtful consumption by those who consider themselves "allies."
A ferociously talented writer makes his stunning debut with this richly woven tapestry, set in a small Nova Scotia town settled by former slaves, that depicts several generations of one family bound together and torn apart by blood, faith, time, and fate. Vogue : Best Books to Read This Winter Structured as a triptych, Africaville chronicles the lives of three generations of the Sebolt family—Kath Ella, her son Omar/Etienne, and her grandson Warner—whose lives unfold against the tumultuous events of the twentieth century from the Great Depression of the 1930s, through the social protests of the 1960s to the economic upheavals in the 1980s. A century earlier, Kath Ella’s ancestors established a new home in Nova Scotia. Like her ancestors, Kath Ella’s life is shaped by hardship—she struggles to conceive and to provide for her family during the long, bitter Canadian winters. She must also contend with the locals’ lingering suspicions about the dark-skinned “outsiders” who live in their midst. Kath Ella’s fierce love for her son, Omar, cannot help her overcome the racial prejudices that linger in this remote, tight-knit place. As he grows up, the rebellious Omar refutes the past and decides to break from the family, threatening to upend all that Kath Ella and her people have tried to build. Over the decades, each successive generation drifts further from Africaville, yet they take a piece of this indelible place with them as they make their way to Montreal, Vermont, and beyond, to the deep South of America. As it explores notions of identity, passing, cross-racial relationships, the importance of place, and the meaning of home, Africaville tells the larger story of the black experience in parts of Canada and the United States. Vibrant and lyrical, filled with colorful details, and told in a powerful, haunting voice, this extraordinary novel—as atmospheric and steeped in history as The Known World, Barracoon, The Underground Railroad, and The Twelve Tribes of Hattie—is a landmark work from a sure-to-be major literary talent.
Many Canadians believe their nation fell on the right side of history in harbouring escaped slaves from the United States. In fact, in the wake of the American Revolution, many Loyalist families brought slaves with them when they settled in the Maritime colonies of British North America. Once there, slaves used their traditions of survival, resistance, and kinship networks to negotiate their new reality. Harvey Amani Whitfield’s book, the first on slavery in the Maritimes, is a startling corrective to the enduring and triumphant narrative of Canada as a land of freedom at the end of the Underground Railroad.
“Apocalypse Now insanity . . . if this is what one soldier saw in seven months, imagine the sum total of the inhumanity being perpetuated in Iraq” (Toronto Star). The first memoir from a soldier who deserted from the war in Iraq, and a vivid and damning indictment of the American military campaign, The Deserter’s Tale is “destined to become part of the literature of the Iraq war . . . a substantial contribution to history” (Los Angeles Times). In Spring 2003, young Oklahoman Joshua Key was sent to Ramadi as part of a combat engineer company. It was not the campaign against terrorists and evildoers he had expected. Key saw Iraqi civilians beaten, shot, and killed, or maimed for little or no provocation. After seven months in Iraq, Key was home on leave and knew he could not return. So he took his family and went underground in the United States, finally seeking asylum in Canada after fourteen months in hiding. Detailing the grinding horrors of life as part of an occupying force, The Deserter’s Tale is the story of a conservative-minded family man and patriot who went to war believing unquestioningly in his government’s commitment to integrity and justice, and how what he saw in Iraq transformed him into someone who could no longer serve his country. “Devastating . . . The questions [Key] raises . . . will not go away.” —Daily Kos “A tearjerker . . . Lawrence Hill, the award-winning Canadian novelist and journalist who helped Key write The Deserter’s Tale, does a marvelous job preserving Key’s authentic voice. The writing is fluid, crisp and compelling. The story is shocking.” —Montreal Gazette
A children's book about Nova Scotia's Black settlement of Birchtown.
Pakersfield, Georgia, 1958: Thirteen-year-old Tangy Mae Quinn is the sixth of ten fatherless siblings. She is the darkest-skinned among them and therefore the ugliest in her mother, Rozelle’s, estimation, but she’s also the brightest. Rozelle—beautiful, charismatic, and light-skinned—exercises a violent hold over her children. Fearing abandonment, she pulls them from school at the age of twelve and sends them to earn their keep for the household, whether in domestic service, in the fields, or at “the farmhouse” on the edge of town, where Rozelle beds local men for money. But Tangy Mae has been selected to be part of the first integrated class at a nearby white high school. She has a chance to change her life, but can she break from Rozelle’s grasp without ruinous—even fatal—consequences?
What, to the Slave, Is the Fourth of July is one of Douglass' classics.
Set in Tehran in 1973, seventeen-year-old Pasha Shahed spends his summer with his best friend planning his future and falls in love with his neighbor Zari, who has been betrothed since birth to another man.