Scott Douglas Jacobsen and guest, Lawrence Hill, who is one of Canada’s most distinguished and published authors, discuss everything in Hill’s purview.
Lawrence Hill is one of Canada’s most distinguished and published authors. In this extensive interview, we discuss everything in Hill’s purview. In his words, “I have to say that I don’t think I’ve ever been interviewed by somebody who had such a profound grasp of such a wide variety of things that I’ve shared, written, or spoken about whether they are personal, professional or things to do with my books or my family life.” This series will explore his life and philosophy, just for you, part 9.
Scott Douglas Jacobsen: Earlier in the interview, your work, focus, and emphasis in literary work and in personal volunteer work is a humanistic perspective. I was half-right. Not half-wrong, I missed one crucial element. There is a humanitarianism. For example, The Book of Negroes and The Illegal aim to humanize the de-humanized. That is, the contextualization of the humanity of a slave and a refugee, respectively. Did these novels succeed in the humanization of the de-humanized?
Lawrence Hill: I do not know if they have succeeded. I am not the best judge of my own work. Critics and readers are in a better position to judge my work. But yes, I did attempt to humanize the de-humanized in the world. Two types of people profoundly de-humanized in their experiences are those enslaved or subject to war and genocide — people forced to take refuge, often without legal documentation, in countries that don’t want them.
One of the justifications used by people who perpetuate genocide or state-sponsored oppression is to claim that the victims have impure blood, or are inferior human beings. It is almost a precondition to carrying out genocide and massive mistreatment of people. They are not the same as us. They are not human like us. They are…