Novelist Lawrence Hill has been selected as this year's recipient of the Governor General's History Award for Popular Media. Known popularly as the Pierre Berton Award, it celebrates those who bring Canadian history to a wide audience through mediums such as publications, film, radio, theatre and the web. He will receive his gold medal from the Right Honourable David Johnston, Governor General of Canada on October 16 at Rideau Hall in Ottawa.
"Hill, of Hamilton, is best-known for his historical fiction The Book of Negroes, which has sold more than 700,000 copies, making it one of the most popular books in Canadian publishing history," said a release. "The novel has been translated into French and adapted into a mini-series for television, giving its powerful message an even wider audience. His latest book, The Illegal, was inspired by the survival stories of undocumented refugees around the world, including Canada.
Photo: Lisa Sakulensky
"Through his writings, Lawrence Hill has helped Canadians gain a better understanding of our shared history—particularly the Black experience," says Janet Walker, President and CEO of Canada's History Society, which administers the award. "He has done much to popularize Canadian history and provide a voice to those whose stories might otherwise remain untold."
In the 20 years since the Pierre Berton Award was created it has been made to such recipients as the CBC series Canada: A People's History, author Charlotte Gray, and actor and filmmaker Paul Gross.
Canada's History Society is a national charitable organization whose mission is to promote greater popular interest in Canadian history, principally through its publishing, education, and recognition programs. In addition to administering the Governor General's History Awards and publishing Canada's History magazine (formerly The Beaver) and Kayak: Canada's History Magazine for Kids, it produces a number of educational and online programs to encourage a Canada where people are deeply engaged in connecting with their shared past.