Thursday, March 24, 2016 |
This is Hill's second time winning Canada Reads, after claiming the title in 2009 for The Book of Negroes.
"The Illegal asks Canadians to imagine the humanity of one refugee, and thus all refugees," said Hughes in her final defence of the novel.
The Canada Reads finale ended with a dramatic vote, which forced panellist Adam "Edge" Copeland to break a 2-2 split with The Hero's Walk by Anita Rau Badami. Copeland reluctantly voted to eliminate The Hero's Walk.
Once the winner was declared, Hill came out to surprise the panellists. The author was full of praise for Canada Reads.
"If you win a literary prize, that prize will be discussed for a day or so, and then fade. With Canada Reads, people are discussing five Canadian books for months," said Hill.
Panellists also praised actor Vinay Virmani for passionately defending The Hero's Walk, which came in second.
"He truly shone a light on corners of this book that I didn't see," said Copeland.
Virmani recently purchased the film rights to the book.
Watch the finale: