Lawrence Hill wins $50K Molson Prize

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Lawrence Hill, author of The Book of Negroes and The Illegal, has been awarded the Canada Council for the Arts Molson Prize for his distinguished career in the arts.

Kent Roach from the University of Toronto also received a Molson Prize. Roach was honoured for his work in the field of social sciences and humanities.

The Molson Prize, which has been awarded annually since 1964, recognizes two individuals each year - one in arts and one in social sciences - who have made outstanding contributions to Canada.

Both will receive a $50,000 prize purse.

Hill is among Canada's most celebrated contemporary writers and is the only author to ever win Canada Reads twice. His historical epic The Book of Negroes won the 2007 Rogers Writers' Trust Fiction Prize, 2008 Commonwealth Writers' Prize and was adapted into an award-winning miniseries for CBC.

"The Molson Prize will serve as great encouragement and inspiration as I continue in my role as professor of creative writing at the University of Guelph," Lawrence Hill said in a statement. "It will also help me focus on researching and writing a new novel about the thousands of African American soldiers who came up from the Deep South to build the Alaska Highway through northern BC and the Yukon during World War II."

Past recipients of the Molson Prize include Gabrielle Roy, Margaret Atwood, Alice Munro, Richard Wagamese and M.G. Vassanji.

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