Lawrence Hill spellbound readers with Someone Kws My Name (made into the television mini-series, The Book of Negroes), hailed as transporting (Entertainment Weekly) and completely engrossing (Washington Post). The Illegal is the gripping story of Keita Ali, a refugee-like the many in today's headlines-compelled to leave his homeland. All Keita has ever wanted to do is to run. Running means respect and wealth at home. His native Zantoroland, a fictionalized country whose tyrants are eerily familiar, turns out the fastest marathoners on earth. But after his journalist father is killed for his outspoken political views, Keita must flee to the wealthy nation of Freedom State-a country engaged in a crackdown on all undocumented people. There, Keita becomes a part of the new underground. He learns what it means to live as an illegal: surfacing to earn cash prizes by running local races and assessing whether the people he meets will be kind or turn him in. As the authorities seek to arrest Keita, he strives to elude capture and ransom his sister, who has been kidnapped. Set in an imagined country bearing a striking resemblance to our own, this tension-filled vel casts its eye on race, human potential, and what it means to belong.
Lawrence Hill is the author of several novels including Someone Knows My Name, which won the Commonwealth Writers' Prize and the Rogers Writers' Trust Fiction Prize and was nominated in the United States for the Huston Wright Legacy Award. In 2015 Hill was appointed to the Order of Canada for his contributions as an author and activist who tells the stories of Canada's black community and of women and girls in Africa. A graduate of the Writing Seminars at The Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, he lives in Ontario, Canada.