Paperback / softback
March 20, 2013
9.00 Inches (US)
5.25 Inches (US)
.2 Pounds (US)
$10.95 USD, £7.99 GBP
v2.1 Reference

Dear Sir, I Intend to Burn Your Book

An Anatomy of a Book Burning

By Lawrence Hill
Introduction by Ted Bishop
Censorship and book burning are still present in our lives. Lawrence Hill shares his experiences of how ignorance and the fear of ideas led a group in the Netherlands to burn the cover of his widely successful novel, The Book of Negroes, in 2011. Why do books continue to ignite such strong reactions in people in the age of the Internet? Is banning, censoring, or controlling book distribution ever justified? Hill illustrates his ideas with anecdotes and lists names of Canadian writers who faced censorship challenges in the twenty-first century, inviting conversation between those on opposite sides of these contentious issues. All who are interested in literature, freedom of expression, and human rights will enjoy reading Hill's provocative essay.

About the Authors

Lawrence Hill is a Canadian novelist and memoirist. His best-known work, The Book of Negroes, won multiple awards, including the Rogers Writers' Trust Fiction Prize and the Commonwealth Writers' Prize. He lives in Hamilton, Ontario.


"Those who engage this work, subtitled "An Anatomy of a Book Burning," will find much to like, not least Hill's generous capacity for integrating autobiography - around the racial and cultural experiences of three generations of his own family - with historical commentary on book-burning and censorship campaigns, and also on the institution of slavery, specifically in its Dutch and British Empire-era Canadian versions as well. He pays particular attention to the racial textures and even blasé racism that informs some Dutch words to this day." Randy Boyagoda, National Post, May 13, 2013 [Full post at]

"Hill delivered a lecture on the incident to the Canadian Literature Centre which has recently been published by The University of Alberta Press. In Dear Sir, I Intend to Burn Your Book he offers a thoughtful, sometimes comical, very personal meditation on literary censorship. Far from an isolated incident, the subject of censorship has been a recurring theme in his life." Donna Bailey Nurse, Toronto Star, April 26, 2013 [Full post at]

# 5 on the Edmonton Journal's Bestsellers list (Edmonton Nonfiction) for the week of August 2, 2013.

"Lawrence Hill's approachable and thought-provoking book takes censorship as its main topic. Its inspiration was an incident in which the cover of Hill's novel The Book of Negroes was burnt in protest.... Hill takes the original incident as a starting point to discuss large topics of power, communication and conflict. The overarching message of the text is that censorship and racism are complex issues which require further discussion." Lian Beveridge, CM Magazine, August 2013. [Full review at]

"The essay locates itself in a long tradition of correctly reminding readers about the multiple pitfalls of book censorship. But Hill is historically minded and thoughtful enough to not just produce anti-censorship arguments outside of other historical concerns. He presents the ethical dilemmas of racist literature as a backdrop to working out how he comes to his positions on anti-censorship." Rinaldo Walcott, Literary Review of Canada, July/August 2013

"[Burning the book cover serves] as the point of departure for a meditation on book burnings and censorship and it forms the basis for an impassioned plea for freedom of expression, even in cases when one can understand the undeniable hurt experienced by some readers."—Maureen Moynagh, Canadian Literature

"In this great read, Hill explores the idea of censorship in the modern world..." LitFest 2015—LitFest 2015


9780888646798 : dear-sir-i-intend-to-burn-your-book-hill-bishop
Paperback / softback
56 Pages
$10.95 USD

Other Titles by Lawrence Hill

Ten Canadian Writers in Context

edited by Marie Carrière, Curtis Gillespie, Jason Purcell, with contributions byLynn Coady, Ying Chen, Michael Crummey, Jennifer Bowering Delisle, Kit Dobson, Caterina Edwards, Marina Endicott, Lawrence Hill, Daniel Laforest, Alice Majo...
Jun 2016 - The University of Alberta Press, an imprint of University of Alberta Press
$24.95 USD - Paperback / softback

Other Titles from Clc Kreisel Lecture Series

Next Time There's a Pandemic

Vivek Shraya, afterword by J.R. Carpenter
Feb 2022 - The University of Alberta Press, an imprint of University of Alberta Press
$12.99 USD - Paperback / softback

A Short History of the Blockade

Leanne Betasamosake Simpson, introduction by Jordan Abel
Feb 2021 - The University of Alberta Press, an imprint of University of Alberta Press
$12.99 USD - Paperback / softback

An Autobiography of the Autobiography of Reading

Dionne Brand
Jan 2020 - The University of Alberta Press, an imprint of University of Alberta Press
$12.99 USD - Paperback / softback