International writing faculty
Justin Hill (Fiction/Creative Non-Fiction)
Justin Hill is the author of two novels, two non-fiction books and numerous stories, essays and poems. Born in Freeport, Grand Bahama Island, he was brought up in York. He was a member of St Cuthbert's Society, Durham University where he received his BA; his MA in writing is from the University of Lancaster.
He worked for seven years as a volunteer with VSO (Voluntary Service Overseas) in rural China and Africa, before returning home to Yorkshire in 1999. His internationally acclaimed first novel, The Drink and Dream Teahouse, won the 2003 Geoffrey Faber Memorial Prize and a 2002 Betty Trask Award, and was banned by the government in China. It was also picked by the Washington Post as one of the Top Novels of 2001.
His second novel, Passing Under Heaven, won the 2005 Somerset Maugham Award and was shortlisted for the Encore Award. The Independent on Sunday and Sunday Telegraph both picked it for their Christmas Recommended Reads in 2005.
His latest novel, Shieldwall, was released in 2011, which the Sunday Times describes as a ‘vivid historical novel written in supple, intelligent prose. Brings the distant world of pre-Conquest England to life . . . Entirely convincing.' It is the first of a trilogy of historical novels set in 11th century England.
Ciao Asmara, a factual account of his time in Eritrea, was shortlisted for the 2003 Thomas Cook Travel Book Award. His other non-fiction book, A Bend in the Yellow River, is an account of life in China which the Mail on Sunday describes as follows: 'A rattling good story of hilarious cultural misunderstandings... a first class introduction to contemporary China, recounted with good humour and refreshingly free of political lectures.' His poetry has been published in numerous magazines, both on-line and on more conventional media.
In 2001, Justin was listed in The Independent on Sunday's 'Top 20 Young British Writers'. In October 2005 he was awarded the Xiaoxiang Friendship Award by the Governor of Hunan Province, for his services to China.
His work has been translated into fourteen languages.
He is an Assistant Professor at Hong Kong University; Honorary Fellow at Lingnan University; contributing editor for the Asian Literary Review; and is currently working on a third novel. In Spring 2010, Justin was the writer-in-residence at Lingnan University. He is currently Visiting Writer at the Department of English, City University of Hong Kong.
In 2001, Justin ran the London Marathon in 3 hours 26 minutes, on behalf of the and successfully completed the Asmara-Keren Cycle, at an altitude of 2700m in 6 hours 15 minutes. He is now training for his first Iron Man.
Excerpts from work
From Passing Under Heaven
The first night in her new home, Little Hope snuggled up close to the unfamiliar bodies. There was no one to watch her practice calligraphy, no one to tell her not to go out. The next morning Old Fart and her sons were up early to stoke the fire and draw water from the well. Little Hope lay in bed with Headman Wang, pretended she was still asleep and listened to the rumble of slow boiling water. After a while Headman Wang sat up and coughed. Little Hope kept her eyes shut and burrowed deeper into the warm blankets, but Headman Wang put his hand under the sheets and found her foot, moved up past the ankle, up her leg, squeezed her thigh. "She's thin," he announced to Old Fart. "We'll need to fatten her up." - AD 850
Minister Li spent the morning in the ancestral tomb, sacrificing to the generations before him - meat and wine heaped like mountains: grandmother buns, spring rice wine, sweet date lotus root and crusty chunks of sugar fried pork. The dishes were laid out in a circle like a huge banquet, cups of spring wine spilling over the brim, ivory chopsticks perched on bronze rests. The mice would eat well, Minister Li thought as he shut the vermilion doors, wandered back through his manor, left the hungry ghosts behind. - AD 906