Lawrence Hill on his novel, 'The Illegal'

The rabble podcast network offers an alternative take on politics, entertainment, society, stories, community and life in general. All opinions belong to the podcaster; however, podcasters are expected to adhere to our guidelines. We welcome new podcasters -- contact us for details.

Please chip in to support more articles like this. Support today for as little as $1 per month!

The Illegal is a novel by Canadian author Lawrence Hill. It's about a man named Keita Ali. Keita is a runner. That's all he ever wanted to do. His dream was to bring his family out of poverty by becoming a world class athlete. He does achieve part of his dream, but also ends up being literally on the run after he winds up in a country with a zeal for deporting refugees. He and his family all end up running for their lives.

He talks about his novel with author and journalist Waubgeshig Rice at an event held on November 24, 2015 at Octopus Books in Ottawa.

As described by Octopus Books, "The Illegal casts a satirical eye on people who have turned their backs on undocumented refugees struggling to survive in a nation that does not want them. Hill's depiction of life on the borderlands of society urges us to consider the plight of the unseen and the forgotten who live among us."

If you would like a copy of your own, it's one of our thank you gifts during our fall fundraising campaign. For a contribution of $15 a month or more, you can get your own copy by clicking here.

Thanks to Octopus Books for making this interview available to rabble. Octopus has a great series of fall readings, and we'll be bringing some more of them to you on Needs No Introduction. If you're in Ottawa, it's a good night out, full of interesting ideas, people and books. You can find more details about the authors in this fall's roster by going to

Like this podcast? rabble is reader-supported journalism. Chip in to keep stories like these coming.

Thank you for reading this story…

More people are reading than ever and unlike many news organizations, we have never put up a paywall – at rabble we’ve always believed in making our reporting and analysis free to all, while striving to make it sustainable as well. Media isn’t free to produce. rabble’s total budget is likely less than what big corporate media spend on photocopying (we kid you not!) and we do not have any major foundation, sponsor or angel investor. Our main supporters are people and organizations -- like you. This is why we need your help. You are what keep us sustainable. has staked its existence on you. We live or die on community support -- your support! We get hundreds of thousands of visitors and we believe in them. We believe in you. We believe people will put in what they can for the greater good. We call that sustainable.

So what is the easy answer for us? Depend on a community of visitors who care passionately about media that amplifies the voices of people struggling for change and justice. It really is that simple. When the people who visit rabble care enough to contribute a bit then it works for everyone.

And so we’re asking you if you could make a donation, right now, to help us carry forward on our mission. Make a donation today.


We welcome your comments! embraces a pro-human rights, pro-feminist, anti-racist, queer-positive, anti-imperialist and pro-labour stance, and encourages discussions which develop progressive thought. Our full comment policy can be found here. Learn more about Disqus on and your privacy here. Please keep in mind:


  • Tell the truth and avoid rumours.
  • Add context and background.
  • Report typos and logical fallacies.
  • Be respectful.
  • Respect copyright - link to articles.
  • Stay focused. Bring in-depth commentary to our discussion forum, babble.


  • Use oppressive/offensive language.
  • Libel or defame.
  • Bully or troll.
  • Post spam.
  • Engage trolls. Flag suspect activity instead.