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Music Memory - Lawrence Hill

Music Memory is sponsored by the Alzheimer Society of Toronto, offering the "Music For Memory Project": a program based on the effects of music and stimulation on people with dementia, by providing them with iPods containing personalized music. For more information, visit

This week we hear from Lawrence Hill, the author of ten books. His 2007 novel The Book of Negroes (also published as Someone Knows My Name and Aminata) won the Rogers Writers’ Trust Fiction Prize, the Commonwealth Writers’ Prize for Best Book and both CBC Radio’s Canada Reads and Radio-Canada’s Combat des livres. His latest novel is called The Illegal.

"One of my richest childhood memories stems from the "living room" in our family house in Don Mills in the 1960s. My father would put on an LP with Joe Williams belting out A Fine Romance, and he and my mother would spin around, dancing as Dan, Karen and I feigned disgust. My favourite line from the lips of this spurned, hard-done male crooner was: "We should be like a couple of hot tomatoes / but you're as cold as yesterday's mashed potatoes." Sometimes, on a hard day, I imagine my folks dancing to Joe Williams and feel better instantly."

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