Mahatma Grafton is a disillusioned university graduate burdened with a famous name, and suffering from the curse of his generation -- a total lack of interest in the state of the world. The son of a retired railway porter from Winnipeg, he returns home for a job as a reporter with The Winnipeg Herald. Soon Mahatma is scoping local stories of murder and mayhem, breaking a promise to himself to avoid writing victim stories.
As Mahatma is unexpectedly drawn into the inflammatory issue of French-language rights in Manitoba, with all its racial side-channels, he is surprised to find that he has a social conscience. Combating his boss’s flair for weaving hysteria into his stories, Mahatma learns that to stay afloat he must remain true to himself.
Populated with colourful characters -- including an unlikely welfare crusader, a burned-out fellow reporter, a French-language-rights activist, and a visiting journalist from Cameroon -- Some Great Thing is a fascinating portrait of a major urban newspaper and a deeply perceptive story of one man’s coming of age.
About the author
LAWRENCE HILL is a professor of creative writing at the University of Guelph. He is the author of ten books, including The Illegal; The Book Of Negroes; Any Known Blood; and Black Berry, Sweet Juice: On Being Black and White in Canada. He is the winner of various awards, including the Commonwealth Writers’ Prize and the Canada Council for the Arts Molson Prize, and is a two-time winner of CBC Radio’s Canada Reads. Hill delivered the North America-wide 2013 Massey Lectures, based on his non-fiction book Blood: The Stuff of Life. He co-wrote the adaptation for the six-part television miniseries The Book of Negroes, which attracted millions of viewers and won eleven Canadian Screen Awards. The recipient of nine honorary doctorates from Canadian universities, Hill served as chair of the jury of the 2016 Scotiabank Giller Prize. He is a volunteer with Book Clubs for Inmates and the Black Loyalist Heritage Society, and is an honorary patron of Crossroads International, for which he has volunteered for more than thirty-five years and with which he has travelled to Niger, Cameroon, Mali, and Swaziland. A 2018 Berton House resident in Dawson City, he is working on a new novel about the African-American soldiers who helped build the Alaska Highway in northern B.C. and Yukon in 1942–43. He is a Member of the Order of Canada, has been inducted into Canada’s Walk of Fame, and in 2019 was named a Canada Library and Archives Scholar. He lives in Hamilton, Ontario, and in Woody Point, Newfoundland.