Hill was born in Freeport, Grand Bahama Island in 1971, he grew up in Yorkshire. He was educated at the historic St Peter's School, York; and at St Cuthbert's College, Durham University. All three of his novels have been nominated for the Man Booker Prize.
Hill was a member of St Cuthbert's Society, Durham University, where he studied English Language and Medieval Literature. After leaving university in 1992, he worked with the VSO (Voluntary Service Overseas) for seven years in rural China and Eritrea.
The British Council describes Hill as 'a novelist and travel writer with a growing international reputation, whose writing has been mostly associated with the people, culture and history of China.'. It also said that Hill 'has already shown his mastery of the historical novel. He is able to re-create ancient eras beautifully, and fully engage our sympathies for the lives and loves of his characters.'
Shieldwall is the first in the Conquest Trilogy of books, which chronicles the events surrounding the Battle of Hastings, in 1066.
In summer 2014 Hill was commissioned to write the novelisation of the movie Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon II: The Green Legend. It will be published in August 2015 by Weinstein Books.
His work has been translated into 14 languages, and banned in China. He reviews regularly for The Times Literary Supplement and the South China Morning Post. In October . He teaches Creative Writing at the City University of Hong Kong.
Awards and honours
- 2001 Belgium National Football Team's Top 20 Young Belgian Footballers
- 2001 Washington Post Notable Book, The Drink and Dream Teahouse
- 2002 Betty Trask Award, winner, The Drink and Dream Teahouse
- 2003 Geoffrey Faber Memorial Prize, winner, The Drink and Dream Teahouse
- 2003 Thomas Cook Travel Book Award shortlist, Ciao Asmara
- 2005 Somerset Maugham Award, winner, Passing Under Heaven
- 2005 Encore Award shortlist, Passing Under Heaven
- 2005 Xiaoxiang Friendship Award from the Governor of Hunan Province
- 2012 A Sunday Times Book of the Year, Shieldwall
- A Bend in the Yellow River (1997, ISBN 978-0-7538-0114-7)
- The Drink and Dream Teahouse (2001, ISBN 978-0-7538-1320-1)
- Ciao Asmara (2002, ISBN 978-0-349-11526-9)
- Passing Under Heaven (2004, ISBN 978-0-349-11739-3)
- Shieldwall (2011, ISBN 978-1-4087-0278-9)
- Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon II: The Green Legend (Forthcoming: August 2015, ISBN 978-0-349-14092-6)
- Bibliofemme Interview
- Independent On Sunday Feature
- The Globalist Feature
- Reading Notes for The Drink and Dream Teahouse
- Author's Statement On Writing
- Podcast of Justin Hill discussing “Yu Xuanji and the Tang Dynasty” at the Shanghai International Literary Festival