Nova Scotia poet Sylvia D. Hamilton Appointed to the Order of Canada

Sylvia D. Hamilton

Toronto poet Bill Bissett, Nova Scotia poet Sylvia D. Hamilton, and Saskatchewan author Solomon Ratt are among the 83 distinguished individuals appointed to the Order of Canada this year.

The announcement from Gov. Gen. Mary Simon’s office includes one new Companion, 16 Officers, two Honorary Officers, and 64 new Members of the Order. Notably, two of the appointees have been promoted within the Order of Canada.

Bissett, Hamilton, and Ratt are all newly appointed Members of the Order. Here’s a closer look at each of their contributions:

Sylvia D. Hamilton, a filmmaker and poet from Nova Scotia, is dedicated to preserving and revitalizing forgotten Black histories, particularly in Nova Scotia. Her poetry collections such as “Tender” and “And I Alone Escaped to Tell You” reflect her profound commitment to reclaiming marginalized voices.

bill bissett, based in Toronto, is celebrated as a poet and artist originally from Halifax. Known for his innovative writing style, bissett has authored over 60 books of poetry, including notable works like “its th sailors life / still in treetment” and “breth.”

Solomon Ratt, recognized for his efforts in preserving and revitalizing the Cree language through educational materials and teachings rooted in traditional cultural values, is a retired associate professor from the First Nations University of Canada. Fluent in the Cree Th-dialect from Stanley Mission, Sask., Ratt’s memoir “kâ-pî-isi-kiskisiyân / The Way I Remember” won the 2024 Regina Book Award, detailing his experiences at a residential school and their profound impact on his life.

Other notable literary figures appointed this year include Mellissa Fung, Marcelle Dubois, and Colleen Louise Murphy.

Author, filmmaker Mellissa Fung has been appointed as an Officer of the Order for her advocacy for women and girls in conflict zones. Her memoir “Under the Afghan Sky: A Memoir of Captivity” recounts her kidnapping in Kabul in 2008 while reporting on the war in Afghanistan.

Montreal playwright and theatre director Marcelle Dubois and Toronto-based playwright Colleen Louise Murphy have both been appointed as Members of the Order of Canada.