Sylvia Hamilton


Sylvia D. Hamilton is a Nova Scotian filmmaker and writer. Through her work as a filmmaker and artist, she has brought the life experiences of African Nova Scotians to the mainstream of Canadian arts. Her first film, Black Mother Black Daughter, has been seen in over forty film festivals throughout North America and Europe, and her films have gone on to win awards and be screened in festivals in Canada, the United States, Europe and the Caribbean. Speak It! From the Heart of Black Nova Scotia received both the 1994 Maeda Prize awarded by the NHK-Japan Broadcasting Corporation, and a 1994-Gemini Award. Her most recent film is Portia White: Think On Me, a documentary about the extraordinary Canadian contralto who was known as Canada? Marian Anderson. It has been widely broadcast on VISION TV, BRAVO! and national and regional CBC TV.

Her writing (literary and non-fiction) has appeared in a variety of Canadian journals and anthologies. She was a contributor to and co-editor of We’re Rooted Here and They Can’t Pull Us Up: Essays in African Canadian Women’s History published by the University of Toronto Press in 1993.



Nova Scotia Community College, Honourary Diploma, 2002


Dalhousie University, Doctor of Laws 2000


Halifax Progress Women of Excellence Award, 1996, Arts and Culture Category.


Baha’i Community of Canada, 1996 Race Unity Award.


CTV Fellowship Award, for Banff Television Festival, June 1995.


Saint Mary’s University, Halifax, Doctor of Letters (1995).


AMTEC Media Festival Award of Excellence, Lethbridge, Canada, 1994.


Maeda Prize, 21st Japan Prize, International Educational Program Contest, Tokyo, 1994


Winner of a 1994 Gemini Award; ‘Speak It!’


Atlantic Film Festival, Rex Tasker Award for Best Atlantic Canadian Documentary, 1993.


Yorkton Short Film and Video Festival, Golden Sheaf Award, Yorkton, Saskatchewan, 1990.

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Recommended Experience Levels

The Writers’ Federation of Nova Scotia (WFNS) recommends that each workshop’s participants share a level or range of writing / publication experience. This is to ensure each participant gets value from the workshop⁠ and is presented with information, strategies, and skills that suit their current writing priorities.

To this end, the “Recommended experience level” section of each workshop description refers to the following definitions developed by WFNS:

  • New writers: those who have been writing creatively for less than two years and/or have not yet been published in any form.
  • Emerging writers: those who have been writing creatively for less than five years and/or have some short publications (poems, stories, or essays) in literary magazines, journals, or anthologies.
  • Established writers/authors: those with numerous publications in magazines, journals, or anthologies and/or a full-length book publication.
  • Professional authors: those with two or more full-length book publications.

For “intensive” and “masterclass” workshops, which provide more opportunities for peer-to-peer (that is, participant-to-participant) feedback, the recommended experience level should be followed.

For all other workshops, the recommended experience level is just that—a recommendation—and we encourage potential participants to follow their own judgment when registering.

If you’re uncertain of your experience level with regard to any particular workshop, please feel free to contact us at