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Priscila Uppal

Priscila Uppal, FRSC, poet, novelist, playwright, professor (born 30 October 1974 in Ottawa, ON; died 5 September 2018 in Toronto, ON). Dubbed “Canada’s coolest poet,” Priscila Uppal was a politically pointed voice in contemporary Canadian poetry. Her writing addressed issues surrounding women, violence, sexuality, culture, religion, illness and loss. Her works were shortlisted for the Griffin Poetry Prize and a Governor General’s Literary Award. She was named the Canadian Athletes Now Fund poet-in-residence for the 2010 Vancouver Winter Olympics and Paralympics, and the 2012 Summer Olympics and Paralympics in London, England. She also taught creative writing and English literature at York University.

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Alanis Morissette

Alanis Nadine Morissette, singer, songwriter, producer, actor, activist (born 1 June 1974 in OttawaON). Alanis Morissette is one of Canada’s most recognized and internationally acclaimed singer-songwriters. She established herself as a Juno-winning teen pop star in Canada before adopting an edgy alternative rock sound. She exploded onto the world stage with her record-breaking international debut, Jagged Little Pill (1995). It sold more than 16 million copies in the United States and 33 million worldwide. It is the highest-selling debut album by a female artist in the US and the best-selling debut album ever worldwide. It is also the best-selling album of the 1990s and the first album by a Canadian artist to sell more than two million copies in Canada. Described by Rolling Stone magazine as the “undisputed queen of alt-rock angst,” Morissette has won 13 Juno Awards and seven Grammy Awards. She has sold 60 million albums worldwide, including Supposed Former Infatuation Junkie (1998), Under Rug Swept (2002) and Flavors of Entanglement (2008). Also an actor and activist, she is a member of the Canadian Music Industry Hall of Fame, the Canadian Music Hall of Fame and Canada’s Walk of Fame.

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Maria Campbell

Maria Campbell, O.C., Cree-Métis writer, playwright, filmmaker, scholar, teacher and elder (born 26 April 1940 in Park Valley, SK). Campbell’s memoir Halfbreed (1973) is regarded as a foundational piece of Indigenous literature in Canada for its attention to the discrimination, oppression and poverty that some Métis women (and Indigenous people, in general) experience in Canada. Campbell has authored several other books and plays, and has directed and written scripts for a number of films. As an artist, Campbell has worked with Indigenous youth in community theatre and advocated for the hiring and recognition of Indigenous people in the arts. She has mentored many Indigenous artists during her career.

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Mary Riter Hamilton

Mary Matilda Hamilton (née Riter), artist (born 7 September c. 1867 in Teeswater, ON; died 5 April 1954 in Coquitlam, BC). Mary Riter Hamilton was a painter who exhibited her works in Europe and across Canada. Shortly after the fighting stopped, Hamilton travelled to Europe to paint First World War battlefield landscapes before they were cleared (see War Artists). She produced over 350 works in three years, which are a document of the destruction and devastation caused by the war.

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Monique Mercure

Monique Mercure, née Émond, CC, actor (born 14 November 1930 in Montreal, QC; died 16 May 2020 in Outremont, QC ). The career of this distinguished actress, among the most visible on Quebec and Canadian stages and screens, has broad international appeal. Performing some one hundred major theatre roles in French and English, her spirit, intensity and hearty laugh made a mark on several television series and award-winning films.

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Hannah Moscovitch

Hannah Moscovitch, playwright (born 5 June 1978 in Ottawa, ON). Hannah Moscovitch is one of Canada’s most produced and prominent contemporary playwrights. Her plays tackle complex and often politically charged issues and have won multiple Dora Awards. Moscovitch has also been nominated for the Carol Bolt Award, the Toronto Arts Council Foundation Emerging Artist Award, the K.M. Hunter Award, and the international Susan Smith Blackburn Prize. She is the first playwright to win a Trillium Book Award and the first Canadian woman to win a Windham–Campbell Literature Prize, a $150,000 award from Yale University. She also won a 2021 Governor General’s Literary Award for her drama Sexual Misconduct of the Middle Classes.  

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Elizabeth Smart

Elizabeth Smart, writer (born 27 December 1913 in Ottawa, ON; died 4 March 1986 in London, England). In 1945, a slim work with a long title — By Grand Central Station I Sat Down and Wept — was published in England by Elizabeth Smart, an unknown Canadian writer living in London. The book was based on Smart’s love affair with the poet George Barker, and Smart’s mother used her influence with Prime Minister Mackenzie King to have the book banned from Canada. However, it was hailed as a masterpiece of poetic prose when it was later republished in paperback. In 2021, Marie Frankland’s French translation of Smart’s The Collected Poems won a Governor General’s Literary Award.