In celebration of his accomplished career as a novelist, essayist and memoirist, as well as his passion for social justice, Lawrence Hill was awarded an honorary Doctor of Letters (DLITT), honoris causa, at the Monday morning session of Western’s 309th Convocation.
Hill spoke to graduates from the School of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies, the Faculty of Arts & Humanities and the Don Wright Faculty of Music, urging graduates to find and relentlessly pursue their passion, keeping in mind the value of stories – real, fictional, their own and those of others.
“I fell in love with the story a number of times in my childhood,” Hill said, noting bedtime poetry and stories from his parents and those from grade school teachers nurtured his love for reading and writing.
“Literature is like having a litany of best friends; you can call on them when you need them. We tell and retell stories to make sense of our lives and the world we live in. Stories guide us, console us, show us the way. They prop us up, help us understand the human soul,” he continued.
“Find a passion that will work for you and lift you to an exciting life. When you have that fire burning, I can assure you – life feels better. I turned to writing to make sense of my life and a world to which I so desperately wanted to belong. Find your passions; love them fully and keep reading as you go.”