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Carol Shields

Carol Shields

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Carol Ann Shields, CC
Order of Canada
The Order of Canada is a Canadian national order, admission into which is, within the system of orders, decorations, and medals of Canada, the second highest honour for merit...

, OM
Order of Manitoba
The Order of Manitoba is a civilian honour for merit in the Canadian province of Manitoba. Instituted in 1999 when Lieutenant Governor Peter M...

, FRSC
Royal Society of Canada
The Royal Society of Canada , may also operate under the more descriptive name RSC: The Academies of Arts, Humanities and Sciences of Canada , is the oldest association of scientists and scholars in Canada...

, MA
Master of Arts (postgraduate)
A Master of Arts from the Latin Magister Artium, is a type of Master's degree awarded by universities in many countries. The M.A. is usually contrasted with the M.S. or M.Sc. degrees...

 (née Warner) (June 2, 1935 – July 16, 2003) was an American
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

-born Canadian
Canada
Canada is a North American country consisting of ten provinces and three territories. Located in the northern part of the continent, it extends from the Atlantic Ocean in the east to the Pacific Ocean in the west, and northward into the Arctic Ocean...

 author
Author
An author is broadly defined as "the person who originates or gives existence to anything" and that authorship determines responsibility for what is created. Narrowly defined, an author is the originator of any written work.-Legal significance:...

. She is best known for her 1993 novel The Stone Diaries
The Stone Diaries
The Stone Diaries is a 1993 award-winning novel by Carol Shields.It is the fictional autobiography about the life of Daisy Goodwill Flett, a seemingly ordinary woman whose life is marked by death and loss from the beginning, when her mother dies during childbirth...

, which won the U.S. Pulitzer Prize for Fiction
Pulitzer Prize for Fiction
The Pulitzer Prize for Fiction has been awarded for distinguished fiction by an American author, preferably dealing with American life. It originated as the Pulitzer Prize for the Novel, which was awarded between 1918 and 1947.-1910s:...

 as well as the Governor General's Award
1993 Governor General's Awards
Each winner of the 1993 Governor General's Awards for Literary Merit received $10,000 and a medal from the Governor General of Canada. The winners were selected by a panel of judges administered by the Canada Council for the Arts.-Fiction:Winner:...

 in Canada.

Biography


Shields was born in Oak Park, Illinois
Oak Park, Illinois
Oak Park, Illinois is a suburb bordering the west side of the city of Chicago in Cook County, Illinois, United States. It is the twenty-fifth largest municipality in Illinois. Oak Park has easy access to downtown Chicago due to public transportation such as the Chicago 'L' Blue and Green lines,...

. She studied at Hanover College
Hanover College
Hanover College is a private liberal arts college, located in Hanover, Indiana, near the banks of the Ohio River. The college is affiliated with the Presbyterian Church . The college was founded in 1827 by the Rev. John Finley Crowe, making it the oldest private college in Indiana. The Hanover...

 Indiana, where she became member of the Alpha Delta Pi
Alpha Delta Pi
Alpha Delta Pi is a fraternity founded on May 15, 1851 at Wesleyan College in Macon, Georgia. The Executive office for this sorority is located on Ponce de Leon Avenue in Atlanta, Georgia. Alpha Delta Pi is one of the two "Macon Magnolias," a term used to celebrate the bonds it shares with Phi Mu...

 sorority; during this time she studied for a semester at the University of Exeter
University of Exeter
The University of Exeter is a public university in South West England. It belongs to the 1994 Group, an association of 19 of the United Kingdom's smaller research-intensive universities....

 in England
England
England is a country that is part of the United Kingdom. It shares land borders with Scotland to the north and Wales to the west; the Irish Sea is to the north west, the Celtic Sea to the south west, with the North Sea to the east and the English Channel to the south separating it from continental...

, and the University of Ottawa
University of Ottawa
The University of Ottawa is a bilingual, research-intensive, non-denominational, international university in Ottawa, Ontario. It is one of the oldest universities in Canada. It was originally established as the College of Bytown in 1848 by the Missionary Oblates of Mary Immaculate...

, where she received an MA
Master of Arts (postgraduate)
A Master of Arts from the Latin Magister Artium, is a type of Master's degree awarded by universities in many countries. The M.A. is usually contrasted with the M.S. or M.Sc. degrees...

.

In 1956, while on a college exchange visit to Scotland
Scotland
Scotland is a country that is part of the United Kingdom. Occupying the northern third of the island of Great Britain, it shares a border with England to the south and is bounded by the North Sea to the east, the Atlantic Ocean to the north and west, and the North Channel and Irish Sea to the...

, she met a Canadian engineering student, Donald Hugh Shields. The couple married in 1957 and moved to Canada, where they had a son and four daughters. Shields later became a Canadian citizen.

In 1973, Shields became editorial assistant for the journal Canadian Slavonic Papers. In 1977, she became a professor at the University of Ottawa, where she stayed for a year. She later taught at the University of British Columbia
University of British Columbia
The University of British Columbia is a public research university. UBC’s two main campuses are situated in Vancouver and in Kelowna in the Okanagan Valley...

 and travelled around the country. In 1980, she and Don settled in Winnipeg, Manitoba
Winnipeg
Winnipeg is the capital and largest city of Manitoba, Canada, and is the primary municipality of the Winnipeg Capital Region, with more than half of Manitoba's population. It is located near the longitudinal centre of North America, at the confluence of the Red and Assiniboine Rivers .The name...

, after Don was hired to teach in the University of Manitoba's Faculty of Engineering. Winnipeg was where she wrote her major books. She also became a professor of English
English literature
English literature is the literature written in the English language, including literature composed in English by writers not necessarily from England; for example, Robert Burns was Scottish, James Joyce was Irish, Joseph Conrad was Polish, Dylan Thomas was Welsh, Edgar Allan Poe was American, J....

 at the University of Manitoba
University of Manitoba
The University of Manitoba , in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada, is the largest university in the province of Manitoba. It is Manitoba's most comprehensive and only research-intensive post-secondary educational institution. It was founded in 1877, making it Western Canada’s first university. It placed...

. In 1996, she became chancellor of the University of Winnipeg
University of Winnipeg
The University of Winnipeg is a public university in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada that offers undergraduate faculties of art, business and economics, education, science and theology as well as graduate programs. The U of W's founding colleges were Manitoba College and Wesley College, which merged...

. In 2000, after Don's retirement, the couple moved to Victoria, British Columbia
Victoria, British Columbia
Victoria is the capital city of British Columbia, Canada and is located on the southern tip of Vancouver Island off Canada's Pacific coast. The city has a population of about 78,000 within the metropolitan area of Greater Victoria, which has a population of 360,063, the 15th most populous Canadian...

, where she died in 2003 of breast cancer
Breast cancer
Breast cancer is cancer originating from breast tissue, most commonly from the inner lining of milk ducts or the lobules that supply the ducts with milk. Cancers originating from ducts are known as ductal carcinomas; those originating from lobules are known as lobular carcinomas...

 at age 68.

Shields' daughter Anne Giardini is also a writer. Giardini has contributed to the National Post
National Post
The National Post is a Canadian English-language national newspaper based in Don Mills, a district of Toronto. The paper is owned by Postmedia Network Inc. and is published Mondays through Saturdays...

 as a columnist, and has published her first novel, The Sad Truth About Happiness. Anne's second novel, Advice for Italian Boys, was published in 2009.

Career


Shields was the author of several novels and short story collections, including The Orange Fish (1989), Swann (1987), Various Miracles (1985), Happenstance (1980), and The Republic of Love (1992). She was the recipient of a Canada Council
Canada Council
The Canada Council for the Arts, commonly called the Canada Council, is a Crown Corporation established in 1957 to act as an arts council of the government of Canada, created to foster and promote the study and enjoyment of, and the production of works in, the arts. It funds Canadian artists and...

 Major Award, two National Magazine Awards, the 1990 Marian Engel Award
Marian Engel Award
The Marian Engel Award was a Canadian literary award, presented each year from 1986 to 2007 by the Writers' Trust of Canada in memory of the writer Marian Engel...

, the Canadian Author's Award, and a CBC
Canadian Broadcasting Corporation
The Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, commonly known as CBC and officially as CBC/Radio-Canada, is a Canadian crown corporation that serves as the national public radio and television broadcaster...

 short story award. She was appointed as an officer of the Order of Canada
Order of Canada
The Order of Canada is a Canadian national order, admission into which is, within the system of orders, decorations, and medals of Canada, the second highest honour for merit...

 in 1998 and was elevated to companion of the Order in 2002. Shields was also a fellow of the Royal Society of Canada
Royal Society of Canada
The Royal Society of Canada , may also operate under the more descriptive name RSC: The Academies of Arts, Humanities and Sciences of Canada , is the oldest association of scientists and scholars in Canada...

 and a member of the Order of Manitoba
Order of Manitoba
The Order of Manitoba is a civilian honour for merit in the Canadian province of Manitoba. Instituted in 1999 when Lieutenant Governor Peter M...

.

The Stone Diaries
The Stone Diaries
The Stone Diaries is a 1993 award-winning novel by Carol Shields.It is the fictional autobiography about the life of Daisy Goodwill Flett, a seemingly ordinary woman whose life is marked by death and loss from the beginning, when her mother dies during childbirth...

 (1993) won the 1995 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction
Pulitzer Prize for Fiction
The Pulitzer Prize for Fiction has been awarded for distinguished fiction by an American author, preferably dealing with American life. It originated as the Pulitzer Prize for the Novel, which was awarded between 1918 and 1947.-1910s:...

 and the 1993 Governor General's Award
1993 Governor General's Awards
Each winner of the 1993 Governor General's Awards for Literary Merit received $10,000 and a medal from the Governor General of Canada. The winners were selected by a panel of judges administered by the Canada Council for the Arts.-Fiction:Winner:...

, the only book to have ever received both awards. It was nominated for the U.S. National Book Critics Circle Award
National Book Critics Circle Award
The National Book Critics Circle Award is an annual award given by the National Book Critics Circle to promote the finest books and reviews published in English....

 and the 1993 Booker Prize, and was named one of the best books of the year by Publishers Weekly
Publishers Weekly
Publishers Weekly, aka PW, is an American weekly trade news magazine targeted at publishers, librarians, booksellers and literary agents...

. It was also chosen as a "Notable Book" by The New York Times Book Review
The New York Times Book Review
The New York Times Book Review is a weekly paper-magazine supplement to The New York Times in which current non-fiction and fiction books are reviewed. It is one of the most influential and widely read book review publications in the industry. The offices are located near Times Square in New York...

, which wrote "The Stone Diaries reminds us again why literature matters."

She won the 1998 Orange Prize for Fiction
Orange Prize for Fiction
The Orange Prize for Fiction is one of the United Kingdom's most prestigious literary prizes, annually awarded to a female author of any nationality for the best original full-length novel written in English, and published in the United Kingdom in the preceding year...

 for her 1997 novel Larry's Party
Larry's Party
Larry's Party is a 1997 novel by Carol Shields.The novel examined the life of Larry Weller, an "ordinary man made extraordinary" by his unique talent for creating labyrinths...

. Her last novel, Unless
Unless
Unless, first published by Fourth Estate, an imprint of Harper Collins in 2002, is the final novel by Canadian writer Carol Shields. Semi-autobiographical, it was the capstone to Shields's writing career: she died shortly after its publication in 2003...

 (2002), was nominated for the 2002 Giller Prize, the Governor General's Award, the Booker Prize and the 2003 Orange Prize for Fiction. It was awarded the Ethel Wilson Fiction Prize
Ethel Wilson Fiction Prize
The Ethel Wilson Fiction Prize, established in 1985 as one of the BC Book Prizes, is awarded annually to the best work of fiction by a resident of British Columbia, Canada....

.

Shields was also intensely interested in Jane Austen. She wrote the biography entitled Jane Austen, which won the $25,000 Charles Taylor Prize for literary non-fiction in April 2002, an award accepted by her daughter Meg on her behalf in Toronto, Ontario, on April 22, 2002.

Her last novel, Unless, contains a passionate defense of female writers who write of 'domestic' subjects.

Following her death, six of her short stories were adapted by Shaftesbury Films
Shaftesbury Films
Shaftesbury Films is a Canadian film and television production company founded by Christina Jennings and is based in Toronto, Ontario. Founded in 1987, Shaftesbury is a leading creator and producer of original content for television and multiple platforms, with programming available in more than...

 into the dramatic anthology series The Shields Stories
The Shields Stories
The Shields Stories was a Canadian television drama series, which aired on W in 2004. A short-run dramatic anthology series produced by Shaftesbury Films, the series dramatized six short stories by Carol Shields....

.

Honours and awards

  • the Canadian Authors' Association Award for the Best Novel of 1976 (Small Ceremonies)
  • the Arthur Ellis Award for Best Canadian Mystery (Swann: A Mystery
    Swann: A Mystery
    Swann: A Mystery is a novel by the late Carol Shields which details the impact of an obscure Canadian poet, Mary Swann, upon four individuals: a feminist literary critic, the poet's biographer, a small-town librarian, and a crusty, brilliant newspaper editor...

    )
  • the Booker Prize Shortlist (The Stone Diaries
    The Stone Diaries
    The Stone Diaries is a 1993 award-winning novel by Carol Shields.It is the fictional autobiography about the life of Daisy Goodwill Flett, a seemingly ordinary woman whose life is marked by death and loss from the beginning, when her mother dies during childbirth...

    )
  • the Governor General's Award
    Governor General's Award
    The Governor General's Awards are a collection of awards presented by the Governor General of Canada, marking distinction in a number of academic, artistic and social fields. The first was conceived in 1937 by Lord Tweedsmuir, a prolific author of fiction and non-fiction who created the Governor...

     (The Stone Diaries
    The Stone Diaries
    The Stone Diaries is a 1993 award-winning novel by Carol Shields.It is the fictional autobiography about the life of Daisy Goodwill Flett, a seemingly ordinary woman whose life is marked by death and loss from the beginning, when her mother dies during childbirth...

    )
  • the National Book Critics Circle
    National Book Critics Circle
    The National Book Critics Circle is an American tax-exempt organization for active book reviewers. Its flagship is the National Book Critics Circle Award....

     Award (The Stone Diaries
    The Stone Diaries
    The Stone Diaries is a 1993 award-winning novel by Carol Shields.It is the fictional autobiography about the life of Daisy Goodwill Flett, a seemingly ordinary woman whose life is marked by death and loss from the beginning, when her mother dies during childbirth...

    )
  • the Pulitzer Prize
    Pulitzer Prize
    The Pulitzer Prize is a U.S. award for achievements in newspaper and online journalism, literature and musical composition. It was established by American publisher Joseph Pulitzer and is administered by Columbia University in New York City...

     (The Stone Diaries
    The Stone Diaries
    The Stone Diaries is a 1993 award-winning novel by Carol Shields.It is the fictional autobiography about the life of Daisy Goodwill Flett, a seemingly ordinary woman whose life is marked by death and loss from the beginning, when her mother dies during childbirth...

    )
  • the Orange Prize (Larry's Party
    Larry's Party
    Larry's Party is a 1997 novel by Carol Shields.The novel examined the life of Larry Weller, an "ordinary man made extraordinary" by his unique talent for creating labyrinths...

    )
  • the Charles Taylor Prize
    Charles Taylor Prize
    The Charles Taylor Prize is a Canadian literary award, presented by the Charles Taylor Foundation to the best Canadian work of literary non-fiction. It is named for Charles Taylor, a noted Canadian historian and writer....

     for Literary Non-Fiction (Jane Austen)
  • nominations for the Giller Prize (Larry's Party
    Larry's Party
    Larry's Party is a 1997 novel by Carol Shields.The novel examined the life of Larry Weller, an "ordinary man made extraordinary" by his unique talent for creating labyrinths...

     and Unless
    Unless
    Unless, first published by Fourth Estate, an imprint of Harper Collins in 2002, is the final novel by Canadian writer Carol Shields. Semi-autobiographical, it was the capstone to Shields's writing career: she died shortly after its publication in 2003...

    )

Novels

  • Small Ceremonies, 1976
  • The Box Garden, 1977 (Later published in a joint edition with Small Ceremonies as Duet)
  • Happenstance, 1980
  • A Fairly Conventional Woman, 1982
  • Swann: A Mystery
    Swann: A Mystery
    Swann: A Mystery is a novel by the late Carol Shields which details the impact of an obscure Canadian poet, Mary Swann, upon four individuals: a feminist literary critic, the poet's biographer, a small-town librarian, and a crusty, brilliant newspaper editor...

    , 1987 (UK title: Mary Swann)
  • A Celibate Season, 1991 (with Blanche Howard)
  • The Republic of Love
    The Republic of Love
    The Republic of Love is a 2003 Canada/United Kingdom romantic comedy film drama directed by Deepa Mehta. It is based on the novel of the same name by Carol Shields and starring Bruce Greenwood and Emilia Fox. It premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival in 2003...

    , 1992
  • The Stone Diaries
    The Stone Diaries
    The Stone Diaries is a 1993 award-winning novel by Carol Shields.It is the fictional autobiography about the life of Daisy Goodwill Flett, a seemingly ordinary woman whose life is marked by death and loss from the beginning, when her mother dies during childbirth...

    , 1993 (winner of the Governor General's Award
    Governor General's Award
    The Governor General's Awards are a collection of awards presented by the Governor General of Canada, marking distinction in a number of academic, artistic and social fields. The first was conceived in 1937 by Lord Tweedsmuir, a prolific author of fiction and non-fiction who created the Governor...

    , National Book Critics Circle Award
    National Book Critics Circle Award
    The National Book Critics Circle Award is an annual award given by the National Book Critics Circle to promote the finest books and reviews published in English....

    , and the Pulitzer Prize
    Pulitzer Prize
    The Pulitzer Prize is a U.S. award for achievements in newspaper and online journalism, literature and musical composition. It was established by American publisher Joseph Pulitzer and is administered by Columbia University in New York City...

    )
  • Larry's Party
    Larry's Party
    Larry's Party is a 1997 novel by Carol Shields.The novel examined the life of Larry Weller, an "ordinary man made extraordinary" by his unique talent for creating labyrinths...

    , 1997 (winner of the Orange Prize, and the Prix de Livre)
  • Unless
    Unless
    Unless, first published by Fourth Estate, an imprint of Harper Collins in 2002, is the final novel by Canadian writer Carol Shields. Semi-autobiographical, it was the capstone to Shields's writing career: she died shortly after its publication in 2003...

    , 2002 (winner of the Ethel Wilson Fiction Prize
    Ethel Wilson Fiction Prize
    The Ethel Wilson Fiction Prize, established in 1985 as one of the BC Book Prizes, is awarded annually to the best work of fiction by a resident of British Columbia, Canada....

    , shortlisted for the 2003 Orange Prize)

Short stories

  • Various Miracles, 1985
  • The Orange Fish, 1989
  • Dressing Up for the Carnival
    Dressing Up for the Carnival
    Dressing Up for the Carnival is a short story collection published in 2000 by Canadian author Carol Shields, which depicts 12 characters who live their lives through illusions. The Carnival is a metaphor for life, and "dressing up" represents the stigmas each of the characters try to fit...

    , 2000
  • Collected Stories. Toronto: Random House, 2004.

Poetry

  • Others. Ottawa: Borealis Press, 1972.
  • Intersect. Ottawa: Borealis Press, 1974.
  • Coming to Canada. Ottawa: Carleton University Press, 1992.

Plays

  • Departures and Arrivals, 1990
  • Thirteen Hands, 1993
  • Fashion Power Guilt and the Charity of Families, 1995 (with Catherine Shields)
  • Anniversary: A Comedy, 1998 (with Dave Williamson)
  • Women Waiting
  • 'Thirteen Hands and Other Plays. Toronto: Vintage, 2002.

Anthologies

  • Dropped Threads: What We aren't Told. Toronto: Vintage, 2001. (edited with Marjorie Anderson)
  • Dropped Threads 2: More of What We aren't Told. Toronto: Vintage, 2003. (edited with Marjorie Anderson)

External links