Carol Shields

From Academic Kids

Carol Shields (June 2, 1935July 16, 2003) was an American-born Canadian author.

Born Carol Ann Warner in Oak Park, Illinois, she studied at Hanover College, the University of Exeter in England, and the University of Ottawa, where she received an M.A.

In 1956 while on a college exchange visit to Britain she met a Canadian engineering student, Donald Hugh Shields, in Scotland. The couple married in 1957 and moved to Canada, where they had five children and Carol became a Canadian citizen. Donald, who became a professor of civil engineering, is reported to have said of their meeting and their long and happy marriage, "In engineering, once you've found a woman, that's it. The job's over".

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. After that, she taught in the University of British Columbia and traveled around the country. In 1980 she finally settled in Winnipeg, Manitoba. There, she became Professor of English at the University of Manitoba. In 1996 she became Chancellor of the University of Winnipeg. In 2000 Shields and her husband moved to Victoria, British Columbia, where she died of cancer at age 68.

Shields is the author of several novels and short-story collections, including The Orange Fish, Swann (published in the United Kingdom as Mary Swann), Various Miracles, Happenstance, and The Republic of Love. Her books have won a Canada Council Major Award, two National Magazine Awards, the 1990 Marian Engel Award, the Canadian Author's Award, and a CBC short story award. She was appointed as an Officer of the Order of Canada in 1998 and was elevated to Companion of the Order in 2002. Shields was also a Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada and a member of the Order of Manitoba.

The Stone Diaries won the 1995 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction and Canada's Governor General's Award, the only book ever to win both awards. It was nominated for the National Book Critics Circle Award and the 1993 Booker Prize, and was also named one of the best books of the year by Publishers Weekly and a "Notable Book" by The New York Times Book Review. She won the 1998 Orange Prize for Fiction for the novel Larry's Party.

Her last novel, Unless, was nominated for the 2002 Giller Prize, the Governor General's Award, the Booker Prize and the 2003 Orange Prize for Fiction. She also wrote a biography of Jane Austen.

Shields was noted for her gentle, witty yet penetrating insights into human nature. Her most famous works examined the lives of regular people, depicting a profound and universal humanity in even the most ordinary moments of her characters' lives.



  • Thirteen Hands
  • Departures and Arrivals
  • Fashion Power Guilt (with Catherine Shields)
  • Not Another Anniversary (with David Williamson)
  • Women Waiting

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