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Carol Shields on living with cancer

The Story


Carol Shields, the award-winning novelist of Larry's Party, Dressing Up for the Carnival and Unless was celebrated for her ability to write poetically about everyday occurrences. In 1998, Shields was diagnosed with breast cancer. In February 2000, she spoke candidly (as heard in this clip) to Writers & Company host Eleanor Wachtel about her illness and how it changed her writing.

Medium: Radio
Program: Writers & Company
Broadcast Date: Feb. 27, 2000
Guest: Carol Shields
Host: Eleanor Wachtel Duration: 9:18

Did You know?


• Carol Shields was born on June 2, 1935, in Oak Park, Ill., a well-to-do white suburb of Chicago. Another famous author, Ernest Hemingway, also grew up in Oak Park.
• She moved to Canada in 1957 after marrying Don Shields, a Canadian engineering professor.
• Her writing had strong connections to Manitoba. Shields raised five children and did most of her acclaimed work during her 20 years in Winnipeg.
• When Shields was 29, she won a CBC Young Writers Competition for her poetry.
• Her first novel, Small Ceremonies, was published when she was 40.
• Of all her books, Shields said her favourite was Swann. It's the story of four people whose lives become entwined around a murdered Canadian poet.
• It was Shields's 12th novel, The Stone Diaries, that catapulted her into the international literary limelight.
The Stone Diaries chronicles the life of Daisy Goodwill, born in 1905 in Manitoba.
• It won numerous awards including the Pulitzer Prize (1995) and the Governor General's award (1993), and was shortlisted for the National Book Critics Circle Award (1993) and the Booker Prize (1993).
The Stone Dairies was originally called "Monument."
• Shields's last novel, Unless, was shortlisted for the Giller Prize and the Booker Prize (2002).
• Carol Shields died on July 16, 2003, in Victoria, B.C. She was 68.


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