One of Canada's most beloved and prolific literary figures, Carol Shields
influenced a generation of writers both in this country and abroad. She wrote her first novel, Small Ceremonies
, in 1976; over the following three decades, she went on to publish more than 20 other books in an array of genres, including fiction, poetry, plays and criticism.
As a novelist, Shields won numerous literary prizes, including the Governor General's Award
, the Pulitzer Prize (both for The Stone Diaries
), the Orange Prize (for Larry's Party
) and the Ethel Wilson Fiction Prize (for Unless
). In addition, she won the Writers' Trust Charles Taylor Prize for non-fiction for her biography of Jane Austen.
Shields was born in Oak Park, Illinois. She moved to Canada at the age of 22, where she spent most of her life. An accomplished academic as well as a successful writer, Shields taught at the University of Ottawa, the University of British Columbia and the University of Manitoba. In 1996, she became chancellor of the University of Winnipeg.
The Canadian Booksellers Association hailed her as Author of the Year in 2003, in honour of her final novel, Unless. That same year, at the age of 68, Shields passed away from complications associated with breast cancer.