Saturday, June 02, 2012

Remembering Carol

Pulitzer Prize-winning author Carol Shields was born on this day in 1935.

Though strongly identified as a Canadian author, Shields was born in Oak Park, Illinois. She moved to Canada in 1957 after marrying Donald Hugh Shields, a Canadian engineer. The couple had a son and four daughters and Shields later became a citizen of Canada.

Shields is best known as the author of The Stone Diaries (1993) for which she won the Pulitzer Prize, the Governor General’s Award and the National Book Award, a trifecta it is unlikely to ever be duplicated, due to the restrictions of birth and residence.

The Stone Diaries is the fictional autobiography of Daisy Goodwill Flett. Shields created parts of it in scrapbook style, adding authentic touches with photos she found in antique shops. Later books included the collection Dressing Up for the Carnival and the 2002 novel Unless which won the Ethel Wilson Fiction Prize, was shortlisted in for the Man/Booker Prize, the ScotiaBank Giller Award andthe Orange Prize for fiction.

“Open a book this minute and start reading,” begins one of the most oft-cited Carol Shields quotes. “Don’t move until you’ve reached page fifty. Until you’ve buried your thoughts in print. Cover yourself with words. Wash yourself away. Dissolve.”

Shields died in 2003 of breast cancer. She was 68.


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