Illinois State Library

Illinois Center for the Book

Individual Author Record

General Information

Name:  Carol Shields  

Pen Name: Carol Ann Shields


Audience: Adult;

Born: June 2, 1935 in Oak Park, Illinois

Died: July 16, 2003 in Victoria, British Columbia

-- Website --
-- Carol Shields on WorldCat --

Illinois Connection

Shields was born in Oak Park.

Biographical and Professional Information

Carol Shields was a novelist, short story writer, playwright and editor. She is best known for her 1993 novel ''The Stone Diaries'', which won the U.S. Pulitzer Prize for Fiction and the Governor General's Award in Canada. It is the only book to win both awards. She moved to Canada after marrying and later became a Canadian citizen. Shields taught at the University of Ottawa, the University of British Columbia, University of Manitoba and served as chancellor of the University of Winnipeg.

Published Works Expand for more information

Titles At Your Library

The Box Garden
ISBN: 0140251367

Penguin Books. 1996

From the Pulitzer Prize-winning author of The Stone Diaries. Charleen, a divorcee eking out a living as a poet and part-time assistant for an obscure scientific journal, returns home to attend her mother's wedding, and is caught up in a series of unexpected--and terrifying--events.

Happenstance: Two Novels in One About a Marriage in Transition
ISBN: 0140179518

Penguin Books. 1994

Portrays the changes in a marriage, involving new evaluations of friends, family, career associates, and particularly the partners themselves, when the loving wife goes away for a short time and the happily married husband has a mid-life crisis

The Orange Fish
ISBN: 0140152822

Penguin Books. 1992

In each of these twelve tales Carol Shields exhibits her extraordinary ability to find meaning and mystery in the chaos of ordinary life. In the title story, an unhappily married couple find their print of an orange fish brings them newfound harmony as they join other owner of the print who gather to extol the miraculous powers of “fishness.” “Chemistry” describes a group of young musicians drawn briefly into an impenetrable circle of love. And in “Hazel,” a middle-aged woman finally comes into her own as a sales rep for a line of kitchen products. The Orange Fish is a collection full of wit and compassion, a series of stories to be read and reread and savored.

The Republic of Love
ISBN: 0007166753

HarperPerennial. 2004

""The Republic of Love" marries a wide diversity of elements, mythical and modern, ironic and moving, exhilarating and melancholy! A love-surveying story that is enticingly seductive." - "Times Literary Supplement." It is now a major motion picture directed by Deepa Mehta and starring Bruce Greenwood, Emilia Fox, Edward Fox, Lloyd Owen and Claire Bloom. ""The Republic of Love" is a hymn to the pleasures and pains, the raptures even of an unspectacular life. Fay discovers that happiness is "a kind of by-product of existence, and not an end in itself". This piece of knowledge saves her, Shields suggests, from the watery, ambiguous yearning of the mermaid, "plaintive, coy", wordlessly calling out to no one. A simple message, but Shields delivers it with so much grace and so little pretension, that it is impossible not to be enchanted by her voice. She sings with the charm of a true siren. In her hands, we believe, anything can happen." - "Guardian."

Stone Diaries
ISBN: 0140238344

Penguin Putnam~trade. 1997

How can one define a life lived? If we had a chance to have our life story written, and then told through the eyes of those who were closest to us, what would they say about us, and more interestingly, how accurate would they be in truly understanding the inner nuances that make each of us tick? In "The Stone Diaries," Carol Shields attempts to chronicle the life of Daisy Goodwill. It is a life first told through the eyes of Daisy, and then through the eyes of those who presumably knew her best: her friends, children and relatives. What is extraordinary about this book, is that one can look at a life lived in so many ways. Was Daisy Goodwill's life uneventful, lacking the excitement and freedom of her more worldly friends? Or was it a full, rich life? Only the reader can make this determination. But what is fascinating about "The Stone Diaries" is how the determination of the value of Daisy's life is so different, depending on the perspective that is taken. How much do we really know those people who we love the most? How well do we really know each other? This is a fascinating read, particularly for women who are living their life in full

however unfascinating and uneventful that may seem. ---Amazon Reviews

A Celibate Season
ISBN: 0140275118

Penguin Books. 1999

For Jocelyn and Charles, the demands of family and career mean a ten-month separation, during which they decide to communicate with one another by writing letters. Each finds this intimate and exhilarating, as they are able to reveal things that would never be spoken aloud. Yet as the months pass, their letters depict two very distinct views of their time apart and of their marriage. As the separation begins to unravel the threads that bind their marriage together, we bear witness to the evolution and eventually the breakdown of communication. For their "season of celibacy," as they originally joked, is proving to be more of a challenge than either had ever imagined, one that tests the strength of their marriage and their commitment to one another.

Unless: A Novel

Harper Perennial. 2003

Forty-four-year-old Reta Winters, wife, mother, writer, and translator, is living a happy life until one of her three daughters drops out of university to sit on a downtown street corner silent and cross-legged with a begging bowl in her lap and a placard round her neck that says "Goodness."

The final book from Pulitzer Prize-winner Carol Shields, Unless is a candid and deeply moving novel from one of the twentieth century's most accomplished and beloved authors.