Born Carol Ann Warner on May 16, 1935 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. Don, 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".
Carol worked as an editorial assistant for the journal Canadian Slavonic Papers and as a professor at the University of Ottawa, and the University of British Columbia. She served as Chancellor and Professor at the University of Manitoba in Winnipeg, where she taught English for twenty years. In 2000 she and Don moved to Victoria, British Columbia, where she died of cancer at age 68.
Carol Shields is the author of several novels and short-story collections, including The Orange Fish, Swann (published in the UK 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 a Companion of the Order of Canada in 2002. Carol 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. 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 before she died.
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