Carol Shields was born in Oak Park, Illinois, in 1935, and moved to Canada in 1957 to attend university. She was the author of more than twenty books, including novels, plays, poetry, essays, criticism, short fiction and biography. 

Her books were nominated, and won, numerous international prizes. Most notably, her novel The Stone Diaries won the Governor General’s Award for Fiction (Canada), the Pulitzer Prize (US), and was shortlisted for the Booker Prize (UK). In 1997, her novel Larry’s Party won the Orange Prize (now called the Baileys Women’s Prize for Fiction), which is given to the best book by a woman writer in the English-speaking world.

She edited, along with Marjorie Anderson, two highly successful anthologies of essays by women called Dropped Threads, in which women were encouraged to write about private and personal experiences that they hadn’t shared with others before. 

In addition to her career as an author, Shields worked as an academic, teaching 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. She raised five children with her husband, Don, and died from complications of breast cancer in Victoria, B.C., in 2003, at the age of sixty-eight.