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Monday, June 4, 2018

Words Are Our Lives

“Words are our life. We are human because we use language. So I think we are less human when we use less language.” – Carol Shields

Born in the U.S. on this date in 1935, Carol Shields grew up in America but spent much of her adult life in Canada and eventually had dual citizenship.  She was a full-time writing professor, novelist, playwright and short story writer and won both the Pulitzer Prize and Canada’s equivalent, The Governor General’s Award for her novel The Stone Diaries.  She is the only writer to ever win both awards for the same book.   She died from cancer in 2003.

Shields short story collections, including Various Miracles and Dressing Up for the Carnival, also were much-honored and are part of the Collected Stories of Carol Shields published after her death.   Her nonfiction book on author Jane Austin also won several major awards.   And her plays, particularly "Departures and Arrivals" and "Thirteen Hands" have been performed countless times by amateur and professional theaters around the globe.

To see more of this remarkable woman’s thoughts and advice on writing, check out her son Nicholas’s recent book Startle and Illuminate.        While Shields was an advocate of using life experiences in writing, she noted,  “There are chapters in every life which are seldom read . . . and certainly not aloud.”

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