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Shields taught at the U of M from 1980 until 1999.

UM’s literary giant lends her legacy to major new award

The Carol Shields Prize for Fiction will recognize excellence by North American female and non-binary writers

A new literary award worth CAD$150,000 will bear the celebrated author’s name. Celebrating “excellence in fiction” and open to all North American female and non-binary writers, the Carol Shields Prize for Fiction will launch in 2022.

Carol Shields joined University of Manitoba’s department of English in 1980 and taught students here until her retirement in 1999. It was during that time that she wrote the majority of her novels. The Stone Diaries won the 1993 Governor General’s Award and the 1995 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction, the only book ever to have received both awards. In January 2003, Shields was recognized by the U of M with an honorary Doctor of Letters degree; her legacy was honoured in 2016 with a commemorative bust on UM’s Innovation Plaza.

Alison Calder, acting head of English, theatre, film & media in the Faculty of Arts, calls the prize announcement “an exciting development” for North American women and non-binary writers. “And it’s very appropriate that it should be named after Carol Shields, whose own writing celebrates the often unrecognized lives of women,” she says.

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