Book reviews, Pullitzer, Booker, Costa and Children's Book reviews
Book reviews, Pullitzer, Booker, Costa and Children's Book reviews
Prize Winning Fiction
Prize Winning Fiction

1995 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction Winner

The Stone Diaries by Carol Shields


Publisher: 4th Estate

Length: 361 pages

About: Autobiography: child, wife, mother & widow

Style: 1st person

Where: Canada and US (Florida)

When: 1905-1985



Publisher’s synopsis:

A story of the life Daisy Goodwill-Flett, a middle-class (by marriage) woman living in rural Canada and finally in Florida. The story unfolds in 1905 when Daisy is born with her Mother dying in childbirth and ends in 1985 when she dies, a widow, in Florida. Daisy is an average woman who marries and has children and becomes a gardening columnist for a newspaper which is her true passion and achievement in life. The novel is disguised as an authentic story with photographs and a family tree contained within the book.




Is this what love is, he wonders, this substance that lies so pressingly between them, so neutral in color yet so palpable it need never be mentioned? Or is love something less, something slippery and odorless, a transparent gas riding through the world on the back of a breeze, or else -- and this is what he more and more believes -- just a word trying to remember another word.





It is a work of great but unconventional ambition which succeeds in almost all that it attempts, and for this it deserves not only high praise but the greater honour of being read.

Guardian, Clare Messud, 21st September 1993


Not so good:

The Stone Diaries is a great book. The only possible reason for dismissing it would be because you thought that people, in the end, didn't matter very much.

The Daily Telegraph, Claudia Fitzgerald, 11th July 2004


About the author

Shields was born in Oak Park, Illinois. She studied at Hanover College Indiana, where she became member of the Alpha Delta Pi sorority. A United Nations scholarship encouraged Shields to spend a junior year abroad 1955–1956 at the University of Exeter in England.


Later, Shields did post-graduate work at the University of Ottawa, where she received an MA in 1975.

In 1955, while on British Council sponsored study week in Scotland, she met a Canadian engineering student, Donald Hugh Shields. The couple married in 1957 and moved to Canada, where they had a son and four daughters. Shields later became a Canadian citizen.

In 1973, Shields became editorial assistant for the journal Canadian Slavonic Papers while living in Ottawa 1968–1978. In 1977, Shields was a sessional lecturer in the English Department at the University of Ottawa for a year. She later taught Creative Writing at the University of British Columbia while living in Vancouver 1978–80. In 1980, she and Don settled in Winnipeg, Manitoba, after Don was hired to teach in the University of Manitoba's Faculty of Engineering. Winnipeg was where she wrote her major books. From the fall of 1982 onward, Carol Shields taught in the English Department at the University of Manitoba, first as an Assistant Professor (1982–1992), then as an Associate Professor (1992–1995). Shields was made Full Professor of English in 1995, and, on retirement in 2000, she became Professor Emerita at the University of Manitoba..


In 1996, she became chancellor of the University of Winnipeg. In 2000, after Don's retirement, the couple moved to Victoria, British Columbia, where she died in 2003 of breast cancer at age 68.


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2016 Pulitzer Prize Winner

It's a massive day in arts and journalism because the 100th annual Pulitzer Prize winners were just announced, and there's a big surprise. 2015's best artistic and nonfiction writing across 21 categories were recognized during a ceremony Monday afternoon at Columbia University in New York City. The first Pulitzer Prize was awarded to Hebert Bayward Swope, a reporter for The New York World, in 1916. (And if you're as big a fan of Newsies as I am, that paper should ring a bell, but try to think of it more positively.)

The major prize for book nerds, the 2016 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction went to The Sympathizer by Viet Thanh Nguyen (Grove Press), a legitimate surprise, if you've been paying attention to the book nerd and industry buzz. The feeling around the prize in the last few months would have you putting all your hard-earned cash down on A Little Life by Hanya Yanagihara to take home the award, but that's why you should never gamble. Viet Thanh Nguyen is no less deserving, and moreover, it's his debut novel, which makes it such a wonderful win.

Extract from New York Times to view full article...

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