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LIVE from the NYPL: Carol Shields The Stone Diaries: A 15th Anniversary Celebration

November 13, 2008

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"...Memory gets smoothed down with time, everything flattened by the iron of acceptance and rejection."

"The recounting of life is a cheat, of course; I admit the truth of this; even our own stories are obscenely distorted; it is a wonder really that we keep faith with the simple container of our existence."

----Carol Shields

The Stone Diaries

The Stone Diaries is Carol Shields' most celebrated work and is the poignant story of Daisy Goodwill Flett, a woman who struggles to understand the contradictions that make up her life. This fictional biography spans over a century and begins with Daisy entering the world as her mother takes her last breath. As narrator, Daisy shows us a bird's eye view of her journey from her motherless childhood through a maze of self development and yearning for identity, two marriages, children, an unexpected career as columnist, later decline into illness and finally old age as Daisy sustains her last years in infirmity.

The richness of Daisy?s vividly described internal life transforms this seemingly ordinary tale. Carol Shields displays her compassion, insight and honest humor through a subtle, but affecting portrait of an everywoman reflecting on an unconventional existence. No life, however seemingly small, is without significance.

About Carol Shields

Carol Shields (1935-2003) was an American-born Canadian and the author of numerous novels and short story collections. The Stone Diaries won the Pulitzer Prize for fiction in 1995, the National Book Critics Circle Award, and Canada?s Governor General?s Award. Her other novels and short story collections include The Republic of Love, Happenstance, Swann, The Orange Fish, Various Miracles, The Box Garden, and Small Ceremonies. She is the recipient of a Canada Council Major Award, two National Magazine Awards, The Orange Prize for Fiction (1997, 2003), and the 1993 Booker Prize. Carol Shields died in 2003 from breast cancer.


About Sara Botsford

Sara Botsford is a Canadian actress. She is probably best known for her role of Ann Hildebrand in the television series E.N.G.. In 2002 Sara portrayed Kathleen Sinclair in the TV movie Trudeau about the life of the late Prime Minister Pierre Elliott Trudeau.

About Anne Giardini

Anne Giardini has written and published essays, stories, and articles on many topics and was a columnist for the National Post, one of Canada's national newspapers. Her first novel was The Sad Truth About Happiness. Advice for Italian Boys is scheduled for publication in early 2009. Anne Giardini is the daughter of Carol Shields and lives in Vancouver with her husband and three children.

About Martin Levin

Martin Levin is the books editor of The Globe and Mail in Toronto, Canada's largest weekly books section. He is also a contributor to a number of anthologies, most recently Great Expectations: Twenty-Four True Stories about Childbirth.

About Sarah McNally

Sarah McNally owns and operates McNally Jackson Books in downtown Manhattan, the largest general independent in New York City. She worked as an editor before opening her store in 2004. McNally is a native of Winnipeg, Canada, Carol Shields' home town, where her parents and sister are booksellers. She now lives in Brooklyn with her husband and son.

About Shelagh Rogers

Shelagh Rogers is a Canadian radio host for The Next Chapter on CBC Radio One, a weekly tour into the world of Canadian literature. Rogers is an advocate for mental health and received a Transforming Lives Award in May 2008. For over twenty two years, she has volunteered for Frontier College, Canada's largest literacy network and she hosts an annual Bonspiel for Literacy. Shelagh Rogers lives in Vancouver.

About Donald Shields

Don Shields has a Ph.D. in civil engineering and served as Dean of Engineering at The University of Manitoba. In 1957 he married Carol Warner and they had five children; John, Anne, Catherine, Meg and Sara. The couple was married for 46 years and lived in Canada until Carol Shields' death in 2003. Don Shields now lives in New York, Victoria, and France with Arlette Baker.

About David Staines

David Staines is an authority on medieval literature and culture and studies and writes about Canadian literature and culture. He is the author and editor of more than fifteen books and is currently Interim Director of the Institute of Canadian Studies at the University of Ottawa. Staines wrote the introduction to Carol Shields? holdings at the National Library of Canada.

About Jane Urquhart

Jane Urquhart has published poetry, I'm Walking in the Garden of His Imaginary Palace, False Shuffles, and The Little Flowers of Madame de Montespan; novels, The Whirlpool, Changing Heaven, Away, and The Underpainter; and a collection of short fiction, Storm Glass. Her fifth novel, The Stonecarvers was shortlisted for the Giller prize. The author lives in a Southwestern Ontario village with her husband.

About Meg Wolitzer

Meg Wolitzer is the author of eight novels, including The Ten-Year Nap, The Wife, and The Position. Wolitzer?s short fiction has appeared in The Best American Short Stories, and she has taught writing at The University of Iowa Writer's Workshop and Columbia University. She lives in New York with her husband and sons.