novelist and poet, born in Oak Park, Illinois, she studied at Hanover College and the University of Ottawa. She lived in Canada from 1957. None of her novels was published in the UK until 1990, when Mary Swann established her as a major writer. This was followed by Happenstance (1991) and the epistolary novel A Celibate Season (1991, co‐authored with Blanche Howard). The Republic of Love (1992) was her only novel set in her home town of Winnipeg. The Box Garden (1977) appeared in Britain in 1995; through the novel's correspondence between Charleen Forrest and a mysterious, religious figure, the alluring Brother Adam, Shields's talent for investing the small and insignificant with a passionate reality appears at its most poignant, and is evident in her highly acclaimed The Stone Diaries (1993, Pulitzer Prize), a fictional autobiography of one woman from traumatic birth in Manitoba in 1905 to old age in a Florida nursing home. Larry's Party (1998), which charts the journey of Larry towards a dramatic dinner party, and Unless (2002), were written in Shields's characteristically restrained and witty style. Her poetry, including Coming to Canada (1992), like her novels, focuses on the ‘small ceremonies’ of life.