JUNE 2, 1935-JULY 16, 2003

By Margaret Atwood
December 26, 2003 at 05:00 AM EST

Farewell: Margaret Atwood pays tribute to Carol Shields

The extraordinariness of ordinary people was Carol’s forte. She began publishing in the 1970s, and her first breakthrough was The Republic of Love. But her glory book was The Stone Diaries, short-listed for the Booker Prize and winner of the Canadian Governor General’s Award and, in 1995, the Pulitzer Prize. Then Larry’s Party won Britain’s Orange Prize in 1998. Carol wore her newfound prominence with generosity. ”She was just a luminous person,” said her friend and fellow author Alice Munro, ”and that would be important and persist even if she hadn’t written anything.” Her final novel, Unless, was a hymn to the beauty and fragility of day-to-day life. Her voice — astute, compassionate, observant, and deeply human — will continue to speak to her many readers everywhere. (Shields died of breast cancer in Victoria, British Columbia.)