January 14, 1999
To the American public, Shields is perhaps best known as a novelist and writer of short fiction (her story, "The Next Best Kiss," appears in the January Atlantic), but to her fellow Canadians she also has a reputation as a playwright, a poet, a critic, and a teacher. Her plays include Departures and Arrivals (1988) and Thirteen Hands (1993); her poetry collections include Others (1972) and Intersect (1974); and her numerous novels and short-story collections include The Republic of Love (1992), The Orange Fish (1989), The Box Garden (1977), and Small Ceremonies (1976). She has garnered copious literary prizes during her career. A native of Oak Park, Illinois, Shields moved to Canada forty years ago, studying and then teaching at the University of Ottawa, the University of British Columbia, and the University of Manitoba. In 1996 Shields was named Chancellor of the University of Winnipeg. The mother of five grown children, she currently lives with her husband in Manitoba.
Shields spoke recently with Atlantic Unbound's Katie Bolick.