SFU Chancellor Anne Giardini is the author of two novels, and the daughter of celebrated Canadian author Carol Shields.

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SFU chancellor illuminates Carol Shields’ writing advice

May 13, 2016
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SFU Chancellor Anne Giardini, together with her son Nicholas, has just published a book of writing advice from her mother, the late Canadian author Carol Shields.

Titled Startle and Illuminate: Carol Shields on Writing, the book pays homage to Shields’ extraordinary literary career by sharing her advice and observations about the art and craft of writing, all culled from a lifetime of essays, speeches and correspondence.

Considered one of Canada’s most distinguished writers, Shields wrote 10 novels and three collections of short stories, as well as plays and poetry before her death in 2003 at age 68. She is best known for her novel, The Stone Diaries, which won the 1993 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction, the Governor-General’s award, and the National Book prize.

Anne and Nicholas wrote introductions for Startle and Illuminate, while novelist and poet Jane Urquhart provided a foreword. The remainder of the book comprises Shields own words addressing some of the most fundamental questions about writing, such as why we write, what keeps a reader turning the pages, and how a writer knows when a work is done.

"She had ideas for every writer, from starting to advanced," says Anne, who has authored two of her own novels.

"It turns out that advice about writing is also advice about life. This book reminds us that we each have a story, and helps make sure we can share what we have to say with art and purpose".