Blanche Howard


A memoir of friendship

“The letters between these two women are poignant and understated in their unflinching honesty. . . .   a significant achievement and a landmark book”
Globe and Mail

“[A] dialogue of grace and generosity...It is also surprisingly gripping, propelled by suspense”
Quill & Quire

Penguin Canada 2007

A Memoir of Friendship

A thirty year dialogue on love and literature between Carol Shields and Blanche Howard

For 30 years, the popular, award-winning author Carol Shields exchanged letters with her close friend and occasional collaborator, author Blanche Howard.

Their correspondence spanning the years 1975 to 2003 was halted when Carol Shields died of cancer. It was a momentous era in women’s history and it was a dramatic period for them. Carol, a young mother of five, married to an engineering professor, took her place on the world literary stage, when her fiction garnered Booker Prize nominations and won the coveted US Pulitzer Prize.

Blanche Howard, 12 years older than Carol, married to a politician, was a mother, and herself a published, acclaimed author. They discussed the craft of writing, their families, other writers, their disappointments, and the details of their daily lives. 

The letters place their strong, intelligent voices on the page. But Blanche Howard provides context and chronology in descriptive linking passages and journal entries. The result is a rich and intimate portrait of a celebrated author, a deep friendship between two women, their ambitions, and their history.

The foreword is by Anne Giardini, a writer and daughter of Carol Shields

The editors are Blanche Howard and Allison Howard. Some photos included. Blanche Howard’s books include A Celibate Season  a novel co-authored with Carol Shields, and her acclaimed novel Penelope’s Way. Carol Shields is the author of  the Pulitzer prize winning novel The Stone Diaries, Larry’s Party, and Unless.