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Shimmering with her unique style, sense, humour, vision and wit, Startle and Illuminate is a book of advice and reflections on writing by Pulitzer Prize-winning author Carol Shields that is destined to become as valued and essential as Stephen King's On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft and Anne Lamott's Bird by Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and Life. An essential work from one of Canada's finest writers, Startle and Illuminate stands as a reflection of Carol Shields' devotion to the writer's craft. Drawn together by her daughter and grandson from decades of correspondence with other writers, essays, notes, comments, criticism and lectures, Startle and Illuminate helps answer some of the most fundamental questions about the craft: Why do we write at all? Can writing be taught? What keeps a reader turning the pages? How is a writer to know when a work is done? In her own words, Shields reveals her thoughts on why we read, and more importantly, why we write: for the joy of the making, to reimagine our world, to discover patterns and uncover forms that echo our realities as well as interrogate them.