Shillue, Edith 1963-

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Shillue, Edith 1963-


Born July 13, 1963, in Boston, MA; daughter of Brian (a lawyer) and Edith (a homemaker) Shillue. Ethnicity: "Irish-American." Education: University of Massachusetts at Boston, B.A., 1987, M.A. (English literature), 1987, M.A. (applied linguistics and teaching English as a foreign language), 1997; Queen's University of Belfast, Ph.D., 2005.


Home—Belfast, Ireland, and Boston, MA. Agent—Ellen Geiger, Curtis Brown Ltd., 10 Astor Pl., New York, NY 10003. E-mail—[email protected]


Writer and educator. Shanghai Institute of Education, Shanghai, China, instructor in English, 1990; University of Ho Chi Minh City, Saigon, Vietnam, instructor in English, 1993; College of the Holy Cross, Worcester, MA, teacher at Center for Interdisciplinary Studies, 1998-99; University of Massachusetts at Boston, faculty member, 1996-2001; Queen's University of Belfast, Belfast, Ireland, instructor in literature, 2005—. Volunteer teacher abroad; conference presenter.


Earth and Water: Encounters in Viet Nam (travel memoir), University of Massachusetts Press (Amherst, MA), 1996.

Peace Comes Dropping Slow: Conversations in Northern Ireland (travel memoir), University of Massachusetts Press (Amherst, MA), 2003.

Contributor to books, including Exploring Literacy, edited by Eleanor Kutz, Longman (New York, NY), 2004. Contributor of articles to journals, including Massachusetts Review, New England Journal of Public Policy, Etudes Irlandaises, Destination Viet Nam, and Association for the Study of New English Literatures.


Edith Shillue told CA: "My current interest is to compose a historical novel that explores the lives of women immigrants to the United States in the early twentieth century. The writing and research now are focused on the multilingual environment of workplace and home, with special attention paid to the concept of a ‘mother tongue.’ Current research is an academic exploration of colonial representations in domestic and foreign contexts. My primary interest is in language use and language learning."

Shillue later told CA: "I don't remember a time when I wasn't interested in writing! In fact, it goes hand in hand with my interest in reading. Because of the ways writing brings to life something (or someone) still and distant, I feel a special comfort and freedom in reading. I want to write because I feel a drive to capture vision and experience in words. What influences my work most—what acts as a catalyst to most of my work—is the spoken word, the language of daily life and the desire of human beings to connect through language.

"My writing process begins with expansive and loose sketching and is followed by dialogue with readers and other writers and is finished by a rigorous and difficult revision and editing process. I am most often seeking to capture spoken language, but often feel challenged by the confines of print.

"As a writer, the most surprising thing I've learned is that while literature often aspires to the condition and effect of music, it can rarely attain it.

"I don't have a favorite among my writings. The experience of each project is a special sort of memory for me that is rarely apparent in the texts themselves. Sometimes I think that I write purely for the experience of the writing and not for the final text!"



Shillue, Edith, Earth and Water: Encounters in Viet Nam, University of Massachusetts Press (Amherst, MA), 1996.

Shillue, Edith, Peace Comes Dropping Slow: Conversations in Northern Ireland, University of Massachusetts Press (Amherst, MA), 2003.