Swann: A Mystery

First edition

Swann: A Mystery is a novel by the late Carol Shields which details the impact of an obscure Canadian poet, Mary Swann, upon four individuals: a feminist literary critic, the poet's biographer, a small-town librarian, and a crusty, brilliant newspaper editor. The book is divided into five sections, the first four each centering on one of the characters, and the last detailing (in screenplay format) what happens when all congregate for a conference on Swann.

First published by Stoddart Publishing in 1987, the novel was inspired by the 1975 murder of Canadian poet Pat Lowther.[1]

Film, TV or theatrical adaptationsEdit

The novel served as the basis of a 1996 feature film, Swann, directed by Anna Benson Gyles and starring Miranda Richardson, Brenda Fricker, Sean McCann, Michael Ontkean and John Neville. Written by David Young, it was nominated for five Genie Awards.[2]


  1. ^ David Staines (2 December 2014). The Worlds of Carol Shields. University of Ottawa Press. p. 79. ISBN 978-0-7766-2185-2.
  2. ^ IMDb - Swann - Awards and Nominations