Charles J. Shields is an American biographer of Mid-Century American novelists.
In 1997, Shields left a career in education to write independently. Over the course of the next six years, he published 20 histories and biographies for young people. His first biography for adults, Mockingbird: A Portrait of Harper Lee (Holt, 2006) went on to become a New York Times bestseller. "This biography will not disappoint those who loved the novel and the feisty, independent, fiercely loyal Scout, in whom Harper Lee put so much of herself," wrote Garrison Keillor in the New York Times Sunday Book Review. "As readable, convincing, and engrossing as Lee's literary wonder," said the Orlando Sentinel.
Two years later, Shields followed-up his biography of Lee with a young adult version: I Am Scout: The Biography of Harper Lee, which received awards from American Library Association Best Books for Young Adults; Bank Street Best Children's Book of the Year; Arizona Grand Canyon Young Readers Master List.
In 2009, with fellow biographers Nigel Hamilton, James McGrath Morris, and Debby Applegate, Shields co-founded Biographers International Organization (BIO), a non-profit organization founded to promote the art and craft of biography.
In November 2011, Shields published the first biography of Kurt Vonnegut, And So It Goes: Kurt Vonnegut, A Life (Holt), described as an "incisive, gossipy page-turner of a biography," by Janet Maslin and an "engrossing, definitive biography" by Publishers Weekly in a starred review. It was selected as a New York Times Notable Book, and Washington Post Notable Nonfiction Book for 2011.
In 2016, Lebowski Publisher in the Netherlands will publish John Williams: The Man Who Wrote the Perfect Novel. Williams is the author of Butcher's Crossing, Stoner, and Augustus, which won the 1972 National Book Award.