Shirley Camia was born in Winnipeg, Manitoba and raised in a community defined largely by blue collar Portuguese and Filipino immigrants.
Raised in a strict Filipino Catholic household, Shirley found her freedom in books. She devoured everything from the savvy sophistication of Dr. Seuss to the unemotional texts of an encyclopedia set (she made it to the letter P). An only child, books quickly became her company and comfort. Her unspoken love for the artistry and the touch of the pages lay the foundation for a long-held dream of one day becoming a writer.
Shirley’s ambitions were first realized at the age of six, when she began crafting short stories accompanied by rudimentary illustrations. One of her favourite first works, now long gone, features her rough sketches of the dinosaur kingdom.
Her palpable enthusiasm eventually led to an invitation to an author’s conference a few years later. She has been writing ever since, now splitting her time between frantically typing out radio scripts and creating, and constantly reworking, her own verbal images that result in tightly bound pieces of poetry.
Her first published work is the culmination of her dogged childhood determination, interactions with the everyday and the support of talented poets who believed in her imagination.
In her other existence, Shirley is a broadcast journalist. She has covered stories of local, national and international interest to Canadians for CBC Radio in Winnipeg, Toronto, Iqaluit and central Newfoundland.