"Birds are everywhere here on the Carolina coast. Pelicans skim the blue-bellied rollers, bank for advantage, plummet and rise. Sanderlings and stilts drill for morsels in the sand while egrets stalk the marshes. Birds are everywhere. They are hungry, and they come to dine on the veranda of this inn on the beach. Flocks of gulls hang heavy-bodied over the tables long enough to check for an unguarded bit of fish or bread or meat, and the bold ones find the thing they all want."
From the "A Question of Corvids"
by Sheila Webster Boneham
winner of the Press 53 Creative Nonfiction contest,
reprinted in 2015 Best American Science and Nature Writing,
ed. Rebecca Skloot
Sheila Webster Boneham writes fiction, nonfiction, and poetry, often about animals, environment, and culture in the anthropological sense. Sheila believes that good writing is good writing, no matter where it is shelved in the bookstore, and she has written for academic, literary, and commercial markets.
Sheila's work has earned her a 2015-16 North Carolina Arts Council fellowship, the 2014 Prime Number Magazine Award for Creative Nonfiction and, between1998 and 2014, six Maxwell and MUSE awards for fiction and nonfiction. Her first novel, Drop Dead on Recall, was named a 2011 Top Ten Dog Book by NBC Petside, the only fiction book on the list. Shepherd's Crook, the fourth novel in the series and Sheila's 21st book, was released in 2015,
Sheila's essays and poems have appeared in the 2015 Best American Science and Nature Writing, Red Earth Review, The Written River Journal of Eco-poetics, The Wayfarer, Minerva Rising, and elsewhere.
A recovering academic, Sheila has taught writing, literature, and folklore at universities in the U.S. and abroad; her earliest publications were academic papers on traditional arts and gender in North Africa and the Middle East. She holds a Ph.D. in folklore from Indiana University and MFA in creative writing from the University of Southern Maine.
Currently, in addition to writing, Sheila teaches occasional workshops and classes for writers at all levels, and offers individual mentoring for a select few writers.
Animals have always been part of Sheila's life. In her teens and twenties she showed horses, and later she was active showing her Australian Shepherds and Labrador Retrievers in various canine sports. She has also bred top-winning Aussies, founded rescue groups for Aussies and Labs, and owned dogs of all kinds, big and small, purebred and mixed. Cats, too, have been beloved friends throughout Sheila's life.
Sheila and her husband and dogs have enjoyed getting to know different parts of the U.S. over the past few years. They currently live in northern Indiana. When she isn’t writing, Sheila can be found teaching, taking long walks with or without her camera, painting, gardening, and playing with animals.