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Her stories have been anthologized in The Best American Short Stories in 1994, 1998, and 2012. She acquired her MFA at Vermont College of Fine Arts (1992). She has won a National Book Critics Circle Citation for Excellence in Reviewing, an NEA Grant, an Illinois Arts Council Fellowship, a Carl Sandburg Award, a Ferro-Grumley Award and Society of Midland Authors Award.
Anshaw teaches in the MFA in Writing program at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago.
She is also a painter. "Walking Through Leaves, her painted biography of the novelist and poet, Vita Sackville-West was shown in November 2013 at Rockford University, Rockford, IL.
When Anshaw was growing up, her family divided its time between Michigan, where her father was a contractor, and Ft Lauderdale, Florida. In 1968 she moved to Chicago, marrying Charles J. White III in 1969 (they were divorced in 1985). Since 1996, Anshaw has been in a relationship with photographer and videographer Jessie Ewing. They were married on May 25, 2014.  The two divide their time between Chicago and Amsterdam.
- Aquamarine (1992)
- Seven Moves (1996)
- Lucky in the Corner (2002)
- Carry the One (2012)
- One Woman - Three Lives. Chicago Tribune; Feb 2, 1992
- "Carol Anshaw & Jessie Ewing ". Chicago Gay History. Retrieved 2012-09-25.