Margaret Atwood

Margaret Eleanor Atwood CC OOnt CH FRSC FRSL (born November 18, 1939) is a Canadian poet, novelist, literary critic, essayist, inventor, teacher and environmental activist. She has published seventeen books of poetry, sixteen novels, ten books of non-fiction, eight collections of short fiction, eight children's books, and one graphic novel, as well as a number of small press editions in poetry and fiction. Atwood and her writing have won numerous awards and honors including the Man Booker Prize, Arthur C. Clarke Award, Governor General's Award, Franz Kafka Prize, and the National Book Critics and PEN Center USA Lifetime Achievement Awards. Atwood is also the inventor and developer of the LongPen and associated technologies that facilitate the remote robotic writing of documents.

As a novelist and poet, Atwood's works encompass a variety of themes including the power of language, gender and identity, religion and myth, climate change, and "power politics."[2] Many of her poems are inspired by myths and fairy tales which interested her from a very early age.[3] Among her contributions to Canadian literature, Atwood is a founder of the Griffin Poetry Prize and Writers' Trust of Canada.

Margaret Atwood

Margaret Atwood at the 2011 Writers' Trust Gala
Margaret Atwood at the 2011 Writers' Trust Gala
BornMargaret Eleanor Atwood
18 November 1939 (age 79)
Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
EducationUniversity of Toronto (BA)
Harvard University (MA)
GenreHistorical fiction
Speculative fiction
Science fiction
Dystopian fiction
Notable worksThe Handmaid's Tale
Cat's Eye
Alias Grace
The Blind Assassin
Oryx and Crake
Jim Polk
(m. 1968; div. 1973)
PartnerGraeme Gibson

Margaret Atwood signature

Personal life and education

Atwood was born in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada, as the second of three children[4] of Carl Edmund Atwood, an entomologist[5] and Margaret Dorothy (née Killam), a former dietitian and nutritionist from Woodville, Nova Scotia.[6] Because of her father's ongoing research in forest entomology, Atwood spent much of her childhood in the backwoods of northern Quebec and travelling back and forth between Ottawa, Sault Ste. Marie, and Toronto. She did not attend school full-time until she was twelve years old. She became a voracious reader of literature, Dell pocketbook mysteries, Grimms' Fairy Tales, Canadian animal stories and comic books. She attended Leaside High School in Leaside, Toronto, and graduated in 1957.[7] Atwood began writing plays and poems at the age of six.[8]

Atwood realized she wanted to write professionally when she was sixteen.[9] In 1957, she began studying at Victoria College in the University of Toronto, where she published poems and articles in Acta Victoriana, the college literary journal, and participated in the sophomore theatrical tradition of The Bob Comedy Revue.[10] Her professors included Jay Macpherson and Northrop Frye. She graduated in 1961 with a Bachelor of Arts in English (honours) and minors in philosophy and French.[7]:54

In 1961 Atwood began graduate studies at Radcliffe College of Harvard University, with a Woodrow Wilson fellowship.[11] She obtained a master's degree (MA) from Radcliffe in 1962 and pursued doctoral studies for two years, but did not finish her dissertation, "The English Metaphysical Romance".[12]

In 1968, Atwood married Jim Polk, an American writer;[13] they divorced in 1973.[14] She formed a relationship with fellow novelist Graeme Gibson soon afterward and moved to a farm near Alliston, Ontario, where their daughter, Eleanor Jess Atwood Gibson, was born in 1976.[13] The family returned to Toronto in 1980.[15]

Although she is an accomplished writer, Margaret Atwood claims to be a terrible speller.[16]



Atwood's first book of poetry, Double Persephone, was published as a pamphlet by Hawskhead Press in 1961, winning the E.J. Pratt Medal.[17] While continuing to write, Atwood was a lecturer in English at the University of British Columbia, Vancouver, from 1964 to 1965, Instructor in English at the Sir George Williams University in Montreal from 1967 to 1968, and taught at the University of Alberta from 1969 to 1970.[18] In 1966, The Circle Game was published, winning the Governor General's Award.[19] This collection was followed by three other small press collections of poetry: Kaleidoscopes Baroque: a poem, Cranbrook Academy of Art (1965); Talismans for Children, Cranbrook Academy of Art (1965); and Speeches for Doctor Frankenstein, Cranbrook Academy of Art (1966); as well as, The Animals in That Country (1968). Atwood's first novel, The Edible Woman, was published in 1969. As a social satire of North American consumerism, many critics have often cited the novel as an early example of the feminist concerns found in many of Atwood's works.[20]


Atwood taught at York University in Toronto from 1971 to 1972 and was a writer-in-residence at the University of Toronto during the 1972/1973 academic year.[18] A prolific period for her poetry, Atwood published six collections over the course of the decade: The Journals of Susanna Moodie (1970), Procedures for Underground (1970), Power Politics (1971), You Are Happy (1974), Selected Poems 1965–1975 (1976), and Two-Headed Poems (1978). Atwood also published three novels during this time: Surfacing (1972); Lady Oracle (1976); and Life Before Man (1979), which was a finalist for the Governor General's Award.[19] Surfacing, Lady Oracle, and Life Before Man, like The Edible Woman, explore identity and social constructions of gender as they relate to topics such as nationhood and sexual politics.[21] In particular, Surfacing, along with her first non-fiction monograph, Survival: A Thematic Guide to Canadian Literature (1972), helped establish Atwood as an important and emerging voice in Canadian literature.[22] In 1977 Atwood published her first short story collection, Dancing Girls, which was the winner of the St. Lawrence Award for Fiction and the award of The Periodical Distributors of Canada for Short Fiction.[18]

By 1976 interest in Atwood, her works, and her life were high enough that Maclean's declared her to be "Canada's most gossiped-about writer."[23]


Atwood's literary reputation continued to rise in the 1980s with the publication of Bodily Harm (1981); The Handmaid's Tale (1985), winner of the Arthur C. Clarke Award[24] and 1985 Governor General's Award[19] and finalist for the 1986 Booker Prize;[25] and Cat's Eye (1988), finalist for both the 1988 Governor General's Award[19] and the 1989 Booker Prize.[26] Despite her distaste for literary labels, Atwood has since conceded to referring to The Handmaid's Tale as a work of science fiction or, more accurately, speculative fiction.[27][28] As she has repeatedly noted, "There's a precedent in real life for everything in the book. I decided not to put anything in that somebody somewhere hadn't already done."[29]

While reviewers and critics have been tempted to read autobiographical elements of Atwood's life in her work, particularly Cat's Eye,[30][31] in general Atwood resists the desire of critics to read too closely for an author's life in their writing.[32] Filmmaker Michael Rubbo's Margaret Atwood: Once in August (1984)[33] details the filmmaker's frustration in uncovering autobiographical evidence and inspiration in Atwood's works.[34]

During the 1980s, Atwood continued to teach, serving as the M.F.A. Honorary Chair the University of Alabama in Tuscaloosa,1985; the Berg Professor of English, New York University, 1986; Writer-In-Residence, Macquarie University, Australia, 1987; and Writer-In-Residence, Trinity University, San Antonio, Texas, 1989.[35] Regarding her stints with teaching, she has noted, "Success for me meant no longer having to teach at university."[36]


Atwood's reputation as a writer continued to grow with the publication of the novels The Robber Bride (1993), finalist for the 1994 Governor General's Award[19] and shortlisted for the James Tiptree, Jr. Award,[37] and Alias Grace (1996), winner of the 1996 Giller Prize, finalist for the 1996 Booker Prize,[38] finalist for the 1996 Governor General's Award,[19] and shortlisted for the 1997 Orange Prize for Fiction.[39] Although vastly different in context and form, both novels use female characters to question good and evil and morality through their portrayal of female villains. As Atwood noted about The Robber Bride, "I'm not making a case for evil behavior, but unless you have some women characters portrayed as evil characters, you're not playing with a full range."[40] The Robber Bride takes place in contemporary Toronto, while Alias Grace is a work of historical fiction detailing the 1843 murders of Thomas Kinnear and his housekeeper Nancy Montgomery. Atwood had previously written the 1974 CBC made-for-TV film The Servant Girl, about the life of Grace Marks, the young servant who, along with James McDermott, was convicted of the crime.[41]



In 2000 Atwood published her tenth novel, The Blind Assassin, to critical acclaim, winning both the Booker Prize[42] and the Hammett Prize[43] in 2000. The Blind Assassin was also nominated for the Governor General's Award in 2000,[19] Orange Prize for Fiction, and the International Dublin Literary Award in 2002.[44] In 2001, Atwood was inducted into Canada's Walk of Fame.[45] Atwood followed this success with the publication of Oryx and Crake in 2003, the first novel in a series that also includes The Year of the Flood (2009) and MaddAddam (2013), which would collectively come to be known as the MaddAddam Trilogy. The apocalyptic vision in the MaddAddam Trilogy engages themes of genetic modification, pharmaceutical and corporate control, and man-made disaster.[46] As a work of speculative fiction, Atwood notes of the technology in Oryx and Crake, "I think, for the first time in human history, we see where we might go. We can see far enough into the future to know that we can't go on the way we've been going forever without inventing, possibly, a lot of new and different things."[47] She later cautions in the acknowledgements to MaddAddam, "Although MaddAddam is a work of fiction, it does not include any technologies or bio-beings that do not already exist, are not under construction or are not possible in theory."[48]

In 2005 Atwood published the novella The Penelopiad as part of the Canongate Myth Series. The story is a re-telling of The Odyssey from the perspective of Penelope and a chorus of the twelve maids murdered at the end of the original tale. The Penelopiad was made into a theatrical production in 2007.[49]

In 2016 Atwood published the novel Hag-Seed, a modern-day re-telling of Shakespeare's The Tempest, as part of Penguin Random House's Hogarth Shakespeare Series.[50]

On November 28, 2018, Atwood announced that she will publish The Testaments, a sequel to The Handmaid's Tale, in September 2019.[51] The novel will feature three female narrators and takes place fifteen years after the character Offred's final scene in The Handmaid's Tale.


In 2008 Atwood published Payback: Debt and the Shadow Side of Wealth, a collection of five lectures delivered as part of the Massey Lectures from October 12 to November 1, 2008.The book was released in anticipation of the lectures, which were also recorded and broadcast on CBC Radio One's Ideas.[52]

Chamber opera

In March 2008, Atwood accepted her first chamber opera commission. Commissioned by City Opera of Vancouver, Pauline is set in Vancouver in March 1913 during the final days of the life of Canadian writer and performer Pauline Johnson.[53] Pauline, composed by Tobin Stokes with libretto by Atwood, premiered on May 23, 2014, at Vancouver's York Theatre.[54]

Graphic fiction

In 2016 Atwood began writing the superhero comic book series Angel Catbird, with co-creator and illustrator Johnnie Christmas. The series protagonist, scientist Strig Feleedus, is victim of an accidental mutation that leaves him with the body parts and powers of both a cat and a bird.[55] As with her other works, Atwood notes of the series, "The kind of speculative fiction about the future that I write is always based on things that are in process right now. So it's not that I imagine them, it's that I notice that people are working on them and I take it a few steps further down the road. So it doesn't come out of nowhere, it comes out of real life."[56]

Future Library project

With her novel Scribbler Moon, Atwood is the first contributor to the Future Library project.[57] The work, completed in 2015, was ceremoniously handed over to the project on 27 May of the same year.[58] The book will be held by the project until its eventual publishing in 2114. She thinks that readers will probably need a paleo-anthropologist to translate some parts of her story.[59] In an interview with the Guardian newspaper, Atwood said, "There's something magical about it. It's like Sleeping Beauty. The texts are going to slumber for 100 years and then they'll wake up, come to life again. It's a fairytale length of time. She slept for 100 years."[58]

Invention of the LongPen

In early 2004, while on the paperback tour in Denver for her novel Oryx and Crake, Atwood conceived the concept of a remote robotic writing technology, what would later be known as the LongPen, that would enable a person to remotely write in ink anywhere in the world via tablet PC and the Internet, thus allowing her to conduct her book tours without being physically present. She quickly founded a company, Unotchit Inc., to develop, produce and distribute this technology. By 2011, Unotchit Inc. shifted its market focus into business and legal transactions and was producing a range of products, for a variety of remote writing applications, based on the LongPen technologies and renamed itself to Syngrafii Inc. As of September 2014, Atwood is still Co-founder and a Director of Syngrafii Inc. and holder of various patents related to the LongPen technology.[60][61][62][63][64][65]

Recurring themes and cultural contexts

Theory of Canadian identity

Atwood's contributions to the theorizing of Canadian identity have garnered attention both in Canada and internationally. Her principal work of literary criticism, Survival: A Thematic Guide to Canadian Literature, is considered somewhat outdated, but remains a standard introduction to Canadian literature in Canadian Studies programs internationally.[66][67][68] The continued reprinting of Survival by Anansi Press has been criticized as a view-narrowing disservice to students of Canadian Literature by some critics, including Professor Joseph Pivato.[69]

In Survival, Atwood postulates that Canadian literature, and by extension Canadian identity, is characterized by the symbol of survival.[70] This symbol is expressed in the omnipresent use of "victim positions" in Canadian literature. These positions represent a scale of self-consciousness and self-actualization for the victim in the "victor/victim" relationship.[71] The "victor" in these scenarios may be other humans, nature, the wilderness or other external and internal factors which oppress the victim.[71] Atwood's Survival bears the influence of Northrop Frye's theory of garrison mentality; Atwood uses Frye's concept of Canada's desire to wall itself off from outside influence as a critical tool to analyze Canadian literature.[72] According to her theories in works such as Survival and her exploration of similar themes in her fiction, Atwood considers Canadian literature as the expression of Canadian identity. According to this literature, Canadian identity has been defined by a fear of nature, by settler history, and by unquestioned adherence to the community.[73]

Atwood's contribution to the theorizing of Canada is not limited to her non-fiction works. Several of her works, including The Journals of Susanna Moodie, Alias Grace, The Blind Assassin and Surfacing, are examples of what postmodern literary theorist Linda Hutcheon calls "Historiographic metafiction".[74] In such works, Atwood explicitly explores the relation of history and narrative and the processes of creating history.

Atwood continued her exploration of the implications of Canadian literary themes for Canadian identity in lectures such as Strange Things: The Malevolent North in Canadian Literature (1995).

Among her contributions to Canadian literature, Atwood is a founding trustee of the Griffin Poetry Prize,[75] as well as a founder of the Writers' Trust of Canada, a non-profit literary organization that seeks to encourage Canada's writing community.[76]


Atwood's work has been of interest to feminist literary critics, despite Atwood's unwillingness at times to apply the label feminist to her works.[77] Starting with the publication of her first novel, The Edible Woman, Atwood asserted, "I don't consider it feminism; I just consider it social realism."[78] Despite her rejection of the label at times, critics have analyzed the sexual politics, use of myth and fairytale, and gendered relationships in her work through the lens of feminism.[79] She later clarified her discomfort with the label feminism by stating, "I always want to know what people mean by that word [feminism]. Some people mean it quite negatively, other people mean it very positively, some people mean it in a broad sense, other people mean it in a more specific sense. Therefore, in order to answer the question, you have to ask the person what they mean."[80] Speaking to The Guardian, she said "For instance, some feminists have historically been against lipstick and letting transgender women into women’s washrooms. Those are not positions I have agreed with",[81] a position she repeated to The Irish Times.[82][83]

In January 2018 Atwood penned the op-ed "Am I A Bad Feminist?" for The Globe and Mail.[84] The piece was in response to social media backlash related to Atwood's signature on a 2016 petition calling for an independent investigation into the firing of Steven Galloway, a former University of British Columbia professor accused of sexual harassment and assault by a student.[85] While feminist critics denounced Atwood for her support of Galloway, Atwood asserts that her signature was in support of due process in the legal system. She has been criticized for her comments surrounding the #MeToo movement, particularly that it is a "symptom of a broken legal system."[86]

Speculative and science fiction

Atwood has resisted the suggestion that The Handmaid's Tale and Oryx and Crake are science fiction, suggesting to The Guardian in 2003 that they are speculative fiction instead: "Science fiction has monsters and spaceships; speculative fiction could really happen."[13] She told the Book of the Month Club: "Oryx and Crake is a speculative fiction, not a science fiction proper. It contains no intergalactic space travel, no teleportation, no Martians."[87] On BBC Breakfast, she explained that science fiction, as opposed to what she herself wrote, was "talking squids in outer space." The latter phrase particularly rankled advocates of science fiction and frequently recurs when her writing is discussed.[87]

In 2005, Atwood said that she does at times write social science fiction and that The Handmaid's Tale and Oryx and Crake can be designated as such. She clarified her meaning on the difference between speculative and science fiction, admitting that others use the terms interchangeably: "For me, the science fiction label belongs on books with things in them that we can't yet do... speculative fiction means a work that employs the means already to hand and that takes place on Planet Earth." She said that science fiction narratives give a writer the ability to explore themes in ways that realistic fiction cannot.[88]

Animal rights

Margaret Atwood repeatedly makes observations about the relationship of humans to animals in her works.[89] A large portion of the dystopia Atwood creates in Oryx and Crake rests upon the genetic modification and alteration of animals and humans, resulting in hybrids such as pigoons, rakunks, wolvogs, and Crakers, which function to raise questions on the limits and ethics of science and technology, as well as questions on what it means to be human.[90]

In Surfacing, one character remarks about eating animals: "The animals die that we may live, they are substitute people...And we eat them, out of cans or otherwise; we are eaters of death, dead Christ-flesh resurrecting inside us, granting us life." Some characters in her books link sexual oppression to meat-eating and consequently give up meat-eating. In The Edible Woman, Atwood's character Marian identifies with hunted animals and cries after hearing her fiancé's experience of hunting and eviscerating a rabbit. Marian stops eating meat but then later returns to it.[91]

In Cat's Eye, the narrator recognizes the similarity between a turkey and a baby. She looks at "the turkey, which resembles a trussed, headless baby. It has thrown off its disguise as a meal and has revealed itself to me for what it is, a large dead bird." In Atwood's Surfacing, a dead heron represents purposeless killing and prompts thoughts about other senseless deaths.[91]

Political involvement

Atwood has indicated in interviews that she considers herself a Red Tory in the historical sense of the term.[92] In the 2008 federal election, she attended a rally for the Bloc Québécois, a Quebec separatist party, because of her support for their position on the arts, and stated that she would vote for the party if she lived in a riding in Quebec in which the choice was between the Bloc and the Conservatives.[93] In an editorial in The Globe and Mail, she urged Canadians to vote for any other party to stop a Conservative majority.[94]

Atwood has strong views on environmental issues, and she and Graeme Gibson are the joint honorary presidents of the Rare Bird Club within BirdLife International. Atwood celebrated her 70th birthday at a gala dinner at Laurentian University in Sudbury, Ontario. She stated that she had chosen to attend the event because the city has been home to one of Canada's most ambitious environmental reclamation programs: "When people ask if there's hope (for the environment), I say, if Sudbury can do it, so can you. Having been a symbol of desolation, it's become a symbol of hope."[95] Atwood has been chair of the Writers' Union of Canada and helped to found the Canadian English-Speaking chapter of PEN International, a group originally started to free politically imprisoned writers.[96] She held the position of PEN Canada president in the mid 1980s[97] and was the 2017 recipient of the PEN Center USA's Lifetime Achievement Award.[98] Despite calls for a boycott by Gazan students, Atwood visited Israel and accepted the $1,000,000 Dan David Prize along with Indian author Amitav Ghosh at Tel Aviv University in May 2010.[99] Atwood commented that "we don't do cultural boycotts."[100]

Handmaid (28044961559)
A member of the political action group The Handmaid's Coalition.

In her dystopian novel, The Handmaid's Tale, all the developments take place in the United States near Boston, while Canada is portrayed as the only hope for an escape. To some this reflects her status of being "in the vanguard of Canadian anti-Americanism of the 1960s and 1970s."[101] Critics have seen Gilead (the US) as a repressive regime and the mistreated Handmaid as Canada.[102] During the debate in 1987 over a free trade agreement between Canada and the United States, Atwood spoke out against the deal and wrote an essay opposing the agreement.[103] Atwood claims that the 2016 US presidential election led to an increase in sales of The Handmaid's Tale.[104] Inspired by The Handmaid's Tale, the political action group The Handmaid's Coalition was formed in 2017 in response to legislation and actions aimed at limiting the rights of women and marginalized groups. Activists, dressed in red cloaks and white hats as described in The Handmaid's Tale, lobby and protest in order to bring awareness to politicians and laws that discriminate against women and women's rights.[105]


The novel Surfacing (1972) was adapted into an eponymous 1981 film, written by Bernard Gordon and directed by Claude Jutra.[106] The film received poor reviews and suffers from making "little attempt to find cinematic equivalents for the admittedly difficult subjective and poetic dimensions of the novel."[107]

The novel The Handmaid's Tale (1985) has been adapted into several eponymous works. A 1990 film, directed by Volker Schlöndorff, with a screenplay by Harold Pinter, received mixed reviews.[108][109] A musical adaptation resulted in the 2000 opera, written by Poul Ruders, with a libretto by Paul Bentley. It premiered at the Royal Danish Opera in 2000, and was staged in 2003 at London's English National Opera and the Minnesota Opera.[110] A television series by Bruce Miller began airing on the streaming service Hulu in 2017.[111] The first season of the show earned eight Emmy's in 2017, including Outstanding Drama Series. Season two premiered on April 25, 2018, and it was announced on May 2, 2018 that Hulu had renewed the series for a third season.[112] Atwood appears in a cameo in the first episode as one of the Aunts at the Red Center.[113]

In 2003, six of Atwood's short stories were adapted by Shaftesbury Films for the anthology television series The Atwood Stories.[114]

Atwood's 2008 Massey Lectures were adapted into the documentary Payback (2012), by director Jennifer Baichwal.[115] Commentary by Atwood and others such as economist Raj Patel, ecologist William Reese, and religious scholar Karen Armstrong, are woven into various stories that explore the concepts of debt and payback, including an Armenian blood feud, agricultural working conditions, and the Deepwater Horizon oil spill.[116]

The novel Alias Grace (1996) was adapted into an eponymous six-part 2017 miniseries directed by Mary Harron and adapted by Sarah Polley. It premiered on CBC on September 25, 2017, and the full series was released on Netflix on November 3, 2017.[117][118][119] Atwood makes a cameo in the fourth episode of the series as a disapproving church-goer.[120]

In the Wake of the Flood (released in October 2010), a documentary film by Canadian director Ron Mann, followed Atwood on the unusual book tour for her novel The Year of the Flood (2009). During this innovative book tour, Atwood created a theatrical version of her novel, with performers borrowed from the local areas she was visiting. The documentary is described as "a fly-on-the-wall film vérité."[121]

Atwood's children's book Wandering Wenda and Widow Wallop's Wunderground Washery (2011) was adapted into the children's television series The Wide World of Wandering Wenda, broadcast on CBC beginning in the spring of 2017.[122] Aimed at early readers, the animated series follows Wenda and her friends as they navigate different adventures using words, sounds, and language.[123]

Director Darren Aronofsky had been slated to direct an adaption of the MaddAddam trilogy for HBO, but it was revealed in October 2016 that HBO had dropped the plan from its schedule. In January 2018, it was announced that Paramount Television and Anonymous Content had bought the rights to the trilogy and would be moving forward without Aronofsky.[124]

Awards and honours

Atwood holds numerous honorary degrees (e.g., from Oxford University, Cambridge University, and the Sorbonne),[125] and has won more than 55 awards in Canada and internationally.


Honorary degrees


The MaddAddam Trilogy

  1. Oryx and Crake (2003, finalist for the 2003 Booker Prize and the 2003 Governor General's Award and shortlisted for the 2004 Orange Prize for Fiction.)
  2. The Year of the Flood (2009, Oryx and Crake companion, longlisted for the 2011 International Dublin Literary Award)
  3. MaddAddam (2013) (Third novel in Oryx and Crake trilogy, Goodreads Choice for Best Science Fiction 2013)


Short fiction collections

Poetry collections


  • I'm Starved For You: Positron, Episode One (2012)
  • Choke Collar: Positron, Episode Two (2012)
  • Erase Me: Positron, Episode Three (2013)
  • The Heart Goes Last: Positron, Episode Four (2013)

Anthologies edited

  • The New Oxford Book of Canadian Verse (1982)
  • The Canlit Foodbook (1987)
  • The Oxford Book of Canadian Short Stories in English (1988)
  • The Best American Short Stories 1989 (1989) (with Shannon Ravenel)
  • The New Oxford Book of Canadian Short Stories in English (1995)

Children's books

  • Up in the Tree (1978)
  • Anna's Pet (1980) (with Joyce C. Barkhouse)
  • For the Birds (1990) (with Shelly Tanaka)
  • Princess Prunella and the Purple Peanut (1995)
  • Rude Ramsay and the Roaring Radishes (2003)
  • Bashful Bob and Doleful Dorinda (2006)
  • Wandering Wenda and Widow Wallop's Wunderground Washery (2011);[175] inspired a cartoon series called Wandering Wenda in 2016.


  • Survival: A Thematic Guide to Canadian Literature (1972)
  • Days of the Rebels 1815–1840 (1977)
  • Second Words: Selected Critical Prose (1982)
  • Through the One-Way Mirror (1986)
  • Strange Things: The Malevolent North in Canadian Literature (1995)
  • Negotiating with the Dead: A Writer on Writing (2002)
  • Moving Targets: Writing with Intent, 1982–2004 (2004)
  • Writing with Intent: Essays, Reviews, Personal Prose 1983–2005 (2005)
  • Payback: Debt and the Shadow Side of Wealth (2008)
  • In Other Worlds: SF and the Human Imagination (2011)


  • Kanadian Kultchur Komix featuring "Survivalwoman" in This Magazine under the pseudonym, Bart Gerrard 1975–1980
  • Others appear on her website.

Graphic novels

  • Angel Catbird, with Johnnie Christmas and Tamra Bonvillain (2016)

Television scripts

  • The Servant Girl (1974)
  • Snowbird (1981)
  • Heaven on Earth (1987)


Audio recordings

  • The Poetry and Voice of Margaret Atwood (1977)
  • Margaret Atwood Reads "Unearthing Suite" (1985)
  • Margaret Atwood Reading From Her Poems (2005)
  • Margaret Atwood as herself in Zombies, Run, as a surviving radio operator in themes.


2017 she is credited as playing herself in all 26 episodes of Wandering Wenda where she wears funny hats to match the various themes

See also


  1. ^ "Margaret Atwood". Front Row. July 24, 2007. BBC Radio 4. Retrieved January 18, 2014.
  2. ^ Marion, Wynne-Davies (2010). Margaret Atwood. British Council. Horndon, Tavistock, Devon, UK: Northcote, British Council. ISBN 9780746310366. OCLC 854569504.
  3. ^ Oates, Joyce Carol. "Margaret Atwood: Poet", The New York Times, May 21, 1978
  4. ^ Hoby, Hermione (2013-08-18). "Margaret Atwood: interview". The Daily Telegraph. London. ISSN 0307-1235. Retrieved 2018-05-02.
  5. ^ "Carl E. Atwood Graduate Scholarship in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology". University of Toronto. Retrieved 2017-03-12.
  6. ^ Hazel Foote, The Homes of Woodville, M.A. Jorgenson, Woodville, NS (1997), p. 109
  7. ^ a b Nathalie, Cooke (1998). Margaret Atwood : a biography. Toronto: ECW Press. ISBN 1550223089. OCLC 40460322.
  8. ^ Daley, James (2007). Great Writers on the Art of Fiction: From Mark Twain to Joyce Carol Oates. Courier Corporation. p. 159. ISBN 978-0-486-45128-2.
  9. ^ Margaret Atwood: The Art of Fiction No.121. The Paris Review. Retrieved December 4, 2016.
  10. ^ O'Grady, Conner "Despite cuts and critics, Bob carries on"; the newspaper; University of Toronto; 18 Dec. 2013.
  11. ^ "University of Toronto Alumni Website » Margaret Atwood". Retrieved 2017-01-24.
  12. ^ "On Being a Poet: A Conversation With Margaret Atwood". The New York Times. Retrieved 2017-01-24.
  13. ^ a b c Potts, Robert (April 26, 2003). "Light in the wilderness". The Guardian. Retrieved May 30, 2013.
  14. ^ Thomas, Paul Lee (2007). Reading, Learning, Teaching Margaret Atwood. Peter Lang Publishing. p. 7. Retrieved August 8, 2013.
  15. ^ Sutherland, John (2012). Lives of the Novelists: A History of Fiction in 294 Lives. Yale University Press. p. 721. ISBN 978-0-300-18243-9.
  16. ^ Setoodeh, Ramin. "Margaret Atwood on How Donald Trump Helped 'The Handmaid's Tale'". Variety. Retrieved 2018-07-18.
  17. ^ "The Plutzik Reading Series Features Margaret Atwood". Retrieved 2018-05-02.
  18. ^ a b c Margaret Atwood: Vision and Forms. VanSpanckeren, Kathryn; Castro, Jan Garden. Carbondale: Southern Illinois University Press. 1988. pp. xxix–xxx. ISBN 0585106290. OCLC 43475939.
  19. ^ a b c d e f g "Past GGBooks winners and finalists". Governor General's Literary Awards. Retrieved 2018-02-05.
  20. ^ Nathalie, Cooke (2004). Margaret Atwood : a critical companion. Westport, Connecticut: Greenwood Press. ISBN 9780313328060. OCLC 145520009.
  21. ^ Howells, Coral Ann (2005). Margaret Atwood (2nd ed.). New York: Palgrave Macmillan. ISBN 1403922004. OCLC 57391913.
  22. ^ Cinda, Gault (2012). National and Female Identity in Canadian Literature, 1965–1980 : the Fiction of Margaret Laurence, Margaret Atwood, and Marian Engel. Lewiston: Edwin Mellen Press. ISBN 9780773426221. OCLC 799769643.
  23. ^ "Maclean's — September 1976". Maclean's | The Complete Archive. Retrieved 2018-02-04.
  24. ^ "Award Winners". Arthur C. Clarke Award. 2011-04-21. Retrieved 2018-02-04.
  25. ^ "The Man Booker Prize for Fiction Backlist | The Man Booker Prizes". Retrieved 2018-02-04.
  26. ^ "The Man Booker Prize for Fiction Backlist | The Man Booker Prizes". Retrieved 2018-02-04.
  27. ^ Atwood, Margaret (2005-06-17). "Aliens have taken the place of angels". The Guardian. Retrieved 2018-02-04.
  28. ^ Atwood, Margaret (2012). In Other Worlds : SF and the Human Imagination (1st Anchor Books ed.). New York: Anchor Books. ISBN 0307741761. OCLC 773021848.
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Further reading

  • Bauch, Marc (2012). Canadian Self-perception and Self-representation in English-Canadian Drama After 1967. Köln, Germany \: WiKu-Wissenschaftsverlag Dr. Stein. ISBN 978-3-86553-407-1.
  • Carrington, Ildikó de Papp (1986). Margaret Atwood and Her Works. Toronto, Ontario, Canada: ECW Press. ISBN 978-0-920763-25-4.
  • Clements, Pam. "Margaret Atwood and Chaucer: Truth and Lies," in: Cahier Calin: Makers of the Middle Ages. Essays in Honor of William Calin, ed. Richard Utz and Elizabeth Emery (Kalamazoo, MI: Studies in Medievalism, 2011), pp. 39–41.
  • Cooke, Nathalie (1998). Margaret Atwood: A Biography. ECW Press. ISBN 978-1-55022-308-8.
  • Cooke, Nathalie (2004). Margaret Atwood: A Critical Companion. Connecticut: Greenwood Publishing Group. ISBN 978-0-313-32806-0.
  • Hengen, Shannon; Thomson, Ashley (May 22, 2007). Margaret Atwood: A Reference Guide, 1988–2005. Lanham, MD: Scarecrow Press. ISBN 978-0-8108-6668-3.
  • Howells, Coral Ann (1996). Margaret Atwood. New York: St. Martin's Press. ISBN 978-0-312-12891-3.
  • Howells, Coral Ann (March 30, 2006). The Cambridge Companion to Margaret Atwood. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. ISBN 978-0-521-54851-9.
  • Nischik, Reingard M. (2002). Margaret Atwood: Works and Impact. Rochester, NY: Camden House. ISBN 978-1-57113-269-7.
  • Nischik, Reingard M. (2009). Engendering Genre: The Works of Margaret Atwood. Ottawa: University of Ottawa Press. ISBN 978-0-7766-0724-5.
  • Pivato, Joseph. "Atwood's Survival: A Critique (2015) online
  • Rigney, Barbara Hill (November 1987). Margaret Atwood. Totowa, NJ: Barnes & Noble. ISBN 978-0-389-20742-9.
  • Rosenberg, Jerome H. (1984). Margaret Atwood. Boston: Twayne. ISBN 978-0-8057-6586-1.
  • Sherrill, Grace; Weir, Lorraine (1983). Margaret Atwood, Language, Text, and System. Vancouver: University of British Columbia Press. ISBN 978-0-7748-0170-6.
  • Sullivan, Rosemary (1998). The Red Shoes: Margaret Atwood Starting Out. Toronto: HarperFlamingoCanada. ISBN 978-0-00-255423-7.
  • Tolan, Fiona (2007). Margaret Atwood: Feminism and Fiction. Netherlands: Rodopi. ISBN 90-420-2223-X.
  • VanSpanckeren, Kathryn; Castro, Jan Garden, eds. (1988). Margaret Atwood: Vision and Forms. Carbondale: Southern Illinois University Press. ISBN 978-0-8093-1408-9.
  • Weir, Lorraine (1981). "Meridians of Perception: A Reading of The Journals of Susanna Moodie". In Davidson, Arnold E.; Davidson, Cathy N. The Art of Margaret Atwood: essays in criticism. Toronto: Anansi. pp. 69–79. ISBN 978-0-88784-080-7.
  • Wrethed, Joakim (2015). "'I am a place': Aletheia as aesthetic and political resistance in Margaret Atwood's Surfacing". Journal of Aesthetics & Culture. 7 (1): 28020. doi:10.3402/jac.v7.28020.

External links

Alias Grace

Alias Grace is a novel of historical fiction by Canadian writer Margaret Atwood. First published in 1996 by McClelland & Stewart, it won the Canadian Giller Prize and was shortlisted for the Booker Prize.

The story fictionalizes the notorious 1843 murders of Thomas Kinnear and his housekeeper Nancy Montgomery in Canada West. Two servants of the Kinnear household, Grace Marks and James McDermott, were convicted of the crime. McDermott was hanged and Marks was sentenced to life imprisonment.

Although the novel is based on factual events, Atwood constructs a narrative with a fictional doctor, Simon Jordan, who researches the case. Although ostensibly conducting research into criminal behaviour, he slowly becomes personally involved in the story of Grace Marks and seeks to reconcile his perception of the mild-mannered woman he sees with the murder of which she has been convicted.

Atwood first encountered the story of Grace Marks in Life in the Clearings by Susanna Moodie. In 1970, she published The Journals of Susanna Moodie, a cycle of poems informed by the published works of Moodie. It became a classic of Canadian literature, as it lyrically evokes the experience of life in the wilderness, immigrant life, and colonial times. Subsequently, Atwood wrote the 1974 CBC Television film The Servant Girl about Grace Marks, also based on Susanna Moodie's account. However, in Alias Grace, Atwood says that she has changed her opinion of Marks, having read more widely and discovered that Moodie had fabricated parts of her third-hand account of the famous murders.

Bodily Harm (novel)

Bodily Harm is a novel by Margaret Atwood. It was first published by McClelland and Stewart in 1981.

Expeditions (poetry collection)

Expeditions is a collection of poetry by Margaret Atwood, published in 1966.

Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada

Fellowship of the Royal Society of Canada (FRSC) is an award granted to individuals that the Royal Society of Canada judges to have "made remarkable contributions in the arts, the humanities and the sciences, as well as in Canadian public life".As of 2017, there are over 2000 living Canadian fellows, including scholars, artists, and scientists such as Margaret Atwood, David Cronenberg, Philip J. Currie and Demetri Terzopoulos.There are four types of fellowship:

Honorary Fellows (a title of honour)

Regularly Elected Fellows

Specially Elected Fellows

Foreign Fellows (neither residents nor citizens of Canada)


Hag-Seed is a novel by Margaret Atwood, published in October 2016. A modern retelling of William Shakespeare's The Tempest, the novel was commissioned by Random House as part of its Hogarth Shakespeare series. In this project, well-known novelists re-tell a selection of Shakespeare's plays. Other authors participating in the series include Howard Jacobson, Anne Tyler, Jeanette Winterson, Tracy Chevalier, Jo Nesbø, Gillian Flynn and Edward St Aubyn.The novel centres on theatre director Felix who loses his job with Makeshiweg Theatre, and is exiled from his position in society, following his betrayal by a trusted colleague. Having suffered in isolation, Felix is granted the position of teaching in a prison literacy program in the Fletcher County Correctional Institute. Thus begins his plot of revenge against those who wronged him.The novel was well received by critics and audiences. A witty, dark and imaginative adaptation of Shakepeare's play, Hag-seed manages to convincingly create a vengeful Duke Prospero from the slightly ridiculous, and certainly more sympathetic, director Felix. Dealing with themes of loss, revenge, a life of imprisonment and the concept of closure, Atwood inadvertently uses Felix's lessons on The Tempest to the actor-inmates to demonstrate the parallels between her text and the original play.

The story culminates with a "fantastic climax of dark calamity" in a metaphorical and literal storm.

Literary fiction

Literary fiction is a term used in the book-trade to distinguish novels that are regarded as having literary merit from most commercial or "genre" fiction. All the same, a number of major literary figures have also written genre fiction, for example, John Banville publishes crime novels as Benjamin Black, and both Doris Lessing and Margaret Atwood have written science fiction. Furthermore, Nobel laureate André Gide stated that Georges Simenon, best known as the creator of the fictional detective Jules Maigret, was "the most novelistic of novelists in French literature".


MaddAddam is a novel by Canadian writer Margaret Atwood, published on 29 August 2013.

Maddaddam concludes the dystopian trilogy which began with Oryx and Crake (2003) and continued with The Year of the Flood (2009). While the plot from these previous novels run along a parallel timeline, Maddaddam is the continuation of both books. Maddaddam is written from the perspective of Zeb and Toby, who were both introduced in The Year of the Flood.

Oryx and Crake

Oryx and Crake is a novel by Canadian author Margaret Atwood. She has described the novel as speculative fiction and adventure romance rather than science fiction because it does not deal with things "we can't yet do or begin to do", and goes beyond the amount of realism she associates with the novel form. The book was first published by McClelland and Stewart in 2003. It was shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize for Fiction that same year, and for the 2004 Orange Prize for Fiction.

A television adaptation of Oryx and Crake and its follow-up novels, The Year of the Flood (2009) and MaddAddam (2013), was being helmed by Darren Aronofsky under the working title "MaddAddam", but was dropped by HBO by October 2016. Currently an adaptation of the MadAddam trilogy is in development at Paramount Television and Anonymous Content.

Power Politics (poetry collection)

Power Politics is a book of poetry by Canadian author Margaret Atwood, published in 1971.

It contains her famous simile:

The violent surprise of this poem is typical of Atwood’s imagery.Gender is a crucial theme in Power Politics. The collection was often dismissed as a poetic version of Women's Lib although Atwood herself rejected the notion that the Women's Movement influenced the conception of Power Politics.

Speeches for Doctor Frankenstein

Speeches for Doctor Frankenstein is a poetry collection written by Canadian author Margaret Atwood, published in 1966. It is illustrated by Charles Pachter. In 1991 there remained fourteen copies of the work, each worth approximately C$6,000.

Surfacing (novel)

Surfacing is a novel by Canadian author Margaret Atwood. Published by McClelland and Stewart in 1972, it was her second novel. Surfacing has been described by commentators as a companion novel to Atwood's collection of poems, Power Politics, which was written the previous year and deals with complementary issues.The novel, grappling with notions of national and gendered identity, anticipated rising concerns about conservation and preservation and the emergence of Canadian nationalism. It was adapted into a movie in 1981.

The Animals in That Country

The Animals in That Country is a 1968 poetry collection written by Canadian author Margaret Atwood.

The Blind Assassin

The Blind Assassin is a novel by the Canadian writer Margaret Atwood. It was first published by McClelland and Stewart in 2000. Set in Canada, it is narrated from the present day, referring to previous events that span the twentieth century.

The work was awarded the Man Booker Prize in 2000 and the Hammett Prize in 2001. It was also nominated for Governor General's Award in 2000, Orange Prize for Fiction, and the International Dublin Literary Award in 2002. Time magazine named it the best novel of 2000 and included it in its list of the 100 greatest English-language novels since 1923.

The Door (poetry collection)

The Door is a book of poetry by Canadian author Margaret Atwood, published in 2007.

The poems of The Door demonstrate self-awareness on the part of the author. They confront themes of advancing age and encroaching death (Atwood was 68 in 2007), as well as authorial fame and the drive to produce writing. Less autobiographical themes are also explored in The Door, including environmental issues, torture and war, and the relation of the personal and the political.The Door is divided into five sections.

The first section explores personal loss, of parents, cats or childhood.

The second section explores the role of the poet.

The third section confronts the horrors of contemporary life.

The fourth section defends the despondency of section three.

The fifth section explores the domestic relationship between lovers, in an echo of Atwood's earlier collection You Are Happy

The Handmaid's Tale

The Handmaid's Tale is a dystopian novel by Canadian author Margaret Atwood, originally published in 1985. It is set in a near-future New England, in a totalitarian state resembling a theonomy that has overthrown the United States government. The novel focuses on the journey of the handmaid Offred. Her name derives from the possessive form "of Fred"; handmaids are forbidden to use their birth names and must echo the male, or master, whom they serve.

The Handmaid's Tale explores themes of women in subjugation in a patriarchal society and the various means by which these women attempt to gain individualism and independence. The novel's title echoes the component parts of Geoffrey Chaucer's The Canterbury Tales, which is a series of connected stories ("The Merchant's Tale", "The Parson's Tale", etc.).The Handmaid's Tale is structured into two parts, night and other various events. This novel can be interpreted as a double narrative, Offred's tale and the handmaids' tales. The night sections are solely about Offred, and the other sections (shopping, waiting room, household, etc.) are the stories that describe the possible life of every handmaid, though from the perspective of Offred. In many of these sections, Offred jumps between past and present as she retells the events leading up to the fall of women's rights and the current details of the life which she now lives.

The Handmaid's Tale won the 1985 Governor General's Award and the first Arthur C. Clarke Award in 1987; it was also nominated for the 1986 Nebula Award, the 1986 Booker Prize, and the 1987 Prometheus Award. The book has been adapted into a 1990 film, a 2000 opera, a television series, and other media.

In 2018, Atwood announced that a sequel novel, The Testaments, will be published in 2019.

The Robber Bride

The Robber Bride is a Margaret Atwood novel first published by McClelland and Stewart in 1993.

The Tent (Atwood book)

The Tent is a book by Canadian author Margaret Atwood, published in 2006. Although classified with Atwood’s short fiction, The Tent has been characterized as an “experimental” collection of “fictional essays" or “mini-fictions.” The work also incorporates line drawings by Atwood.

The collection features themes familiar in Atwood’s works, including a feminist portrayal of “national” childhood, the burdens of fame, and the reworking of Classical mythology.

Several of the pieces included in The Tent were previously published to benefit a variety of organizations, the royalties being donated to the World Wildlife Federation, the Indian Ocean Tsunami Earthquake Charities, the Hay-On-Wye Festival in Wales, and the Harbourfront Reading Series in Toronto.The pieces in the book are:

The War in the Bathroom

The Man from Mars


Under Glass

The Grave of the Famous Poet

Rape Fantasies

Hair Jewllery

When It Happens

A Travel Piece

The Resplendent Quetzal


Lives of the Poets

Dancing Grils

Giving Birth

The Testaments (Atwood novel)

The Testaments is a novel by Margaret Atwood, slated for publication in 2019. A sequel to her 1985 novel The Handmaid's Tale, the novel will take place 15 years after Offred's final scene in the original novel, and will be narrated by three female characters. Atwood has not yet specified, however, whether any of the narrators will be characters already known from the original novel.

You Are Happy

You Are Happy is a 1974 collection of poems by Canadian writer Margaret Atwood.

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