Margaret Atwood

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Margaret Atwood

Margaret Eleanor "Peggy" Atwood (born November 18, 1939) is a novelist, poet, literary critic, and a pioneer of Canadian women's writing. She was born in Ottawa, Ontario, and attended school at Victoria College in Toronto. After living in various places in North America and around the world, she returned to Toronto, where she currently lives. She is married to the novelist Graeme Gibson; her daughter, Jess Atwood Gibson, was born in 1976.

Her writing often focuses on feminist issues and concerns, which she examines through multiple genres such as science fiction, Southern Ontario Gothic, comedy, and the ghost story. Some critics say her first novel, The Edible Woman, which examined female dissatisfaction, predates issues of second-wave feminism. She also has a reputation for her deep interest in Canada and Canadian fiction, a theme that shows up both in the settings and atmosphere of her fiction and in her non-fiction and edited work. She has also been associated with Canadian nationalism in the 1960s and 1970s.

Though widely known for her fiction, Atwood has also continually published poetry. Often her poems are epigrams. Techniques she has drawn on include internal rhyme, extended metaphor, as well as alliteration or assonance that is split up and put in separate lines to produce an echo effect. She ranks as a key figure in Canadian poetry, especially as one of Toronto's new voices in the 1960s, along with Gwendolyn MacEwen, Dennis Lee and Michael Ondaatje.

Many readers know Atwood for her tale of a future dystopia in the science fiction novel The Handmaid's Tale (made into a movie and an opera), or for her Booker Prize-winning novel The Blind Assassin.

Two of Atwood's novels have been chosen for CBC Radio's Canada Reads competition: The Handmaid's Tale, championed by former Prime Minister Kim Campbell in 2002 and Oryx and Crake, championed by Toronto City Councillor Olivia Chow in 2005. In addition, the French translation of The Handmaid's Tale, La servante 飔rlate, was included in the French version of the competition, Le combat des livres, in 2004.

In November 2004 in Toronto, Unotchit Inc., her company, demonstrated a "remote book-signing device" at an invitation-only presentation in Toronto. The device, also called the "Unotchit" (and pronounced "You-No-Touch-It"), will allow an author to remotely sign a book as well as interact via video and audio. She has said in interviews that the device will be available by 2006.

She was made an Officer of the Order of Canada in 1973 and was promoted to Companion in 1981.



The Edible Woman (1969)
Surfacing (1972)
Lady Oracle (1976)
Life Before Man (1979)
Bodily Harm (1981)
The Handmaid's Tale (1985) - winner of the 1987 Arthur C. Clarke Award
Cat's Eye (1989)
The Robber Bride (1993)
Alias Grace (1996) - winner of the 1996 Giller Prize
The Blind Assassin (2000) - winner of the 2000 Booker Prize and the 2000 Governor General's Award
Oryx and Crake (2003)

Poetry collections

Double Persephone (1961)
The Circle Game (1964)
Expeditions (1965)
Speeches for Doctor Frankenstein (1966)
The Animals in That Country (1968)
The Journals of Susanna Moodie (1970)
Procedures for Underground (1970)
Power Politics (1971)
You Are Happy (1974)
Selected Poems (1976)
Two-Headed Poems (1978)
True Stories (1981)
Interlunar (1984)
Morning in the Burned House (1996)
Eating Fire: Selected Poems, 1965-1995 (1998)

Short fiction collections

Dancing Girls (1977)
Murder in the Dark (1983)
Bluebeard's Egg (1983)
Wilderness Tips (1991)
Good Bones and Simple Murders (1994)

Anthologies edited

The New Oxford Book of Canadian Verse (1982)
The Canlit Foodbook: From Pen to palate - A Collection of Tasty Literary Fare (1987)
The Oxford Book of Canadian Short Stories in English (1988)
The Best American Short Stories 1989 (1989) (with Shannon Ravenel)

Other short stories

Unearthing Suite (1983)
When it Happens (1983)
Freeforall (1986)
The Labrador Fiasco (1986)
Homelanding (1989)
Daphne and Laura and So Forth (1995)
Half-Hanged Mary (1995)
Shopping (1998)

Children's books

Up in the Tree (1978)
Anna's Pet (1980)
For the Birds (book) (1990) (with Shelly Tanaka)
Princess Prunella and the Purple Peanut (1995)


Survival, A Thematic Guide to Canadian Literature (1972)
Days of the Rebels 1815-1840 (1977)
Negotiating with the Dead, A Writer on Writing (2002)
Strange Things: The Malevolent North in Canadian Literature (1995)

See also

External links


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