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MARGARET ATWOOD

Margaret Eleanor Atwood, born on November 18, 1939, is a prominent Canadian poet, novelist, literary critic, essayist, teacher, environmental activist, and inventor. Over her illustrious career, which began in 1961, she has made significant contributions to literature and various other fields. Atwood has authored a diverse range of works, including eighteen books of poetry, eighteen novels, eleven non-fiction books, nine collections of short fiction, eight children's books, two graphic novels, and numerous small press editions of both poetry and fiction.

Atwood was born in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada, the second of three children. Her father, Carl Edmund Atwood, was an entomologist, and her mother, Margaret Dorothy Killam, was a former dietician and nutritionist. Due to her father's work, Atwood spent much of her childhood in northern Quebec, fostering a love for nature and the backwoods. She did not attend full-time schooling until the age of 12, becoming an avid reader during her formative years. Atwood's passion for literature and writing emerged early, with her writing plays and poems as a child. In 1957, Atwood began studying at Victoria College in the University of Toronto, where she actively contributed to the college literary journal and engaged in theatrical traditions. She graduated in 1961 with a Bachelor of Arts in English (honours) and minors in philosophy and French. Subsequently, Atwood pursued graduate studies at Radcliffe College of Harvard University, earning a master's degree (MA) in 1962. Although she began doctoral studies, she did not complete her dissertation, titled "The English Metaphysical Romance." Atwood has a sister, Ruth Atwood, and a brother, Harold Leslie Atwood. She was married to Jim Polk from 1968 to 1973. Later, she entered into a relationship with novelist Graeme Gibson, and they had a daughter named Eleanor Jess Atwood Gibson in 1976. Atwood and Gibson were together until Gibson's death in 2019. Despite being an accomplished writer, Atwood humorously describes herself as a "terrible speller" who writes using both a computer and by hand.

Atwood's literary journey began in the 1960s with her first book of poetry, "Double Persephone," published in 1961. She continued to teach and write, gaining recognition with works like "The Circle Game" (1966) and her first novel, "The Edible Woman" (1969). In the 1970s, she published poetry collections and novels, solidifying her place in Canadian literature. The 1980s marked the release of acclaimed works like "The Handmaid's Tale" (1985) and "Cat's Eye" (1988), showcasing her versatility. The 1990s saw the publication of novels like "The Robber Bride" (1993) and "Alias Grace" (1996). Atwood's exploration of female characters questioning morality became evident in these works. The new millennium brought success with novels like "The Blind Assassin" (2000) and the "MaddAddam Trilogy," which commenced with "Oryx and Crake" (2003). Atwood's contributions to non-fiction include the 2008 book "Payback: Debt and the Shadow Side of Wealth."

In 2016, Atwood ventured into the world of graphic fiction with the superhero comic book series "Angel Catbird." Her novel "Hag-Seed" (2016) reimagined Shakespeare's "The Tempest." Notably, Atwood announced and published "The Testaments," a sequel to "The Handmaid's Tale," in 2019. The book received critical acclaim and shared the 2019 Booker Prize. Apart from her literary endeavours, Atwood invented the LongPen device, enabling remote robotic writing, showcasing her interest in technology. In 2020, she released the poetry collection "Dearly," exploring themes of absence, aging, and renewal.

Throughout her career, Atwood has received numerous awards and honours for her literary contributions. These include the Governor General's Award, the Booker Prize, the Giller Prize, the Golden Booker Prize, the Golden Booker "Best of the Best," the Los Angeles Times Fiction Award, and the Peace Prize of the German Book Trade, among others. Her impact on literature was further recognized when she was awarded the Companion of Honour, one of Canada's highest civilian honours, in 2019. Margaret Atwood's multifaceted career continues to shape contemporary literature, influence discussions on feminism and identity, and inspire readers worldwide. Her ability to seamlessly navigate various genres and address pressing societal concerns has solidified her place as one of the most celebrated and influential authors of our time.

Literary Works Year
The Edible Woman 1969
Surfacing 1972
Lady Oracle 1976
Life Before Man 1979
Bodily Harm 1981
The Handmaid's Tale 1985
Cat's Eye 1988
The Robber Bride 1993
Alias Grace 1996
The Blind Assassin 2000
Oryx and Crake 2003
The Year of the Flood 2009
MaddAddam 2013
The Heart Goes Last 2015
The Testaments 2019
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