Margaret Atwood

Margaret Atwood

The mentor

Published in 2013

Margaret Atwood – novelist, poet, essayist and literary critic – is a dominant figure in Canadian letters and one of the most esteemed and prolific writers of our time. Called a “scintillating wordsmith” by The Economist, she has written more than 50 volumes.

Writing has been her lifelong calling. “Writing was the only thing I wanted to do,” says Atwood, who penned her first poem at age six and, in high school, declared her ambition to become a professional writer. Following undergraduate education at the University of Toronto, she began graduate studies at Harvard’s Radcliffe College where she received her Master’s degree in 1962. By that time she was publishing in small literary magazines, of which she has remained a supporter. Four years later, her second book of poetry, The Circle Game, earned her the Governor General’s Award and set her on the path to greatness in many literary genres.

Atwood gained international renown with such widely read novels as The Edible Woman (1969), the seminal The Handmaid’s Tale (1985), Cat’s Eye (1988), Alias Grace (1996), and the Booker Prize-winning The Blind Assassin (2000). With Oryx and Crake (2003), she returned to “speculative fiction”, which she defines as fiction about not-yet-real things that nevertheless could really happen. Her more recent works include the novel The Year of the Flood (2009) and the non-fiction In Other Worlds: SF and the Human Imagination (2011). In 2013, she published MaddAddam, which concludes a trilogy begun with Oryx and Crake.

Margaret Atwood is recognized as an environmentalist and social commentator, as well as a champion of young writers through her teaching, editing, online advice and non-fiction works. As a participant in such online sites as Wattpad, Byliner, Glossi and Flipboard, she is exploring new ways to connect writers and readers. “A word after a word after a word is power,” says the consummate writer.