Margaret Atwood is a very respectable Canadian writer and a poet who was also a very devoted teacher and environmental activist. She became world known for her novels, especially for “The handmaid’s Tale”, “Cat’s Eye” and “The Robber Bride”.
She is known as a big feminist, activist ad a person who is not afraid to share her opinion. She is sometimes referred to as the Canadian „Mata Hari“.
She is amongst most published Canadian authors and is still working no matter her old age.
Margaret also became known as an inventor and is a proud owner of a patent for a writing technology concept named LongPen.
She was born as Margaret Eleanor Atwood on November 18, 1939, in the city of Ottawa, the capital of Canada.
She was born into a caring family of her mother Margaret Dorothy after whom she gained her name, who worked as a nutritionist and her father Earl who was an entomologist. She had two more siblings with whom she grew up. It s her brother Harold Leslie and her sister Ruth.
Margaret was raised as an agnostic.
Margaret had a very active childhood due to her father’s job. This means that the family often had to relocate since he was one of the top researchers of forest entomology.
The family spent a lot of time in Quebec, near woods so Margaret couldn’t receive proper education from an early age. When she was 12 years old she finally started going to school regularly.
She became a very passionate book reader and has graduated from Leaside High School at the age of 17, in 1957. At that time she had already written thousands of poems.
It was during her high school education that she realized that she wanted to become a writer. That is why she continued her education at the University of Toronto where she was involved in many literary events and publications. She published her own work in the university’s newspaper and her professors noticed her great talent very early.
She finished college in 1961 gaining herself a Bachelor’s degree in English. She also received degrees in French and philosophy.
In 1961 she gained the Woodrow Wilson fellowship which enabled her to continue graduate studies at Harvard’s Radcliffe College. She gained her master’s degree in 1962 and was on her way for getting doctoral studies degree but didn’t finish them.
In 1961 she has released her first poetry book called “Double Persephone” and won the E.J. Pratt Medal for it. She also became a professor lecturer in various educational facilities such as the University of British Columbia, University of Alberta and more. During all that time she always found time to write.
In 1966 she has won the Governor General’s Award for her poetry collection titled “The Circle Game”. She continued publishing her poetry through “Talismans for Children” in “Speeches for Doctor Frankenstein” and “The Animals in That Country” from 1968.
Margaret published her first novel in 1969 and it was titled “The Edible Woman”. The novel was made as a social satire and included a lot of her feminist attitudes.
In 1971 she began teaching at York University located in Toronto where she stayed until 1973. During 70’s she had published a lot of poetry books involving many topics such as “Power Politics”, “Procedures for Underground” nd “Two-Headed Poems”.
She also published three novels. The first was “Surfacing” and it was published in 1972, the second was “Lady Oracle” in 1976 and her most successful novel from the ’70s was “Life Before Man” which almost brought her the Governor General’s Award.
In 1977 she published her collection of short stories named “Dancing Girls”. This release brought her the St. Lawrence Award in Fiction Literature. All this published work made her one of the most popular Canadian writers.
The 1980s brought her even more fame with several of her masterpieces being revealed. One of the most notable novels she has written was “The Handmaid’s Tale2 published in 1985 which brought her the Arthur C. Clarke Award and also the Governor General’s Award.
“Cat’s Eye” was also very well received. “The Handmaid’s Tale” became a huge hit and labeled her as an extremely skilled science fiction writer.
Other than publishing novels she also continued working as a professor at the University of Alabama, New York University and Trinity University. In 1993 she published a new hit novel called “The Robber Bride” and three years later came to a new book named “Alias Grace”.
Her 10th novel came in 2000 and was very well received amongst public and critics and it was titled “The Blind Assassin”. This novel won the Booker and the Hammet prize that year.
In 2001 she was honored to be inducted in Canada’s Walk of Fame.
In 2003 she published a new novel named “Oryx and Crake” which also became a huge hit and was followed by two more sequels: “The Year of the Flood” and “Madd Addam”- This later became known under the title “Mad Addam Trilogy”. She didn’t call her niche science fiction anymore but “speculative fiction” due to the possibility of it’s happening.
To keep her trilogy different from other novels in that period she has honored it with making a craft beer.
In 2005 she published a novel titled “The Penelopiad” which was later produced in theatres.
In 2016 she published a novel named “Hog-Seed”, released by Hogarth. It was the same year that she started writing “Angel Catbird” comic book which was also a huge success.
In 2004 she showed her other hidden talent as an inventor. She made up a concept of the robotic writing technology which allowed her to have book tours without being present on them. She named it LongPen and gave her the possibility to write in inky by using a tablet.
Margaret realized the possibilities of her invention so she launched her own business titled Unotchit Inc. She earned a lot of money through her company.
Margaret is very much involved in public life through her Red Tory political attitudes, feminism, environmental activism and fighting for animal rights.
Her most notable novels were all adapted into series or movies. In 1981, her novel “Surfacing” was directed by Claude Jutra but it gained very poor reviews. “The Handmaid’s Tale” from 1985 was made into a 1990 movie which wasn’t received very well and an opera in 2000 which was a huge success.
In 2017 Bruce Miller started producing the same-named series which became one of the
most viewed series in history. The series won several Emmy’s and is still airing. Margaret herself had a small appearance in the 1st season.
In 2003 “The Atwood Series” was also released on TV. In 2017, another adaptation of her novel was released on TV. It was “Alias Grace” TV series which aired on Netflix.
She has also written a children books titled “Wandering Wenda and Widow Wallop’s Underground Washery” which was later made into series and aired on CBC.
Many people don’t know that she ha also written a libretto which she titled „Oratorio for Sasquatch, Man and Two Androids“.
As for her personal life, she was married to a man named Jim Polk in the period from 1968 to 1973. After divorcing Him she started a relationship with Graeme Gibson.
She has a daughter Elanor from this relationship, born in 1976. They still live in Toronto in Canada.
She tries to keep her environment as clean as she can so she recycles whatever she can. That is why she has her special hat which was made from newspaper, plastic, and cardboard. This is also her way of showing her environmental activism.
Margaret is considered to have a very interesting personality. For example, she is a bad speller and she is a professor. Or for the fact that she speaks about how she likes to drink single-malt scotch.
She is also a little superstitious and has the same agent employed from 1971. That is why she sometimes wear the same clothes on the same dates. She says that although she doesn’t feel like it’s necessary, she wants to be sure.
She is a big fan of cooking and especially respects Jehane Benoit, a known Canadian cook. She herself like making cakes and especially likes to decorate them.
Full name: Margaret Eleanor Atwood
Date of birth: November 18, 1939
Birthplace: Ottawa, Canada
Profession: writer, poet, novelist, teacher, activist, actress
Height: 1,63 m
Net Worth: $20 million