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Margaret_Atwood

Margaret Atwood

[at-wood]

Margaret Eleanor Atwood, CC (born November 18, 1939) is a Canadian writer. A prolific poet, novelist, literary critic, feminist and activist, she is a winner of the Arthur C. Clarke Award and Prince of Asturias award for Literature, has been shortlisted for the Booker Prize five times, winning once, and has been a finalist for the Governor General's Award seven times, winning twice. Atwood is among the most-honored authors of fiction in recent history. While she is best known for her work as a novelist, her poetry is noteworthy. Many of her poems have been inspired by myths, and fairy tales, which were an interest of hers from an early age. Atwood also published short stories in Playboy magazine.

Life

Citation: http://www.luminarium.org/contemporary/atwood/atwood.htm Born in Ottawa, Ontario, Atwood is the second of three children of Carl Edmund Atwood, an entomologist, and Margaret Dorothy Killiam, a former dietitian and nutritionist. Due to her father’s ongoing research in forest entomology, Atwood spent much of her childhood in the backwoods of Northern Quebec and back and forth between Ottawa, Sault Ste. Marie and Toronto. She did not attend school full-time until she was 11 years old. She became a voracious reader of literature, Dell pocketbook mysteries, Grimm's Fairy Tales, Canadian animal stories, and comic books. She attended Leaside High School in Leaside, Toronto and graduated in 1957.

Atwood began writing at age six and realized she wanted to write professionally when she was 16. In 1957, she began studying at Victoria University in the University of Toronto. 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.

In the fall of 1961, after winning the E.J. Pratt Medal for her privately-printed book of poems, Double Persephone, she began graduate studies at Harvard's Radcliffe College with a Woodrow Wilson fellowship. She obtained a master's degree (MA) from Radcliffe in 1962 and pursued further graduate studies at Harvard University for 2 years, but never finished because she never completed a dissertation on “The English Metaphysical Romance” in 1967. She has taught at the University of British Columbia (1965), Sir George Williams University in Montreal (1967-68), the University of Alberta (1969-79), York University in Toronto (1971-72), and New York University, where she was Berg Professor of English.

In 1968, Atwood married Jim Polk, whom she divorced in 1973. She formed a relationship with fellow novelist Graeme Gibson soon after and moved to Alliston, Ontario, north of Toronto. In 1976 their daughter, Eleanor Jess Atwood Gibson, was born. (Graeme Gibson had two sons, Matt and Grae, from a previous marriage.) Atwood returned to Toronto in 1980. She divides her time between Toronto and Pelee Island, Ontario.

In March 2008 it was announced by Atwood, via television hookup between Toronto and Vancouver, that she had accepted her first chamber opera commission. 'Pauline' will be on the subject of Pauline Johnson, a writer and Canadian artist long a subject of fascination to Atwood. It will star Judith Forst, with music by Christos Hatzis, and be produced by City Opera of Vancouver. 'Pauline' will be set at Vancouver, British Columbia, in March of 1913, in the last week in the life of Johnson.

Works

Novels

Poetry collections

Short fiction collections

Anthologies edited

Children's books

Non-fiction

Drawings


Political Involvement

Atwood and her partner Graeme Gibson are members of the Green Party of Canada and strong supporters of GPC leader Elizabeth May, whom Atwood has referred to as fearless, honest, reliable and knowledgeable. In the 2008 federal election she attended a rally for the Bloc Quebecois, 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 Quebec. In a Globe and Mail editorial, she urged Canadians to vote for any other party to stop a Conservative majority.

Atwood has strong views on environmental issues, such as suggesting that gas-powered leaf blowers and lawn mowers be banned, and has made her own home more energy efficient – including not having air-conditioning - by installing awnings and skylights that open. She and her partner also use a hybrid car when they are in the city. Atwood is also a very active feminist.

During the debate in 1997 over a free trade agreement between Canada and the United States, Atwood came out against the deal. Her opposition included an essay she wrote opposing the agreement.

See also

Notes

References

  • Carrington de Papp, I. Margaret Atwood and Her Works. Toronto: EWC, 1985.
  • Cooke, N. Margaret Atwood: A Biography. Toronto: ECW, 1998.
  • Hengen, Shannon and Ashley Thomson. Margaret Atwood: A Reference Guide, 1988-2005. Lanham, MD: Scarecrow Press, 2007.
  • Howells, Coral Ann. Margaret Atwood. New York: St. Martin’s, 1996.
  • Howells, Coral Ann. The Cambridge Companion to Margaret Atwood. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2006. ISBN 0-521-54851-9
  • Rigney, B. Margaret Atwood. Totowa, NJ: Barnes & Noble, 1987.
  • Rosenburg H. J. Margaret Atwood. Boston: Twayne, 1984.
  • Sullivan, Rosemary. The Red Shoes: Margaret Atwood Starting Out. Toronto: HarperFlamingoCanada, 1998. ISBN 0-00-255423-2

Awards

External links

Interviews

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