Born on November 18, 1939 in Ontario
, Canada, Margaret Eleanor Atwood
is an author, novelist, and poet. Amassing more than 55 awards, her accolades include two Governor General’s Awards for The Circle Game, a collection of poems, and The Handmaid’s Tale, a novel that was eventually made into a movie.
Atwood’s contribution to Canadian literature was recognized when she received Britain’s most illustrious award, the Booker Prize, in 2000. She donated the prize money to environmental and literary causes that she supports.
Atwood moved with her family to Sault Ste. Marie, Canada
in 1945 and then to Toronto
during the following year. Her childhood exposed her to the beauty of the northern Ontario’s nature as her father worked as an entomologist. One of her pastimes, even at an early age, was writing. By the age of six, Atwood was already writing plays, poems, books, and even a novel. She used to write poetry in high school where she had Edgar Allan Poe, a writer famous for his dark, mysterious themes, as a favorite.
When Atwood was 16, she already made the decision to pursue a writing career. She received a Bachelor’s degree in 1961 from the University of Toronto
. Atwood moved on to complete a Master’s degree at Radcliffe College in Massachusetts. She also studied at Harvard University from 1962 to 1963 and 1965 until 1967.
The popularity of her work is indisputable. Her books have been translated to various languages and most of them became bestsellers in Canada, America, and around the globe. There is even a Margaret Atwood Society and a Margaret Atwood Newsletters. Her works are widely thought and discussed as part of women’s studies in college courses worldwide.
Atwood moved from print to the broadcast medium. In 1981, she worked on Snowbird, which is a television drama. Her children’s book, Anna’s Pet was ready to be staged in 1986. Often, Atwood’s work is seen as reflections about the culture at the time.
In her poetry and writing, Atwood mainly used alternated prose, a style that does not make use of rhyme. It is traditionally considered that poetry expresses intimate emotions while novels reflect wider social issues. However, Atwood managed to create a cross-connection between the two genres. For instance, critics point out that her collection of short stories in Murder in the Dark is a point in question.
Atwood’s writings are known to be detail-oriented and quite witty. Often times, her novels take jabs as the state of society. She is known for using heroines who are representative of the modern women, usually a writer or an artist, who has commitments to society. The plot usually traces the survival and struggle of women in a society where men dominated and women had allowed to be trapped.
Aside from her writing, Atwood has also been an avid photographer and painter. Her medium of choice is watercolor and her paintings often describe what she writes. On occasions, Atwood has been the designer of her own book covers.