Atwood, Margaret Eleanor

The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed.

Atwood, Margaret Eleanor

Margaret Eleanor Atwood, 1939–, Canadian novelist and poet. Atwood is a skilled and powerful storyteller whose novels, mainly set in the near future, have sometimes made use of such popular genres as historical, detective, and science fiction. Her writing typically treats contemporary issues, such as feminism, sexual politics, the fate of Canada and Canadian literature, and the intrusive nature of mass society. Her best-known novel, The Handmaid's Tale (1986), is set in a mid-21st-century American dystopia ruled by religious extremists. Among her other works are the novels The Edible Woman (1969), Surfacing (1972), Bodily Harm (1981), The Robber Bride (1993), Alias Grace (1996), The Blind Assassin (2000; Booker Prize), The Penelopiad (2005), and the postapocalyptic trilogy comprised of Oryx and Crake (2003), The Year of the Flood (2009), and MaddAddam (2013); and the short stories collected in Dancing Girls (1983), Bluebeard's Eggs (1993), and Moral Disorder (2006). She also has written several volumes of poetry, including The Circle Game (1965), Power Politics (1970), and True Stories (1981), and numerous essays. Her nonfiction includes Payback: Debt and the Shadow Side of Wealth (2008) and In Other Worlds: SF and the Human Imagination (2011).

See interviews in E. G. Ingersoll, ed., Margaret Atwood: Conversations (1990) and V.-L. Beaulieu, ed., Two Solicitudes: Conversations (1998); biography by N. Cooke (1998); studies by A. E. and C. N. Davidson, ed. (1981), S. E. Grace and L. Weir (1983), F. Davey (1984), J. Mallinson (1984), J. H. Rosenberg (1984), B. H. Rigney (1987), J. McCombs, ed. (1988), K. VanSpanckeren and J. G. Castro, ed. (1988), S. Hengen (1993), E. Rao (1993), S. R. Wilson (1993), C. Nicholson, ed. (1994), C. A. Howells (1996), L. M. York, ed. (1994), K. F. Stein (1999), H. Bloom, ed. (2000), R. M. Nischik, ed. (2000), P. Cuder (2003), C. Tennant (2003), and S. R. Wilson (2003).

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