Margaret Atwood Birth:
Margaret Atwood was born November 18, 1939 in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada.
Margaret Atwood Background:
Margaret Atwood spent much of the early years of her childhood living in the Ontario wilderness, where her father worked as an entomologist. Her family moved to Toronto when she was 11 years old, which was when Atwood finally attended school full-time. From an early age Atwood was a gifted writer. She began writing at the age of six and committed to pursuing writing as a career when she was 16.
Atwood studied at Victoria College, University of Toronto, completed a master's degree at Radcliffe College, and subsequently studied at Harvard for two years after that. She married in 1968 and divorced in 1973. Thereafter, she entered into a longterm relationship with fellow Canadian novelist Graeme Gibson, with whom she moved back to the Toronto area and in 1976 gave birth to their daughter, Eleanor Jess Atwood Gibson.
Margaret Atwood's Writing:
Atwood published her first book of poetry in 1964 and has published several more since, the most recent being The Door (2007). Throughout her career she has tended to alternate between writing poetry and prose. She has several short story collections to her name, as well as numerous novels, which tend towards satirical commentary on society, oftentimes in the guise of speculative fiction.
The Handmaid's Tale (1985) is perhaps Atwood's best known novel and emblematic of the social criticism for which Atwood is famous. The Handmaid's Tale is the winner of the 1987 Arthur C. Clarke award and the 1985 Governor General's Award. It is set in a near-future dystopia in which the United States has been overthrown by the Republic of Gilead, a racist and chauvinistic society in which the main character and narrator, a woman called Offred, is kept as a concubine ("handmaid") for reproductive purposes.
Oryx and Crake (2003) similarly showcases Atwood's prowess with social commentary in a post-apocalyptic, speculative fiction centered around scientific technology that has spiraled out of control and the resulting dystopia.
Margaret Atwood's September 2009 novel, The Year of the Flood, is set in a landscape concurrent to that of Oryx and Crake and contains some of the same characters.