Atwood, Margaret Eleanor

Atwood, Margaret Eleanor, 1939–, Canadian novelist and poet. Atwood is a skilled and powerful storyteller whose novels, mainly set in the near future, sometimes make 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 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 made up of Oryx and Crake (2003), The Year of the Flood (2009), and MaddAddam (2013). Her short stories have been collected in Dancing Girls (1983), Bluebeard's Eggs (1993), Moral Disorder (2006), and Stone Mattress (2014). 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) biographies by N. Cooke (1998) and R. Sullivan (1999) 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), L. M. York, ed. (1994), C. A. Howells (1996), K. F. Stein (1999), H. Bloom, ed. (2000), R. M. Nischik, ed. (2000), P. Cuder (2003), C. Tennant (2003), and S. R. Wilson (2003).

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

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