Born in Ottawa, Canada, Atwood spent her early years in northern Quebec. She earned an undergraduate degree from Victoria College at the University of Toronto in 1961 and a master’s degree from Radcliffe College of Harvard University in 1962.
She served as president of the Writers’ Union of Canada and president of International PEN, Canadian Centre (English Speaking). Earlier in her career, Atwood taught English at several Canadian universities and served as a writer-in-residence at universities in Australia, Canada, and the United States.
She has earned dozens of honorary degrees and numerous awards, including the Peace Prize of the German Book Trade (2017), the Franz Kafka International Literary Prize (2017), the PEN Center USA Lifetime Achievement Award (2017), and the Booker Prize (2019 and 2000).