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 written award-winning poetry, short stories and novels, including The Circle Game (1966), The Handmaid’s Tale (1985), The Blind Assassin (2000), Oryx and Crake (2003) and The Tent (2006). Her works have been translated into an array of different languages and seen several screen adaptations, with both Handmaid’s Tale and Alias Grace becoming miniseries in 2017.
She has earned dozens of honorary degrees and numerous awards, including the Booker Prize (2019 and 2000), 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 Los Angeles Times Innovator’s Award (2012).
The American Academy of Arts & Sciences awarded Margaret Atwood the Emerson-Thoreau Medal for her distinguished achievement in the field of literature.