Life and Poems of Margaret Atwood

“There is so much silence between the words…” An Overview of Works, Styles, and Themes Margaret Atwood has written a great number of novels and other forms of literature. The major press editions are as follows:

  • ¨1970, The Journals of Susanna Moodie
  • ¨1987, Selected Poems II: Poems Selected and New, 1976-1986
  • ¨1969, The Edible Woman1985, The Handmaid’s Tale
  • ¨1972, Surfacing1988, Cat’s Eye
  • ¨1976, Lady Oracle1993, The Robber Bride
  • ¨1979, Life Before Man1996, Alias Grace
  • ¨1995, Princess Prunella and the Purple Peanut
  • ¨1972, Survival: A Thematic Guide to Canadian Literature
  • ¨1977, Days of the Rebels 1815-1840
  • ¨1982, Second Words: Selected Critical Prose
  • ¨1995, Strange Things: The Malevolent North in Canadian Literature
  • ¨1982, The New Oxford Book of Canadian Verse in English
  • ¨1986, The Oxford Book of Canadian Short Stories in English
  • ¨1989, The Best American Short Stories
  • ¨1995, The New Oxford Book of Canadian Short Stories in English

Although many have used Margaret Atwoods style of writing poetry, not one has yet to compete with her words. Typically, Margaret sticks to formal style of poetry, using original text with separated stanzas. Margarets stlye of writing gives an overwhelming effect to the reader; moreover, her style of writing adjusts to the theme of the particular The essential features of Atwood’s fictions and poetry has been described as a search for a personal and national identity. Survival is a central theme throughout her works, as is Margaret Atwood was born in Ottawa, Ontario, on November 18, 1939.

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Because her father was a forest entomologist, Atwood spent most of her childhood living in the Canadian Wilderness. During the eight months of each year that her father did insect research in the forest, the Atwood family lived in “a cabin with a wood stove and several kerosene lanterns. There were bears and wolves and moose and loons” ( qtd. in “Author While this lifestyle was exciting, she did not have most modern conviences and technology. To entertain herself, Atwood read books. They became her only means for entertainment and escape. “I read them all, even when they weren’t supposed to be for children” (qtd. in “Author Profile”).

During this childhood of reading, Atwood also began to write. By the age of six, ATwood was writing poems, morality plays, comic books, and an unfinished novel about an ant. Ten years later, Atwood decided that she only wanted to write. She wanted to live a double life; to go places she had not been before; to examine life on earth; to come to know people in ways, and at depths, that were otherwise impossible; to be surprised; and to give something of what she had received.

Two years after this life-altering decision, Atwood entered Victoria College at the University of Toronto. She received her bachelor’s degree from Victoria College in 1961, and then went on to receive her Master’s degree from Radcliffe College in Cambridge, Massachusetts. Atwood also received education from Harvard University in Cambridge, Massachusetts, during 1962-63 and 1965-67.

Atwood began her career through self-publication. She sold these books for fifty cents each. During this period, Atwood married Graeme Gibson, a fellow writer who was born in London, Ontario, in 1934. Togehter, they have three grown children and two cats. Although Atwood both grew up and resides presently in Canada, she ahs lived in numerous cities throughout the world. The Canadian residences include Ottawa, Sault Ste. Marie, Toronto, Montreal, Edmonton, Alliston, and Vancouver.

In the United States, Atwood has lived in Boston, Massachusetts, and in Alabama. She has also lived and travelled in England, France, Italy , and Germany. Geographical, Historical, Political and Social Influences With respect to the fact that Atwood was raised, and spent most of her childhood in the Canadian wilderness, it is safe to say that her geographical surroundings influenced her in several ways. While residing in the wilderness of Canada, Atwood discovered her ture passion – literature.

Some say that if Atwood had not been in the wilderness, but rather around the arising technology others were surrounded by, perhaps we would not have such magical works in our presence today. Although Atwood has struck upon many touchy subjects in literature, she has yet to be significantly influenced by historical perspectives. She may look to her past for a historical standpoint, or other significant women of the past; however, Atwood is known well for her futuristic, and her ‘in the now’ approach to writing. As far as literature and internet resources today, it appears the Atwood was not influenced in any means by a political outlook. The closest that one may come to assuming her political influence would be in her 1979 novel, “Life Before Man”.

For many individuals in todays society, it is quite hard to avoid being socially influenced in everyday life; therefore, to believe that no one author is socially influenced in their Margaret Atwood has received a great number of awards and honarary degrees:

  • 1965, President’s Metal, University of Western Ontario
  • 1966, Governor Generals Award, Circle Game
  • 1967, Centennial Commision Potry Competition, First
  • 1969, Union Poetry Prize, Poetry ( Chicago)
  • 1974, The Bess Hoskins Prize, Poetry (Chicago)
  • 1977, The City of Toronto Book Award
  • 1977, The Canadian Bookseller’s Association Award
  • 1977, Periodical Distributors of Canada Short Fiction
  • 1981, Companion of the order of Canada
  • 1982, Welsh Arts Council Internationl Writer’s Prize
  • 1983, Periodical Distributors of Canada and the Foundation for The Advancement of
  • Canadian Letters Book of the Year Award
  • 1986, Governor General’s Award, The Handmaids Tale
  • 1986, Los Angeles Times Fiction Award
  • 1986, Ms. Magazine, Woman of the Year
  • 1987, Shortlisted for the Booker Prize (England)
  • 1987, Shortlisted for the Ritz Hemingway Prize (Paris)
  • 1987, Arthur C. Clarke Award for best Science Fiction
  • 1987, Commonwealth Literary Prize, Regional Winner
  • 1987, Council for Advancement and support of Education, Silver Medal, Best Article
  • 1987, Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada
  • 1988, National Magazine Award for Environmental Journalism, First Prize
  • 1988, American Academy of Arts and Sciences, Foreign Honorary member,
  • 1989, Torgi Talking Book (CNIB), Cat’s Eye
  • 1989, Foundation for the Advancement of Canadian Letters in conjuction with the
  • periodical Maketers’ of Canada Book of the Year, Cat’s Eye
  • 1989, Shortlisted for the Booker Prize of the Year, Cat’s Eye, (England)
  • 1990, Centennial Medal, Harvard University
  • 1992, Trillium Award for Excellence in Ontario Writing, Wilderness Tips
  • 1992, John Hughes Prize, from the Welsh Development Board
  • 1992, Book of the Year Award from the Periodical Marketers of Canada, Wilderness
  • 1993, Canadian Authors’ Association Novel of the Year, The Robber Bride
  • 1994, Commerative Medal for the 125th Anniversary of Canadian Confederation
  • 1994, Trillium Award for Excellence in Ontario Writing, The Robber Bride
  • 1994, Government of France’s Chevalier dans l’Ordre des Arts st des lettres
  • 1994, Sunday Times Award for Literary Excellence, (London, UK)
  • 1995, Swedish Humour Association’s Internatioinal Humerous Writer Award
  • 1995, Best Local Author, NOW Magazine Readers’ Poll
  • 1995, Trillium Award for EXcellence in Ontario Writing, Morning in the Burned
  • 1996, Norwegian Order of Literary Merit
  • 1996, Shortlisted for the Booker Prize, Alias Grace, (England)
  • 1996, Best Local Author, NOW Magazine Readers’ Poll
  • 1996, The Giller Prize; for Alias Grace

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