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Margaret Atwood

Updated on March 16, 2013

Margaret Atwood

Margaret Atwood is an accomplished and versatile Canadian author who has written dozens of books, including novels, poetry and short story collections, children's stories, and nonfiction works on writing and literature. She has also contributed countless articles to publications ranging from The Harvard Educational Review to Playboy and is an activist and inventor.

A companion to the 2003 novel Oryx and Crake, The Year of the Flood, released September 22, 2009, is available from

"The long-awaited new novel from Margaret Atwood. The Year of the Flood is a dystopic masterpiece and a testament to her visionary power.

The times and species have been changing at a rapid rate, and the social compact is wearing as thin as environmental stability. Adam One, the kindly leader of the God's Gardeners--a religion devoted to the melding of science and religion, as well as the preservation of all plant and animal life--has long predicted a natural disaster that will alter Earth as we know it. Now it has occurred, obliterating most human life. Two women have survived: Ren, a young trapeze dancer locked inside the high-end sex club Scales and Tails, and Toby, a God's Gardener barricaded inside a luxurious spa where many of the treatments are edible.

Have others survived? Ren's bioartist friend Amanda? Zeb, her eco-fighter stepfather? Her onetime lover, Jimmy? Or the murderous Painballers, survivors of the mutual-elimination Painball prison? Not to mention the shadowy, corrupt policing force of the ruling powers...

Meanwhile, gene-spliced life forms are proliferating: the lion/lamb blends, the Mo'hair sheep with human hair, the pigs with human brain tissue. As Adam One and his intrepid hemp-clad band make their way through this strange new world, Ren and Toby will have to decide on their next move. They can't stay locked away...

By turns dark, tender, violent, thoughtful, and uneasily hilarious, The Year of the Flood is Atwood at her most brilliant and inventive."

Get The Year of the Flood on

Margaret Atwood Biography in Brief

Margaret Atwood was born on November 18, 1939, in Ottawa, Canada. She graduated with a Bachelor of Arts from Victoria University at the University of Toronto and earned a master's degree at Radcliffe College in 1962. She has been married to author Graeme Gibson for more than 30 years and currently lives in Toronto.

Wilderness Tips is a collection of short stories by Margaret Atwood published in 1991. It includes "Hairball," the graphic story of Kat, her married lover and boss Ger, and Kat's just-removed ovarian cyst, which she keeps in a jar of formaldehyde on her mantle. "Hairball" was the first Margaret Atwood I ever read, and it shocked and delighted me and made me a lifelong fan.

  • "True Trash"
  • "Hairball"
  • "Isis in Darkness"
  • "'Goodbye, Gerald,' she says. She pronounces the name with mockery. It's a negation of him, an abolishment of him, like ripping a medal off his chest. It's a warning."
  • "The Bog Man"
  • "Death By Landscape"
  • "Uncles"
  • "The Age of Lead"
  • "Weight"
  • "Wilderness Tips"
  • "Hack Wednesday"

Short Story Collections by Margaret Atwood

The Blind Assassin

The Blind Assassin, a novel awarded the Booker Prize in 2000, is four stories in one, with the main narrative in the voice of Iris Chase Griffen, an old woman approaching her death and struggling to finish a memoir recalling the lives of Iris and her sister Laura, socialites in Canada over the course of the 20th century. Newspaper clippings interspersed throughout the book help to recount the events of

their lives and those of Iris' prominent father, husband, and sister-in-law.

Within the novel is Laura's novella, which was published by Iris after Laura's apparent suicide. The novella is entitled The Blind Assassin and is about an upper-class woman's affair with a troublesome and troubled man. Within the novella is a science fiction story (the source of the book's title) told by the man during the nameless couple's trysts.

The Blind Assassin is a fictional memoir, a love story, a mystery, a tragedy, and a pulp science fiction tale all in one. It is my favorite Margaret Atwood book, and I have read it countless times. Each of the four stories within has a different style and voice and is fascinating on its own, and together they create a suspenseful and fantastic read.

Margaret Atwood's Latest Book of Poetry - The Door

Margaret Atwood's latest book of poetry is The Door, released in November 2007.

The Handmaid's Tale

Margaret Atwood's most widely known novel, 1985's The Handmaid's Tale, is the story of an America in the near future in which fertility has greatly declined and women are given classifications such as Marthas, older, infertile women assigned as domestic workers; Wives, who are upper-class women married to Commanders; Handmaids, fertile women who are assigned to Commanders whose wives are infertile; and Econowives, who are expected to perform all female duties for lower-ranked men.

The story is told from the point of view of Offred, whose Commander (His name is Fred, and so her name is "of Fred.") is apparently infertile, which means that she will be unable to comply with the requirement that she bear a child for him unless she becomes pregnant by another man, as is the unofficial practice in such situations.

The Handmaid's Tale
The Handmaid's Tale
The 1990 film adaptation of the novel stars Natasha Richardson, Faye Dunaway, Aidan Quinn, and Robert Duvall.

Moral Disorder and Other Stories

Moral Disorder and Other Stories
Moral Disorder and Other Stories
The collection of short stories titled Moral Disorder and Other Stories reads like a novel, with each story connected through members of a family.

The Long Pen

Margaret Atwood's invention, the LongPen, is a tool that allows an author to participate in book signings from across the world. The author and fan interact face-to-face via videoconferencing, as the author writes an inscription on a tablet that depicts the book, which has been placed under the pen at the fan's location. With the click of a button, the inscription is transmitted from the tablet to the pen, and the book is signed by the tool with real ink in front of the fan.

The LongPen is a convenient marketing tool and time saver for the author, but it is also a testament to Margaret Atwood's environmentalism, as the official website shows in its tally of carbon emissions saved by eliminating air travel for book signings and events.

Find out more at the official site of the LongPen.

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