Margaret Atwood: award winner

Atwood deserves an award for winning awards; incredibly, this famous Canadian author has won over ninety literary awards and has twenty honorary degrees to her name. The fascinating thing about her list of literary accolades is its sheer diversity: Canadian, obviously ( the Governor General’s Award) but also French, Italian, Swedish, Welsh and German. And there are awards for poetry, science fiction, economics, humanities, literary fiction and crime fiction here.

Margaret Atwood is a genuinely international author, in both her reputation and her themes. Her influence lies in her talent for fictionalizing great social and political concerns: human rights, feminism, environmentalism, the place of the family and the individual in society. Her characters are vivid and believable creations, ordinary people trapped in situations beyond their control – Offred in the cruel feminist dystopia of The Handmaid’s Tale, Jimmy in the environmental disaster of Oryx and Crake, Grace in the psychiatrist’s care in the prison of Alias Grace.

A major concern in Atwood’s work is the existence of human evil. She writes about this in the most intimate of contexts and relationships – marriage in The Robber Bride, children’s lives in Cat’s Eye, servants and masters in Alias Grace.  The harm that men and women do to one another escalates from the personal to the political as she examines the ways in which cruelty and viciousness at home flow on to the social life of communities.

For a complete list of Margaret Atwood’s writing, check this bibliography, and for a reasonable list of her ‘best books’, her most unmissable novels, start reading here. We hold all of her work in the Barr Smith Library.


1 Comment


One response to “Margaret Atwood: award winner

  1. sdz

    Cats Eye is still my favourite Margaret Atwood book . I dont think its quite the same now, but when I grew up, children inhabited their own world, and adults theirs. Adults weren’t really interested in the small dramas of kids lives, and there was no point in complaining about anything, for instance if a teacher or anyone bullied you. adults would just say, ‘ well ,you must have done something to deserve it’ . I read it a long time ago, but I seem to remember that Margaret Atwood captures exactly this in the book. I also think that this is why so much child abuse was never reported…no one listened!
    It’s a riveting read, but one I’m not sure I want to revisit!