Mirror Mirror Series: Margaret Atwood
It’s been a while since we had a Mirror Mirror instalment and this one is sure to be interesting. Margaret Eleanor Atwood is a Canadian at heart, being born in Ottowa on November 18, 1939. She began writing at the tender age of 6, but her realisation of wanting to be a writer came a decade later.
Atwood didn’t attend school full-time until she reached the eighth grade, and was in her 22 year of life when graduating from the University of Toronto with a Bachelor of Arts in English (honours) and a minor in philosophy and French.
As well as graduating from University in 1961, she won the E.J. Pratt medal for Double Persephone, a book of poems she’d published privately, and armed with a fellowship from Woodrow Wilson she began graduate studies at Radcliff College completing them a year later.
She went on to teach in Universities across British Colombia, Alberta, Alabama, Toronto and Montreal, as well as becoming the Berg Professor of English at New York University.
There can only be one person to be the first to receive prestigious awards and Margaret was the first to receive the Arthur C. Clarke award in 1987 for The Handmaid’s Tale, the same book was also nominated for a Nebula Award in 1986 and a Prometheus Award in 1997. And though the three awards are synonymous with science fiction, Atwood did not see her work as fitting this genre. She explained… “For me, the science fiction label belongs on books with things in them that we can’t yet do…. speculative fiction means a work that employs the means already to hand and that takes place on Planet Earth.”
Margaret is also a known environmentalist, philanthropist and political heavy weight. She was an honorary joint president of the Rare Bird Club within BirdLife International, was the subject of the 2010 documentary, In The Wake of the Flood, by Canadian director Ron Mann following her on the book tour for The Year of the flood, and in 1987 spoke out against free trade proposals between Canada and America.
For writers perhaps her most lasting philanthropic venture was becoming the founder of the Writers Trust of Canada. Encouraging budding writers to make their mark on the world as she has.
There really is no question that Margaret Atwood is a much respected personality.
Now comes the exciting part for Brisbane people. On the 25th of February 2013 Margaret Atwood will continue her tour for The Year of the Flood with a one night only Evening of Words and Music. Tickets are selling fast and for more information you can head over to the Brisbane Writers Festival website or click the link… http://www.qtix.com.au/qcgu/event/bwf_atwood_13.aspx