Canadian author Margaret Atwood has reaped international recognition and commercial success for her body of work that spans poetry, novels, short stories, and criticism. Judy Klemesrud wrote in the New York Times, "During the 1970s she was mainly a literary cult figure, read by a devoted group of feminists who were taken with the role reversals of her male and female characters." Starting in the early 1980s, though, Atwood began to gain widespread acclaim for her novels, including The Handmaid's Tale and The Robber Bride. Many have complimented her ability to delve deeply into issues of importance to women while imbuing the stories with satire and without coming off as heavy-handed. In 2000 she won the coveted Booker Prize--Britain's highest literary honor--on her fourth time nominated. Atwood has said that although she is a feminist, she favors women's right to choose their roles, whether they are unconventional or traditional. "I don't think women should be made to feel incompetent, subservient or inferior, nor do I think they should be put down for choosing to be married, mothers or flower arrangers," she remarked to Klemesrud. Her novel The Heart Goes Last released in September 2015. Atwood enjoyed continued visibility in 2017, when Hulu's adaptation of The Handmaid's Tale was recognized by the Emmy Awards.
Margaret Eleanor Atwood was born on November 18, 1939, in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada. Her father, Carl Edmund Atwood, was a forest entomologist, and her mother, Dorothy (Killiam) Atwood, was a dietician. Atwood also has a brother and younger sister. Each year from November to April the family lived in the wilderness of northern Quebec for her father's job, which involved research for the government. Although during these spartan days Atwood chopped wood, hauled water, and had already begun to write, she remarked to Cheryl McCall in People, "I was told there were five things a girl could be: nurse, teacher, airline stewardess, typist and home economist. I decided on home economist because it paid the most."
However, Atwood began writing again in high school. Influenced strongly by the work of Edgar Allan Poe, she concentrated on poetry and decided at age 16 to become a writer. She did not take the calling lightly. In Ms., she wrote, "I was scared to death." For one thing, she had never heard of any Canadian writers, and for another, she believed that a dreadful fate awaited all women writers. She outlined to Kim Hubbard in People, "Emily Dickinson lived in a cupboard, Charlotte Bronte died in childbirth. They were weird like Christina Rossetti, or they drank or committed suicide like Sylvia Plath. Writing seemed a kind of call to doom. I thought I would probably get [tuberculosis] and live in a garret and have a terrible life." Nevertheless, she was ready for the challenge. "My choices were between excellence and doom on the one hand, and mediocrity and coziness on the other," she wrote in Ms. "I gritted my teeth, set my face to the wind, gave up double-dating, and wore horn-rims and a scowl so I would not be mistaken for a puffball."
After graduating from Leaside High School in 1957, Atwood entered the English honors program at the University of Toronto's Victoria College. There she studied under noted critic Northrop Frye and was influenced by his practice of using mythical and biblical images. While an undergraduate, Atwood wrote book reviews and articles for the student literary magazine, and she had her first poem accepted for publication when she was 19.
Early Writing Career
In 1961 Atwood received her bachelor of arts degree and also published her first volume of poetry, Double Persephone. For this she collected her very first award, the E. J. Pratt Medal. The next year, she obtained her master of arts degree from Radcliffe College in Cambridge, Massachusetts, where she studied Victorian literature. Afterward she won a Woodrow Wilson fellowship and went on to study Victorian literature and Gothic romances at Harvard University in 1962 and 1963 and again from 1965 to 1967. However, she never finished her dissertation.
In between attending Harvard, Atwood worked as a waitress, cashier, and market researcher. She also continued to submit book reviews and articles to periodicals such as Alphabet, Poetry, and Canadian Literature, and saw her poems published in magazines like Tamarack Review, Quarry, and Kayak. Throughout the mid-1960s, the Cranbrook Academy of Art in Bloomfield Hills, Michigan, released four volumes of her poetry: The Circle Game, 1964; Kaleidoscopes: Baroque, 1965; Talismans for Children, 1965; and Speeches for Doctor Frankenstein, 1966. A revised edition of The Circle Game, which was actually one long piece, won the Governor General's Award--Canada's highest literary honor--in 1966, bringing her national recognition. She also won first prize from the Canadian Centennial Commission Poetry Competition in 1967 for The Animals in That Country, a collection of free-verse poems.
Subsequently, publisher Jack McClelland read an article about Atwood in which she mentioned an unpublished book. He was in the midst of dictating a letter to her to ask to see it when he realized she had sent it to him two years prior. He contacted her, and in 1969 published The Edible Woman, her first novel. She had finished one other manuscript before this, but it never did see publication.
The Edible Woman received enthusiastic reviews and pegged Atwood as a feminist writer. In it, the protagonist, Marian McAlpin, rebels against the prospect of marriage. Believing that the men in her life are trying to sap her independence and individuality, she becomes obsessed with the idea of consuming and finds she cannot force herself to eat. Eventually she bakes a sponge cake in the form of woman and asks her fiancé to eat it as a symbol of his desire to "assimilate" her. He refuses, the engagement is called off, and Marian returns to a normal diet. Some critics did not find Atwood's black humor amusing and others pointed out flaws common to first novels, but still others thought it was promising.
After this Atwood released three more books of poetry, The Journals of Susanna Moody, 1970, Procedures for Underground, 1971, and Power Politics, 1972. Many critics consider the latter, a series of poems about a failed love affair, her finest collection. Meanwhile, Atwood supplemented her income by teaching and editing. She was a lecturer in English literature at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver in 1964 and 1965 and at Sir George Williams University in Montreal, Quebec, in 1967 and 1968, then worked as an assistant professor of English literature at Toronto's York University in 1971 and 1972. She also served as an editor and a member of the board of directors at the House of Anansi Press in Toronto from 1971 to 1973.
Gaining a Reputation as a Literary Figure
Despite earning a reputation in literary circles, Atwood was not thrust into the national spotlight until the release of her controversial 1972 work, Survival: A Thematic Guide to Canadian Literature. An unexpected best-seller, it examined the common motif of survival in Canadian literature. It also noted, though, that Canadians tend to be willing victims--to a colonial mentality, to influences of the United States, and to the geography and weather, in addition to other things. First and foremost, however, Survival postulated that Canadian literature exists and has a distinct cultural slant. Though this is taken for granted today, some critics at the time, in fact, argued about it. Thanks to the sales of Survival, Atwood was able to give up full-time teaching and editing to concentrate on her writing. "Success for me meant no longer having to teach at a university," she once noted to Hubbard in People.
Though Atwood has served as a visiting lecturer and writer-in-residence at various colleges since, she went on to even greater acclaim as an author, specifically thanks to her novels, though her poetry and story collections have also been applauded. In fact, in 1977 she was honored with the City of Toronto Book Award, the Canadian Booksellers' Association Award, and the Periodical Distributors of Canada Short Fiction Award, all for Dancing Girls and Other Stories.
In 1972 Atwood released her second novel, Surfacing, which met with critical and popular success. This book contained many of the themes from her poetry, including a search for identity, the elusiveness of language, the importance of a person's heritage, and the relationships between humans, animals, and nature. Next, 1976's Lady Oracle, like her first novel, contained feminist themes and humor, but critical reaction was mixed.
In 1980 Atwood began attracting even more attention with the novel Life Before Man, a sad yet funny examination of a love triangle and dissolving marriage. In it, the author tackles issues regarding relationships and the search for self-identity while drawing ongoing metaphors to the natural history museum where one of the female characters works. The dinosaur bones open up dialogue on life's meaning and the need to go on. All the while, Atwood deftly infuses the work with a satirical humor.
Shortly after the publication of Life Before Man, Atwood's earlier work Surfacing was released as a feature film, and Hollywood forces began jockeying for the rights to her current novel as well. Following this Atwood published Bodily Harm in 1981. It continued with a feminist look at searching for one's self, and like her earlier novels, earned accolades. The story centers on a young woman who pens shallow feature articles for magazines. After a partial mastectomy, she retreats to an island nation and gets caught up in the unstable political situation there.
In 1986 Atwood took a radical turn of sorts with The Handmaid's Tale, which bumped her up from literary figure to outright celebrity. The book, though explicitly feminist as her others, is a science-fiction tale reminiscent of George Orwell's Nineteen Eighty-Four. It is set in what was then the near future--perhaps the late 1990s--in an American society that has been overrun by religious extremists. Women have lost virtually all rights, and due to certain circumstances, the birth rate has fallen steeply. To remedy this, those at the bottom of the social rung are forced to bear children for members of the ruling class.
When Atwood began composing the story, she did not set out with a political agenda. Instead she started with just a visual idea, she told Le Anne Schreiber in Vogue, "of women walking down a street in long, red dresses and white, face-concealing bonnets, and a second scene of a public execution, with hooded figures hanging on a wall." Then, she explained to Marvyn Rothstein in the New York Times, "I delayed writing it for about three years after I got the idea because I felt it was too crazy. Then two things happened. I started noticing a lot of the things I thought I was more or less making up were now happening, and indeed more of them have happened since the publication of the book." For example she learned of a religious cult that oppresses women, and she began collecting clippings of news articles about women's rights being threatened in various ways or even taken away.
In addition to becoming a best-seller, The Handmaid's Tale amassed a list of honors, including the 1986 Los Angeles Times Book Award, the Arthur C. Clarke Award for Best Science Fiction, 1987, and the Commonwealth Literature Prize, also 1987. She also received her second Governor General's Award for the effort as well as a Booker Prize nomination. The novel was made into a film in 1990.
Following this Atwood veered into much more personal territory with Cat's Eye. Though many of the details are autobiographical, the author made clear in a note at the front of the novel that the characters are distinctly different from her. In it the female protagonist, Elaine Risley, looks back on her life. She is a middle-aged artist with a certain amount of fame, particularly among feminists, and grew up in the Ontario back country with an entomologist father, just like Atwood. However, Elaine had a miserable childhood due to constant tormenting from a "friend," and this has shaped her art and her life. One of the main points of the work is that women and children--not just men--can be cruel and deceiving. Cat's Eye, as with Atwood's other works, attracted kind reviews and several awards.
Atwood's next novel, The Robber Bride, 1993, concentrated on female relationships both positive and negative. Based on a Grimm's fairy tale called "The Robber Bridegroom," it centers on college friends Tony, Charis, and Roz and their evil classmate, Zenia. The story looks at the pals in middle age and chronicles Zenia's manipulations over time. Similar to Cat's Eye in that a female character wreaks havoc, it takes the premise that women can be malicious to a greater extreme because the nasty character grows up and nearly ruins the others' lives. The Robber Bride earned the Trillium Award for Excellence in Ontario Writing, the Canadian Authors' Association Novel of the Year Award, the Commonwealth Writers' Prize for the Canadian and Caribbean Region, and the Sunday Times Award for Literary Excellence.
Following this Atwood ventured into new territory once again as she tackled historical fiction. Alias Grace, published in 1996, relates the tale of an 1843 Canadian murder case involving male and female defendants. The woman, Grace Marks, and man, James McDermott, were household help accused of killing their employer and his mistress. The papers of the day turned it into a circus, revealing sordid details of the crime and speculating on whether or not the two accused parties were having a love affair. Atwood, who researched the case thoroughly with help from her sister, mined valuable feminist lessons out of the incident for her novel. It was widely celebrated and brought Atwood her third nomination for the Booker Prize.
The Blind Assassin, Atwood's tenth novel, is narrated by 82-year-old Iris Chase Griffen, who looks back at her life, her family's lives, and changes in her country over the course of the twentieth century. The book opens with the narrator telling of her sister's suicide at age 25, in which she drove a car off a bridge. The plot veers into accompanying details of war, betrayal, labor unrest, hidden secrets, and even child slavery and human sacrifice. In addition it contains a novel within a novel, a disturbing science-fiction book that is also titled The Blind Assassin, which brings Iris's sister posthumous fame. Despite some negative reviews, the novel was awarded the Booker Prize. Afterward Atwood stated she would donate the accompanying $30,000 purse to a fund to save endangered species and to literary causes.
Atwood's next novel, Oryx and Crake (2003), did not win the Booker Prize but did make the literary competition's short list. Like The Handmaid's Tale, Oryx and Crake is a science-fiction novel with a grim prognosis on where humanity is headed. Set in the United States of the future, the novel centers around Jimmy (also known as Snowman) and Crake, who have been friends since adolescence in the corporation-dominated world. While the adult Crake uses his intellectual genius to bioengineer a new and improved human race which worships him, Snowman becomes the last real human left on Earth. Also central to the story is Oryx, an impoverished girl from East Asia who becomes part of the large child pornography industry. She later becomes involved with both Snowman and Crake as their lover. Oryx also helps Crake with his mad-scientist ambitions, first as his assistant and later as teacher to his creations, the Crakers, as they learn how to exist in the world and conduct secret missions. Critics generally found Oryx and Crake to be a worthy successor to The Handmaid's Tale. Publishers Weekly called it "a riveting, disturbing tale," while Philip Hensher of Spectator claimed, "It's a powerful and exuberantly imagined book, and it's characteristic of its author that she exerts her imagination not in creating scientific monsters but in delineating the human world."
Atwood returned to Canada and autobiographical concerns with Moral Disorder (2006), a collection of interconnected short stories. At the stories' center are seven decades in the life of Nell, a Canadian woman. Also important is her partner Gilbert, commonly called Tig. The stories begin with Nell's childhood, which was partially spent in the Canadian wilderness where her scientist father worked. Atwood continues through Nell's schooling and young adult life, including her work as a teacher and editor. She eventually meets Tig and lives with him on a farm. Nell's relationship with her distant mother, her probably schizophrenic sister Lizzie, Tig's two sons, and his former wife Oona, are also touched upon by Atwood. The last stories deal with the death of her parents and the facing of one's own mortality. In Library Journal, Jenn B. Stidham commented, "The result is alternatively humorous and heart-wrenching, occasionally sardonic and always brutally honest in the depiction of our often contorted relationships with one another, with nature, and with ourselves."
The Penelopiad followed in 2005. She also released a book of poetry, The Door (2007) and a nonfiction work, Payback: Debt and the Shadow Side of Wealth (2008). Her novel The Year of the Flood came next in 2009. She published another nonfiction work, In Other Worlds: SF and the Human Imagination, in 2011. She concluded her Onyx and Crake trilogy with the 2013 novel MaddAddam, which primarily considers how to engineer a better civilization. She released a dystopian novel entitled The Heart Goes Last in fall 2015.
The Handmaid's Tale enjoyed a resurgence of popularity in 2017 when it was adapted into a series by the video streaming service Hulu. While some of the novel's features were updated to fit today's audiences, the Hulu effort stayed true to Atwood's dystopian vision. The series caught on quickly and resonated with people, even though it had been thirty years since the novel's debut. With its themes of misogyny and religious extremism, some viewers felt there were parallels between Gilead and the Trump Administration.
The Hulu adaptation won the 2017 Emmy Award for Outstanding Drama Series. Atwood, who made a cameo appearance in the pilot episode, was present onstage to accept the Emmy with the cast and crew. Actress Elisabeth Moss won the Emmy for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series for her portrayal of Offred, and actress Ann Dowd (Aunt Lydia) won Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama Series.
On top of all her other works, Atwood has also published several books for children, written radio and teleplays, and edited several anthologies. In addition to her writing career, she has been involved in several causes. In the 1970s and 1980s she was active in the Writers Union of Canada and a visible member of the human rights group Amnesty International. She also worked closely with PEN International, a global organization devoted to protecting writer's civil and human rights. In 1987 she served as chairman of the Canadian English-speaking branch of PEN. She also lobbied intensely against free trade, fearing it was a threat to Canadian culture, and has stood up for legislation to protect the environment. For her work in support of human rights and the environment, Atwood was awarded the 2016 PEN Pinter prize.
Atwood developed a new device which allows her to sign books anywhere while remaining at home. A video screen allows her to interact with a fan and use the LongPen gadget by writing on a touchpad. A setup on the other end manipulates the pen in signing the book in her handwriting. She debuted the LongPen at the London Book Fair in March of 2006.
Atwood is five feet, three inches tall, has curly brown hair and blue eyes, and is known to her friends as Peggy. In 1967 she married Jim Polk, an American novelist whom she had met at Harvard, but they separated in 1972 and divorced in 1977. Around 1972 she started a relationship with the Canadian writer Graeme Gibson and they have been together since, though they did not marry. He has two sons, Matthew and Graeme, and together they have a daughter, Jess. They live in Toronto and are avid bird and wildlife watchers.
Born Margaret Eleanor Atwood, November 18, 1939, in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada; daughter of Carl Edmund (an entomologist) and Margaret Dorothy (Killiam) Atwood; married Jim Polk, 1967 (divorced, 1977); partner, Graeme Gibson (a writer); children: (with Gibson) daughter, Jess. Education: University of Toronto, B.A., 1961; Radcliffe College, A.M., 1962; Harvard University, graduate study, 1962-63 and 1965-67. Addresses: Home--Toronto, Ontario, Canada. Office--c/o Oxford University Press, 70 Wynford Dr., Don Mills, Ontario, Canada M3C 1J9; or c/o Jonathan Cape Ltd., 32 Bedford Square, London WC1B 3EL, England. Web site--http://www.margaretatwood.ca.
Writer. University of British Columbia, Vancouver, lecturer in English literature, 1964-65; Sir George Williams University, Montreal, Quebec, lecturer in English literature, 1967-68; York University, Toronto, Ontario, assistant professor of English literature, 1971-72; House of Anansi Press, Toronto, editor and member of board of directors, 1971-73; University of Toronto, Toronto, writer-in-residence, 1972-73; University of Alabama, Tuscaloosa, writer-in-residence, 1985; New York University, New York City, Berg Visiting Professor of English, 1986; Macquarie University, North Ryde, Australia, writer-in-residence, 1987. Member, PEN International, Amnesty International, Writers' Union of Canada (vice-chairperson, 1980-81), Royal Society of Canada (fellow), Canadian Civil Liberties Association (member of board, 1973-75), Canadian Centre, American Academy of Arts and Sciences (honorary member), Anglophone (president, 1984-85).
E. J. Pratt Medal, 1961, for Double Persephone; Canada Council grant, 1965; President's Medal, University of Western Ontario, 1965; YWCA Women of Distinction Award, 1966 and 1988; Governor General's Award, 1966, for The Circle Game, and 1986, for The Handmaid's Tale; Canadian Centennial Commission Poetry Competition, first prize, 1967, for The Animals in That Country; Union Prize for poetry, 1969; Bess Hoskins Prize for poetry, 1969 and 1974; City of Toronto Book Award, Canadian Booksellers' Association Award, Periodical Distributors of Canada Short Fiction Award, all 1977, all for Dancing Girls and Other Stories; St. Lawrence Award for fiction, 1978; Radcliffe Medal,1980; Life before Man selected as a notable book of 1980, American Library Association; Molson Award, 1981; Guggenheim fellowship, 1981; named Companion of the Order of Canada, 1981; International Writer's Prize, Welsh Arts Council, 1982; Book of the Year Award, Periodical Distributors of Canada and the Foundation for the Advancement of Canadian Letters, 1983; Ida Nudel Humanitarian Award, 1986; Toronto Arts Award for writing and editing, 1986; Los Angeles Times Book Award, 1986, for The Handmaid's Tale; named Woman of the Year, Ms. magazine, 1986; Arthur C. Clarke Award for Best Science Fiction and Commonwealth Literature Prize, both 1987, both for The Handmaid's Tale; Council for the Advancement and Support of Education silver medal, 1987; Humanist of the Year award, 1987; named Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada, 1987; named Chatelaine magazine's Woman of the Year; City of Toronto Book Award, Coles Book of the Year Award, Canadian Booksellers' Association Author of the Year Award, Book of the Year Award Foundation for Advancement of Canadian Letters citation, Periodical Marketers of Canada Award, and Torgi Talking Book Award, all for Cat's Eye, all 1989; Harvard University Centennial Medal, 1990; Order of Ontario, 1990; Trillium Award for Excellence in Ontario Writing and Book of the Year Award from the Periodical Marketers of Canada, both for Wilderness Tips and Other Stories, both 1992; Commemorative Medal for the 125th Anniversary of Canadian Confederation; Trillium Award for Excellence in Ontario Writing, Canadian Authors' Association Novel of the Year Award, Commonwealth Writers' Prize for the Canadian and Caribbean Region, Sunday Times Award for Literary Excellence, all for The Robber Bride, all 1994; Government of France's Chevalier dans l'Ordre des Arts et des Lettres, 1994; Swedish Humour Association's International Humourous Writer Award, 1995, for The Robber Bride; Booker Prize, 2000, for The Blind Assassin; Booker Prize shortlist, 2003, for Oryx and Crake; Enlightenment Award, Edinburgh International Festival, 2005; Chicago Tribune Literary Prize, 2005; Markets Initiative Order of the Forest, 2006; Blue Metropolis Literary Grand Prix, 2007; Kenyon Review Literary Achievement Award, 2007; Honourary Fellow of the Royal Canadian Geographical Society, 2007; Prince of Asturias Award for Letters, 2008; Crystal Award, World Economic Forum, 2010; Nelly Sachs, 2010; Dan David Laureate, 2010; Sun Life Financial Arts & Communications Award: 2011 Canada's Most Powerful Woman, Top 100, 2011; The Governor General of Canada's Golden Jubilee Medal, 2012; Canadian Booksellers' Lifetime Achievement Award, 2012; Nashville Public Library Foundation Literary Award, 2012; Companion, Royal Society of Literature, 2012; Los Angeles Times Innovator's Award, 2012; Toronto United Church Council Heart and Vision Award, 2012; PEN Pinter Prize, 2016.
- Double Persephone, Hawkshead Press, 1961.
- The Circle Game, Cranbrook Academy of Art (Bloomfield Hills, MI), 1964; revised edition, Contact Press, 1966.
- Kaleidoscopes Baroque: A Poem, Cranbrook Academy of Art, 1965.
- Talismans for Children, Cranbrook Academy of Art, 1965.
- Speeches for Doctor Frankenstein, Cranbrook Academy of Art, 1966.
- The Animals in That Country, Little, Brown (Boston), 1968.
- The Journals of Susanna Moodie, Oxford University Press (Toronto), 1970.
- Procedures for Underground, Little, Brown, 1970.
- Power Politics, House of Anansi Press (Toronto), 1971; Harper (New York City), 1973.
- You Are Happy, Harper, 1974.
- Selected Poems, 1965-1975, Oxford University Press, 1976; Simon Schuster (New York City), 1978.
- Marsh Hawk, Dreadnaught, 1977.
- Two-Headed Poems, Oxford University Press, 1978; Simon & Schuster, 1981.
- Notes toward a Poem That Can Never Be Written, Salamander Press, 1981.
- True Stories, Oxford University Press, 1981; Simon & Schuster, 1982.
- Snake Poems, Salamander Press, 1983.
- Interlunar, Oxford University Press, 1984.
- Selected Poems II: Poems Selected and New, 1976-1986, Oxford University Press, 1986.
- Morning in the Burned House, Houghton (Boston), 1995.
- The Door, McClelland & Stewart, 2007.
- Also author of Expeditions, 1966, and What Was in the Garden, 1969.
- The Edible Woman, McClelland & Stewart (Toronto), 1969; Little, Brown, 1970.
- Surfacing, McClelland Stewart, 1972; Simon & Schuster, 1973.
- Lady Oracle, Simon & Schuster, 1976.
- Life Before Man, Simon & Schuster, 1979.
- Bodily Harm, McClelland & Stewart, 1981; Simon & Schuster, 1982.
- Encounters with the Element Man, Ewert (Concord, NH), 1982.
- Unearthing Suite, Grand Union Press, 1983.
- The Handmaid's Tale, McClelland & Stewart, 1985; Houghton, 1986.
- Cat's Eye, McClelland & Stewart, 1988; Doubleday (Garden City, NY), 1989.
- The Robber Bride, Doubleday, 1993.
- Alias Grace, Doubleday, 1996.
- The Blind Assassin, McClelland & Stewart, 2000.
- Oryx and Crake, Doubleday, 2003.
- The Year of the Flood, Doubleday, 2009.
- MaddAddam, Doubleday, 2013.
- The Heart Goes Last, Doubleday, 2015.
- Dancing Girls and Other Stories, McClelland & Stewart, 1977; Simon & Schuster, 1982.
- Bluebeard's Egg and Other Stories, McClelland & Stewart, 1983; Fawcett (New York City), 1987.
- Murder in the Dark: Short Fictions and Prose Poems, Coach House Press (Toronto), 1983.
- Wilderness Tips and Other Stories, Doubleday, 1991.
- Good Bones, Coach House Press, 1992; published as Good Bones and Simple Murders, Doubleday, 1994.
- A Quiet Game: And Other Early Works, edited and annotated by Kathy Chung and Sherrill Grace, Juvenilia Press (Edmonton, Alberta, Canada), 1997.
- Moral Disorder, Doubleday, 2006.
- The Trumpets of Summer (radio play), Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC-Radio), 1964.
- Survival: A Thematic Guide to Canadian Literature, House of Anansi Press, 1972.
- The Servant Girl (teleplay), CBC-TV, 1974.
- Days of the Rebels, 1815-1840, Natural Science Library, 1976.
- The Poetry and Voice of Margaret Atwood (recording), Caedmon, 1977.
- Up in the Tree (juvenile), McClelland Stewart, 1978.
- (Author of introduction) Catherine M. Young, To See Our World, GLC Publishers, 1979; Morrow (New York City), 1980.
- (With Joyce Barkhouse) Anna's Pet (juvenile), James Lorimer, 1980.
- Snowbird (teleplay), CBC-TV, 1981.
- Second Words: Selected Critical Prose, House of Anansi Press, 1982.
- (Editor) The New Oxford Book of Canadian Verse in English, Oxford University Press, 1982.
- (Editor with Robert Weaver) The Oxford Book of Canadian Short Stories in English, Oxford University Press, 1986.
- (With Peter Pearson) Heaven on Earth (teleplay), CBC- TV, 1986.
- (Editor) The Canlit Foodbook, Totem, 1987.
- (Editor with Shannon Ravenal) The Best American Short Stories, 1989; Houghton, 1989.
- For the Birds, illustrated by John Bianchi, Firefly Books, 1991.
- (Editor with Barry Callaghan and author of introduction) The Poetry of Gwendolyn MacEwen, Exile Editions(Toronto), Volume 1: The Early Years, 1993, Volume 2: The Later Years, 1994.
- Princess Prunella and the Purple Peanut(juvenile), illustrated by Maryann Kovalski, Workman (New York City), 1995.
- Strange Things: The Malevolent North in Canadian Literature (collection of lectures), Clarendon/Oxford University Press, 1996.
- Some Things about Flying, Women 's Press (London), 1997.
- Negotiating with the Dead: A Writer on Writing(nonfiction), Cambridge University Press (New York City), 2002.
- Rude Ramsay and the Roaring Radishes(juvenile), illustrated by Dusan Petricic, Bloomsbury (New York City), 2004.
- Bashful Bob and the Doleful Dorinda (juvenile), illustrated by Dusan Petricic, Key Porter Books (Toronto, Ontario, Canada), 2004.
- Writing with Intent: Essays, Reviews, Personal Prose, 1983-2005 (nonfiction), Carroll & Graf (New York City), 2005.
- The Penelopiad: The Myth of Penelope and Odysseus (play), Knopf (Toronto, Ontario, Canada), 2005.
- The Tent (fiction, poems, and vignettes), Doubleday (New York City), 2006.
- (With others) Waltzing Again: New and Selected Conversations with Margaret Atwood (interviews), Norton (Toronto, Ontario, Canada), 2006.
- Contributor to anthologies, including Five Modern Canadian Poets, 1970, The Canadian Imagination: Dimensions of a Literary Culture, Harvard University Press, 1977, Women on Women, 1978, and Story of a Nation: Defining Moments in Our History, Doubleday Canada, 2001. Contributor to periodicals, including Atlantic, Poetry, New Yorker, Harper's, New York Times Book Review, Saturday Night, Tamarack Review, and Canadian Forum.
- Artists and Authors for Young Adults, volume 12, Gale Research, 1994.
- Something about the Author, volume 170, Gale, 2007.
- Booklist, January 15, 1994, p. 898.
- Cosmopolitan, February 1986, p. 28.
- Kirkus Reviews, July 15, 2006, p. 687.
- Knight-Ridder/Tribune News Service, November 8, 2000.
- Library Journal, August 1, 2006, p. 78.
- Maclean's, October 3, 1988, p. 56; September 23, 1996, p. 42; July 1, 1999, p. 54; September 4, 2000, p. 36; September 11, 2000, p. 54; November 20, 2000, p. 158.
- Mother Jones, July/August 1997, p. 24.
- Ms., January 1987, p. 48; July/August 1987, p. 78.
- New York Times, March 28, 1982; February 17, 1986; December 30, 1996, p. C9; October 10, 2000, p. E1; November 8, 2000, p. A11.
- People, May 19, 1980, p. 69; March 6, 1989, p. 205.
- Publishers Weekly, August 8, 1991, p. 8; July 24, 2000, p. 68; April 7, 2003, p. 44.
- Saturday Night, June 1998, p. 54; July/August 1998, p. 56.
- Spectator, April 26, 2003, p. 35.
- U.S. News & World Report, November 20, 2000, p. 18.
- Vogue, January 1986, p. 208.
- Writer's Digest, October 2000, p. 34.
- "Margaret Atwood," Contemporary Authors Online, Galenet web site, http://www.galenet.com (December 12, 2000).
- "How Hulu's 'The Handmaid’s Tale' Swept the Emmys -- Including Best Drama," , https://www.vanityfair.com/hollywood/2017/09/handmaids-tale-best-drama-emmys-2017-speech (September 17, 2017).
- "Bibliography," Margaret Atwood's Website, http://www.margaretatwood.ca/books_by.php (April 26, 2013).
- "Is The Handmaid's Tale the Allegory of the Trump Era?," , https://www.vanityfair.com/news/2017/06/handmaids-tale-trump-era-inside-the-hive-podcast (June 23, 2017).
- "Margaret Atwood," Dan David Prize, http://www.dandavidprize.org/index.php/laureates/laureates-2010/111-2010-present-literature-rendition-of-the-20th-century/276-margaret-atwood.html (May 27, 2011).
- "With LongPen, Author Signs Books from Afar," The Age, http://www.theage.com.au/news/breaking/longpen-makes-its-debut/2006/03/06/1141493568372.html (May 27, 2011).