Real-Life Superhero of the Week: Margaret Atwood

Real-Life Superhero of the Week: Margaret Atwood superheroyou

Happy Birthday, Margaret Atwood! This week’s Real-Life Superhero was born on this day in 1939 in Ontario, Canada to parents Margaret and Carl. A bookworm from an early age, Atwood loved reading and was writing poems and plays by age 6.

After graduating from the University of Toronto in 1961 with a Bachelor of Arts in English, Atwood continued her studies at Radcliffe College at Harvard, where she received her master’s in 1962. By then, she’d already published an award-winning book of poems.

Throughout the 1960s, Atwood taught English all over Canada — at the University of British Columbia, Sir George Williams University, the University of Alberta and York University. She also married Jim Polk during this time, although they were divorced by 1973. Soon after, Atwood formed a relationship with her current partner, novelist Graeme Gibson. Their daughter Eleanor Jess Atwood Gibson was born in 1976.

A prolific novelist and poet, Atwood is best known for her book The Handmaid’s Tale. It’s set in a dystopian future, where the democratic government of the U.S. is replaced by a hyper-conservative regime intent on controlling women’s bodies and restricting their rights. Published in 1985, the book was shortlisted for the Booker Prize and won the Arthur C. Clarke Award. But due to its graphic depictions of sex, The Handmaid’s Tale has often been removed from reading lists and libraries.

Controversy aside, Atwood’s writing continues to garner acclaim. Her works have been shortlisted or nominated for the Booker Prize, the Governor General’s Award, and the Orange Prize to name a few. After being shortlisted five times, Atwood’s The Blind Assassin won the Booker in 2000.

In addition to writing, Atwood is also an outspoken activist for environmentalism and liberal causes. She is an avid supporter of the Canadian Green Party and an honorary president of BirdLife International. And during elections, she has encouraged Canadian voters to prevent a Conservative majority in government.

As if that wasn’t enough, Atwood can add inventor to the many hats she already wears. Atwood came up with the idea for the LongPen while on a book tour. Simply put, it’s a digital device that lets an author like herself sign someone’s book in ink without actually having to be in the same physical location. The LongPen was created in 2004 and placed on the market in 2006.

Atwood turned 76 today — but she shows no sign of slowing down yet. Her latest work Scribbler Moon was finished this year!

Atwood’s unique voice is a breath of fresh air to readers. Her novels adeptly tackle serious issues like women’s rights and her writing will surely be enjoyed by generations to come. For all that and more, she’s our Real-Life Superhero of the Week.

Enjoyed this? Check out last week’s hero, You

Written by Roselyn Sebastian

Image via Lesekreis (Own work) [CC0], via Wikimedia Commons

Happy Birthday, Margaret Atwood! This week’s Real-Life Superhero was born on this day in 1939 in Ontario, Canada to parents Margaret and Carl. A bookworm from an early age, Atwood loved reading and was writing poems and plays by age 6.

After graduating from the University of Toronto in 1961 with a Bachelor of Arts in English, Atwood continued her studies at Radcliffe College at Harvard, where she received her master’s in 1962. By then, she’d already published an award-winning book of poems.

Throughout the 1960s, Atwood taught English all over Canada — at the University of British Columbia, Sir George Williams University, the University of Alberta and York University. She also married Jim Polk during this time, although they were divorced by 1973. Soon after, Atwood formed a relationship with her current partner, novelist Graeme Gibson. Their daughter Eleanor Jess Atwood Gibson was born in 1976.

A prolific novelist and poet, Atwood is best known for her book The Handmaid’s Tale. It’s set in a dystopian future, where the democratic government of the U.S. is replaced by a hyper-conservative regime intent on controlling women’s bodies and restricting their rights. Published in 1985, the book was shortlisted for the Booker Prize and won the Arthur C. Clarke Award. But due to its graphic depictions of sex, The Handmaid’s Tale has often been removed from reading lists and libraries.

Controversy aside, Atwood’s writing continues to garner acclaim. Her works have been shortlisted or nominated for the Booker Prize, the Governor General’s Award, and the Orange Prize to name a few. After being shortlisted five times, Atwood’s The Blind Assassin won the Booker in 2000.

In addition to writing, Atwood is also an outspoken activist for environmentalism and liberal causes. She is an avid supporter of the Canadian Green Party and an honorary president of BirdLife International. And during elections, she has encouraged Canadian voters to prevent a Conservative majority in government.

As if that wasn’t enough, Atwood can add inventor to the many hats she already wears. Atwood came up with the idea for the LongPen while on a book tour. Simply put, it’s a digital device that lets an author like herself sign someone’s book in ink without actually having to be in the same physical location. The LongPen was created in 2004 and placed on the market in 2006.

Atwood turned 76 today — but she shows no sign of slowing down yet. Her latest work Scribbler Moon was finished this year!

Atwood’s unique voice is a breath of fresh air to readers. Her novels adeptly tackle serious issues like women’s rights and her writing will surely be enjoyed by generations to come. For all that and more, she’s our Real-Life Superhero of the Week.

Enjoyed this? Check out last week’s hero, You

Written by Roselyn Sebastian

Image via Lesekreis (Own work) [CC0], via Wikimedia Commons

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