Five Fascinating Facts about … Margaret Atwood

By Shoshi Ish-Horowicz

atwood1.  She had an unconventional childhood with her family, spending every spring and summer in the northern Canadian wilderness; Atwood didn’t start full time school until the age of eight.

2.  Atwood began writing early; in high school she showed her literary talent when she suggested producing and performing a home economics opera for a group project.

3.  According to Atwood, her first book The Edible Woman was published ‘out of embarrassment’. In her introduction 1979 introduction to the novel she writes that the publishers had lost her manuscript. After she started probing, she was invited round to lunch:  ‘”We’ll publish your book,” he said, not looking me in the eye. “Have you read it?” I said. “No, but I’m going to,” he said’!

4.  She was nominated for the Booker Prize three times before winning in 2000 with The Blind Assassin. Fans are still undecided as to whether this should be considered a ‘lifetime achievement’ award. Since then she has been on the 2003 Booker shortlist as well as being nominated twice for the Man Booker International Award.

5.  She has written for the ‘Future Library’ in Oslo. Last year, a thousand trees were planted just outside Oslo. In one century, the paper from these trees will be used to create books, finally published as a collection of specially commissioned texts. Atwood’s own ‘time-capsule’ text is the first in the project; the plan is for one writer each year to contribute a piece of work, ready for reading in 2114.

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Shoshi spends far too much of her time reading; she writes about this addiction at https://shoshibookblog.wordpress.com/

Read Shoshi’s review of The Heart Goes Last in our Fiction section here.

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