Visit Your Local PBS Station PBS Home PBS Home Programs A-Z TV Schedules Watch Video Donate Shop PBS Search PBS
Bill Moyers on Faith & Reason Search
Faith & Reason Home Portraits Perspectives Take Part Watch & Listen
Portraits: Margaret Atwood
Martin Amis Margaret Atwood Mary Gordon Colin McGinn David Grossman Anne Provoost
Martin Amis Margaret Atwood Mary Gordon Colin McGinn David Grossman Anne Provoost
Richard Rodriguez Salman Rushdie Will Power Pema Chödrön Sir John Houghton Jeanette Winterson
Richard Rodriguez Salman Rushdie Will Power Pema Chödrön Sir John Houghton Jeanette Winterson

Web Exclusive

Margaret Atwood retells the story of Penelope and Odysseus. Read an excerpt from THE PENELOPIAD and watch the full interview.


"If a god showed up every time you put a quarter in the prayer slot it wouldn't be God, it would be a puppet that you could control by doing that...that would make the deity subservient to you. So it wouldn't be a deity would it?"
--Margaret Atwood

respond
Margaret Atwood is one of Canada's most successful and prolific contemporary writers. Noted for her stylistic precision, caustic humor, and feminist concerns, Atwood has published more than 40 books of fiction, nonfiction, criticism, and poetry over the past four decades.

With her first novel, THE EDIBLE WOMAN (1969), about a young woman in 1960s Canada sent into a tailspin by her impending marriage, Atwood introduced the themes of gender relations and women's social roles that would inform much of her work. Her most famous novel, THE HANDMAID'S TALE (1985), projected those topics into a dystopian future in which women are thoroughly subjugated by a totalitarian theocracy, and "handmaids" are forced to breed children for the state. The book won both the Los Angeles Times Prize for Fiction and the Arthur C. Clarke Award for science fiction.

Atwood's other novels include LIFE BEFORE MAN (1979); CAT'S EYE (1988); THE ROBBER BRIDE (1993); ALIAS GRACE; THE BLIND ASSASSIN (2000), awarded the Booker Prize in Britain; and ORYX & CRAKE (2003) - all were listed as finalists for the Governor General's Award, Canada's most prestigious literary honor. Her latest work, THE TENT, a collection of mini-fictions, was published in 2006.

In addition to her novels, essays, short stories and 16 volumes of poetry, Atwood has edited THE NEW OXFORD BOOK OF CANADIAN VERSE (1982), THE OXFORD BOOK OF CANADIAN SHORT STORIES IN ENGLISH (1988), and BEST AMERICAN SHORT STORIES 1989.

Atwood is a fellow of the Royal Society of Canada, an honorary member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and a Chevalier dans l'Ordre des Arts et des Lettres in France. Among her many awards, she has received the U.S. National Arts Club Medal of Honor for Literature, the London Literature Award, and the Chicago Times Literary Prize.

Print Send

Watch and Listen
  • Watch the interview

    listenMargaret Atwood in conversation with author Orhan Pamuk at the PEN Festival (38:51 mp3)

    listenMore from the PEN World Voices Festival Archive


  • Find out more
  • About the Salem Witchcraft Trials and and "Nobodaddy" — matters under discussion in the interview

  • About myths & sacred tales

  • About belief & doubt

  • FAITH & REASON booklist


  • Resources
  • OWTOAD: Margaret Atwood's Web Site

  • The Margaret Atwood Society: Scholarly resources

  • Read an excerpt from ORYX AND CRAKE

  • Margaret Atwood talks about her life with the CBC


  • Join the dialogue
    Talk on the message boards, start a discussion group, tell a friend...and more!


    Newsletter     For Educators     About the Series     TV Schedule     Feedback
    © Public Affairs Television 2006     Privacy Policy     Terms of Use