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Margaret Eleanor Atwood, whose birthdate is November 18, 1939, was born in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada, and she still resides in Canada. Margaret Atwood is a very well known and highly acclaimed poet, novelist, essayist, literary critic, inventor and environmental activist. Atwood is also an award winning humanist. She was awarded by the American Humanist Association, Humanist of the Year in 1987. Atwood writes in many genres, including historical fiction and science fiction. She has even written three television scripts. She is the author of more than sixty-five books of fiction, poetry, non-fiction, children’s books and critical essays and her written works have been published in over 35 countries.
At sixteen, Margaret Atwood realized she wanted to write professionally. In 1957, she attended Victoria College at the University of Toronto, where she had written poems and articles that were published in the college literary journal called Acta Victoriana. In 1961, Atwell graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in English and then she went on to begin graduate studies at Harvard’s Radcliffe College, after she won the E.J. Pratt Medal for her collection of poems called Double Persephone (which is now out of print). She earned a Master Degree from Radcliffe in 1962. While she is most well known for being a novelist, she also has published fifteen books of poetry.
Margaret Atwood has won more than 55 awards, including being awarded with nineteen honorary college degrees because of her well known written works. She has won the literature awards, the Arthur C. Clarke Award and the Prince of Asturias Award. She has won the Booker Prize once, and the Governor General’s Award twice. Atwell was inducted in the Canadian Walk of Fame, in 2001. She also founded the Writers’ Trust of Canada, a non-profit literary organization that supports Canada’s writing community.
As an inventor, Margaret Atwood had developed the platform called the LongPen and other technologies associated with it and it is based on remote robotic writing technology. She came up with this idea while she was in Denver in 2004, on the book tour promoting her novel Oryx and Crake. As a result of her invention, she also founded the company she called Unotchit, Inc., to design, develop, manufacture and distribute her further technological inventions associated with the LongPen platform. By 2011, Unotchit Inc. technologies had ventured into legal and business transactions, and as a result it was necessary to create a new broader range of products for various types of new remote writing applications based on the LongPen technologies. The company was renamed Syngrafii Inc. Atwood is still Co-Founder and Director of Syngrafii Inc. and the holder of various patents related to the LongPen technology.
Margaret Atwell has written books in many genres, but science fiction seems to be a genre in which she does extremely well. The Handmaid’s Tale written in 1985, received the first Arthur C. Clarke Award in 1987. The award was given for the best science fiction novel that was first published in the UK in the previous year. The Handmaid’s Tail was also nominated for the the science fiction awards, 1986 Nebula Award and the 1987 Prometheus Award. Another science fiction book she had written was called Oryx And Crate, which is the first book of the only series she has ever written. The series is actually a trilogy called The Maddaddam Trilogy.
The Maddaddam Trilogy is a dystopian look at the earth’s post-apocalyptic population after most of the human species has been wiped out by a man-made plague. In the first book of The Maddaddam Trilogy called Oryx and Crake, the main focus is on a character named Snowman, who lives in close proximity to a group of primitive human-like creatures whom he refers to as Crakers. It is revealed that Snowman was once a boy named Jimmy, who lived in a world dominated by powerful multinational corporations which created privileged living compounds for the families of their numerous employees. Snowman decides to journey to the ruins of one of the compounds named RejoovenEsence to search for food and supplies, even though the compound is occupied and overran with killer genetically engineered animals. Snowman decides to make up an explanation to appease the Crakers, who think of him as a teacher, and then he begins his searching expedition for food and supplies which is the basis of the story. In the second book of the trilogy called The Year of the Flood, it mainly focuses on a group of people called God’s Gardeners, a small group of survivors of the same pandemic that wiped out most of the Earth’s population in Oryx and Crake. It answers some of the questions that were posed in Oryx and Crake and it also reveals the identity of the three real human beings who appear at the end of the first book, which will be explained in the last book of the trilogy. A television adaptation of The Maddaddam Trilogy is being adapted and developed for HBO by Darren Aronofsky under the title of MaddAddam.
Although Handmaid’s Tail and The Maddaddam Trilogy have the same characteristics as other dystopian science fiction stories, Margaret Atwood denies that these books are indeed science fiction, because it would seem she has a different understanding of what constitutes science fiction. Atwood claims that these books are speculative fiction instead. She believes that science fiction has spaceships and aliens or monsters, while speculative fiction could actually happen because speculative fiction is grounded in what is happening in the world today. She believes her books don’t qualify as science fiction because they don’t have intergalactic space travel, no Martians, no teleportation or take place in space. Atwood has also said that she does write social science fiction and that Handmaid’s Tale and The Maddaddam Trilogy can be considered as social science fiction. More specifically, Atwood believes that science fiction applies to stories with things in them that the world’s population is not yet capable of doing, whereas speculative fiction are about things that we are already capable of doing and those things can happen at any time on Earth.
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