LITERARY LOCATION: 3886 West 11th Avenue, Vancouver

One of Canada's foremost authors, Margaret Atwood lived here in 1964-1965 while working as a self-described 'lowly lecturer' at UBC. "It was a wonderful breakthrough year for me,"; she has recalled. "In it, I finished writing The Circle Game and wrote all of the draft of The Edible Woman... The people who gave me the most support were [writer] Jane Rule and [English professor] Helen Sonthoff... I loved the entire year and the only reason I didn't stay was that I felt I had to go back and complete the work for my Ph.D or I would always be an academic floorscrubber."; Margaret Atwood returned to Ontario and has since published more than forty books.


Margaret Atwood was born in Ottawa in 1939. Daughter of an entomologist, she has degrees from the University of Toronto and Radcliffe College, and has also lived in Montreal, Edmonton, Boston, England, Scotland, and France. She has been a full-time writer since 1972. She is married to novelist Graeme Gibson. They were forces in the establishment of the Writers Union of Canada. Atwood was chair of the Union in 1981-82. She was president of PEN Canada in 1985 and 1986.

To acknowledge the importance of George Woodcock in her career--they had known one another at UBC and he had subsequently written the first, highly supportive review of her first novel to kickstart her career--Margaret Atwood came to Vancouver to participate in ceremonies to honour him in 1994. That review appeared in a major Toronto newspaper. Atwood also maintained a close and muitually respectful friendship with Jane Rule of Galiano Island, where Atwood read her work for several community benefits.

Selected Publications:

Oryx and Crake (2003)
The Blind Assassin (2000)
Alias Grace (1996)
Morning in the Burned House (1995)
The Robber Bride (1993)
Cat's Eye (1989)
The Handmaid's Tale (1985)
Bodily Harm (1981)
True Stories (1981)
Life Before Man (1979)
Two-Headed Poems (1978)
Selected Poems (1976)
Lady Oracle (1976)
Power Politics (1973)
Survival: A Thematic Guide to Canadian Literature (1972)
Surfacing (1972)
The Journals of Susanna Moodie (1970)
The Edible Woman (1969)
The Circle Game (1966)

Some Awards:

Booker Prize, for The Blind Assassin, 2000.
Giller Prize, for Alias Grace, 1996.
Sunday Times Award for Literary Excellence, for The Robber Bride, 1994.
City of Toronto Book Award, for Cat's Eye, 1989.
Governor General's Award, for Fiction, for The Handmaid's Tale, 1986.
Governor General's Award, for Poetry, for The Circle Game, 1966.

[BCBW 2003] "Interview"