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The acclaimed Canadian writer, Margaret Atwood (born 1939), first received recognition as a poet, her first two collections – Double Persephone (1961) and The Circle Game (1966) – both winning awards. However, while she has continued to write and publish poetry that reflects her essential preoccupations, she soon became better known as a novelist. The first of her 18 novels, The Edible Woman, appeared in 1969, and set the tone for subsequent works in its exploration of gender and identity. She established herself as an important voice in Canadian literature with her second novel, Surfacing, and her first non-fiction work, Survival: A Thematic Guide to Canadian Literature (both 1972). Her reputation was confirmed by the reception of her sixth novel, the speculative dystopian fable, The Handmaid’s Tale (1985), which won both the Arthur C Clarke Award and the Governor General’s Award. As the result of subsequent adaptations, notably the 2017 television series, and a prize-winning sequel, The Testaments (2019), this has become her best known work. Other major novels include Cat’s Eye (1988), Alias Grace (1996), The Blind Assassin (2000) and Oryx and Crake (2003), the last signaling her increasing concern for mankind’s effect on the environment. She has also produced children’s books, graphic novels and many short stories. Her achievements outside of writing include the invention of the remote signaling device, LongPen (2006), while her many honours include the PEN Center USA's Lifetime
Achievement Award (2017).