“Fiction is not necessarily about what you know, it's about how you feel. That is the truth about fiction, and the other truth is that all science is a tool, and we use our tools not to actualize what we know, but to implement how we feel.” – Margaret Atwood
Canadian poet, novelist, literary critic, essayist, and environmental activist, Atwood celebrates her 76th birthday today and is still going strong, following the super-active writing life that she has had since age 16.
The winner of the Arthur C. Clarke Award (for The Handmaid’s Tale), her writing has been shortlisted for the prestigious Booker Prize five times, winning once (for The Blind Assassin), and she has been a finalist for Canada’s Governor General's Award several times, winning twice. In 2001 she was inducted into Canada's Walk of Fame.
Also a founder of the Writers' Trust of Canada, a non-profit literary organization that seeks to encourage Canada's writing community, she said writers should never feel constricted by one writing form or another. “Genres aren’t closed boxes,” she said. “Stuff flows … and should … back and forth across the (genre) borders all the time.”
Toward that end she has written blends of science fiction, adventure, fantasy, historical fiction, mystery and drama – and when she wanted some diversion, she switched to poetry, ending up with 15 published books of poetry in the process.
For her, she said, storytelling is the end all, a
nd she loves both the process and the outcome.
“You’re never going to kill storytelling, because it’s built into the human plan,” she said. “We come with it.”
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