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The Handmaid’s Tale puts Margaret Atwood on the brink of international stardom

The Story


Margaret Atwood is riding a tidal wave of international success. As seen in this CBC Television report, she's basking in critical acclaim, adoring fans and honorary titles. With the release of her groundbreaking 1986 novel The Handmaid's Tale, Atwood is enjoying a new level of fame not lavished on Canadian writers. 

Medium: Television
Program: The National
Broadcast Date: Feb. 14, 1986
Guests: Margaret Atwood, E.L. Doctorow, Helen Dudar, Nan Talese
Reporter: Russ Froese
Duration: 5:30

Did You know?


The Handmaid's Tale was Atwood's first novel to make the Booker Prize short list.

• In 1990, the novel was made into a film starring Faye Dunaway, Robert Duvall and Natasha Richardson. It was scripted by Harold Pinter and directed by Volker Schlondorff.

• In 1998 The Handmaid's Tale was added to the required reading list for university students in France studying English. Atwood was the second Canadian writer to be added to the list after Margaret Laurence. Atwood was included alongside Henry James, William Shakespeare and Thomas Moore.

The Handmaid's Tale was transformed into an opera by Danish composer Poul Ruders in 2000. It had its Canadian premier to positive reviews with the Canadian Opera Company in 2004.

The Handmaid's Tale received the Governor's General Award, the Los Angeles Times Prize, the Arthur C. Clarke Award for Science Fiction, the Commonwealth Literary Prize and the Ritz-Paris-Hemingway Prize.

• In 2017 the novel was made into a 10-part television series.  A second 13-part series was made, which continued the story beyond that told in the original novel.  


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