Books

Margaret Atwood donating Booker Prize winnings to Indspire to support education of Indigenous students

The Testaments author will donate her half of the £50,000 (approx. $84,780 Cdn) prize. Atwood co-won the 2019 Booker Prize with Bernardine Evaristo, author of Girl, Woman, Other,
Canadian author Margaret Atwood poses with her book The Testaments during the photo call for the authors shortlisted for the 2019 Booker Prize for Fiction at Southbank Centre in London on October 13, 2019. (Tolga Akmen/AFP via Getty Images)

After Margaret Atwood's The Testaments co-won the 2019 Booker Prize with Bernardine Evaristo's Girl, Woman, Other, the Toronto author announced that she will be donating her half of the winnings, £25,000 ($42,390 Cdn), to the organization Indspire.

The registered charity supports the education of Indigenous people in Canada with scholarships, bursaries and other programs. 

"We were absolutely thrilled by the news that Margaret would be directing the funds to Indspire," said Indspire CEO and president Roberta Jamieson.

"We will continue to do our best to honour her wishes by ensuring that this much needed support is allocated to support the First Nations, Inuit and Métis students who will shape Canada's future with their rich gifts!"

Jamieson said they will be speaking to Atwood about how her donation will be used. Earlier this year, Atwood set up a scholarship fund with Indspire in honour of her late friend Chief Harry St. Denis.

On Monday, Margaret Atwood split the Booker Prize and its $83,000 purse. She later announced that she would donate that money to Indspire, a charity that supports Indigenous students. We speak to Indspire president and CEO Roberta Jamieson about what that money will mean. 5:48

Nick Foglia, an Indspire representative, said the donation will be matched by the Canadian government. Indigenous Service Canada's Martine Stevens said in an email to CBC Books that the donation is eligible for matching, but the agency has not received the request yet.

The Testaments is a sequel to Atwood's 1985 novel The Handmaid's TaleIt reveals more about the inner-workings of Gilead through the testimonies of three women: an architect of Gilead, a young woman growing up in the oppressed society and another young woman living in Canada.

Atwood's novel broke Canadian sales records when it was released in September 2019 and is being developed for screen by Hulu and MGM Television

Atwood turns 80 on Nov. 18, 2019.

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