Margaret Atwood to receive PEN Center USA's Lifetime Achievement Award

Margaret Atwood will accept the award at an October literary festival hosted by Nick Offerman.
Over the past year, Margaret Atwood has received several international awards. (Liam Sharp)

Margaret Atwood is being awarded a lifetime achievement award from the PEN Center USA for her "visionary" storytelling and remarkable body of work.

The author of over 40 books, including novels, children's books, critical essays and poetry, Atwood counts a Giller Prize (now known as the Scotiabank Giller Prize), two Governor General's Literary Awards and a Booker Prize (now known as the Man Booker) among her many prestigious honours.

Her iconic 1985 book The Handmaid's Tale recently jumped back onto bestseller lists around the globe. A television adaptation of the novel, starring Elisabeth Moss, premiered in April 2017 and is a critical hit. The series airs on Bravo in Canada.

"Throughout her career, Ms. Atwood has vividly explored elements of the human experience — power, oppression, complacency, language — expertly and with such conviction," said Michelle Franke, executive director of PEN Center USA.

"Her body of work is to the bone, sometimes visionary in its presentation of the past, present and futures foretold. How has she done this? By writing with a kind of knowing, an unflinching trust in historical cycles."

Over the past year, Atwood, 77, has received several international awards, including:

Atwood is a writer of incredible range, demonstrated by the myriad of titles published over the past year: a children's book called A Trio of Intolerable Tales, a superhero graphic novel with Johnnie Christmas titled Angel Catbird and the novel Hag-Seed, which is an adaptation of Shakespeare's The Tempest.

Coming up in September, an adaptation of Atwood's Alias Grace will premiere on CBC-TV. The six-hour miniseries was directed by American Psycho director Mary Harron and written and produced by Sarah Polley.

Atwood will accept this latest honour at a literary awards festival in October, hosted by award-winning actor Nick Offerman, best known for his role in Parks and Recreation.


To encourage thoughtful and respectful conversations, first and last names will appear with each submission to CBC/Radio-Canada's online communities (except in children and youth-oriented communities). Pseudonyms will no longer be permitted.

By submitting a comment, you accept that CBC has the right to reproduce and publish that comment in whole or in part, in any manner CBC chooses. Please note that CBC does not endorse the opinions expressed in comments. Comments on this story are moderated according to our Submission Guidelines. Comments are welcome while open. We reserve the right to close comments at any time.