Earlier today Margaret Atwood received the highly sought after PEN Pinter Prize. This award is granted to one UK writer and one international writer who has faced adversity in their career. The prize, in the jury's own words, is a “campaign to defend writers and readers in the UK and around the world whose human right to freedom of expression is at risk.”
Judges praised Margaret for her “consistent support for political causes”, Primarily in her “work championing environmental concerns” has helped bring awareness to millions of readers around the world. Atwood was also recently awarded the Orion Book Award for MaddAddam, a book is about survivors of a global pandemic as they try to rebuild society. The book was hailed for the way it “deepens [the] readers connection with the natural world.” Atwood’s passion for nature, birds specifically, encouraged her to speak out against the mass extinction of animal life throughout her career as a public figure.
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On top of being environmentally progressive, Atwood's writing is also outspokenly feminist. She refuses to box her female characters into one specific role. In an interview with Mother Jones, Atwood remarked that she's "always been against the idea that women were Victorian angels, that they could do no wrong. I’ve always thought it was horseshit and does nobody any good.”
She goes on to say that woman’s rights is not about making women more superior to men. Rather, the goal is to reduce “the differences between men and women – power, privilege, voting rights, etc.” The fact that human beings are flawed is what gives characters their depth. Atwood has done an amazing job of removing her female characters from the victim role by giving them the same depth and darkness that was usually only granted to male characters.
Overall, Atwood is an amazing writer who has changed the way people view literature. Her “unflinching, unswerving gaze upon the world shows a fierce intellectual determination.” This is exactly what we need in our world, and Margaret Atwood has exceeded our expectations with flying colors.
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