Beyond Literary Landscapes—Margaret Atwood

From my early beginnings as a young introvert, the public library has always been a bit of a refuge.  Years later, not much has changed, albeit with an additional affinity for endless hours spent scouring second-hand bookstores to add to my ever-growing “to-read” pile.

From one bookworm to another, this column will be underscoring and outlining various literary genres, authors, and recent reads and can serve as an introduction for those unfamiliar with these works, as a refresher for long-time aficionados, and maybe as an inspiration for readers to share their own suggested topics.  Do you have a topic that you would like covered in this column?  Feel free to contact me for an interview and a feature in an upcoming column.


This week’s column focuses famed Canadian author Margaret Atwood.  Born on November 18, 1939, Atwood is “best known for her prose fiction and for her feminist perspective.”

She is the recipient of various literary prizes, including the Booker Prize, the Governor General’s Literary Award, and the Giller Prize.

Common literary themes include gender, religion, and politics.


Some examples of Atwood’s well-known novels include The Handmaid’s Tale, Alias Grace, The Edible Woman, Oryx and Crake, and Surfacing.

Other novels include The Year of the Flood, MaddAddam, and Cat’s Eye.

Some notable collections of short stories include Bluebeard’s Egg and Wilderness Tips.


These novels take place in various geographical settings, including Canada and the United States.


These texts take place in the 21st century.


These text could be of interest to AU learners who enjoy dystopian fiction, feminist literature, as well as those who enjoy Canadian literature in general.


AU’s wide range of diverse courses make it easy to study this topic in depth.  Courses related to the works of Margaret Atwood are available in a variety of disciplines, including some that may fit into your Degree Works.  (Always check with an AU counsellor to see if these particular courses fulfill your personal graduation requirements!)

AU students interested in learning more about this topic may enroll in ENGL 211: Prose Forms, a junior-level, three-credit course, which considers “American, British, and Canadian short stories and novels, ranging from the nineteenth to the twenty-first century.”  (Although no prerequisites are needed, students are recommended to have completed ENGL 255: Introductory Composition).

Students may also consider ENGL 302: Introduction to Canadian Literature, a senior-level, six-credit course, which “presents an overview of Canadian literature from its beginnings to the present.”  (Please note that this course requires ENGL 211: Prose Forms and ENGL 212: Poetry and Plays as prerequisites).  Happy reading!