Margaret Eleanor Atwood (Ottawa, November 18, 1939) is a Canadian poet, novelist, literary critic, teacher and political activist. She is a member of the human rights organization Amnesty International and one of the people who preside over BirdLife International, in defense of birds. She currently divides her time between Toronto and Pelee Island, Ontario.
She is the second of three children of Carl Edmund Atwood, a zoologist, and Margaret Dorothy William, a nutritionist. Due to her father's research on forest entomology, Atwood spent much of her childhood between northern Quebec, Ottawa, and Toronto.
She soon became an avid reader of all kinds of literature, from mystery novels, to tales of the Brothers Grimm, stories about Canada, and comics. She went to the institute in Leaside, Toronto.
Atwood began writing at age 16. In 1957 she began her university studies at the Victoria University of Toronto. She had as teachers Jay Macpherson and Northrop Frye, who directed her initial poetry (Double Persephone) towards the theme of myths and archetypes.
She graduated in 1961 with a BA in English Philology, also studying French and Philosophy.
In 1968, she married Jim Polk, whom she divorced in 1973. Later, she married novelist Graeme Gibson, with whom she moved to Ontario, north of Toronto. In 1976 they had her daughter Eleanor Jess Atwood Gibson. She returned to Toronto in 1980.
In the fall of 1961, after winning the E. J. Pratt Medal for her book of poems Double Persephone, she began her graduate studies at Radcliffe College of Harvard University with a Woodrow Wilson Research Fellowship. She earned a master's degree from Radcliffe in 1962 and went on to study for two more years at Harvard.
She has taught at the University of British Columbia (1965), at the Sir George Williams University in Montreal (1967-1968), at the University of Alberta (1969-1979), at the University of York in Toronto (1971-1972 ), and at New York University.
She donated the Booker Price award money to help support environmental causes.
She helped launch the career of poet Carolyn Forche when American publishers rejected her poetry about the Salvadoran civil war.
In 2018 she recorded a message for Argentina "Do not look away from the thousands of deaths that occur each year due to illegal abortions. Give Argentine women the right to choose. Force deliveries if you want, Argentina, but at least call what forced for what it is. It is slavery: it is claiming to own and control another person's body, and take advantage of that ". 
Atwood has written novels of different genres, essays, short stories, and books of poetry.
She also scripts for television, such as The Servant Girl (1974) and essays such as Days of the Rebels: 1815-1840 (1977).
She is described as a feminist writer, as the theme of gender is present in some of her works prominently of hers. She has focused on Canadian identity, on Canadian relations with the United States of America and Europe, on human rights, on environmental issues, on the Canadian moors, on social myths about femininity, on the representation of the body of women in art, their social and economic exploitation, as well as women's relationships with each other and with men.
In 1969 she published The Edible Woman, where she echoed the social marginalization of women. In Procedures for Underground (1970) and The Journals of Susanna Moodie (1970), her subsequent books of poetry, the characters have difficulty accepting the irrational. The latter is perhaps her best known poetic work; In it, she writes from the point of view of Susanna Moodie, a pioneer of 19th century Canadian frontier colonization. With the work