Handmaid's Tale author Margaret Atwood awarded German peace prize

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Handmaid's Tale author Margaret Atwood awarded German peace prize
Margaret Atwood at a literature festival in Cologne. Photo: DPA

Canadian author Margaret Atwood, famous for works such as The Handmaid's Tale, as well as Oryx and Crake, is to receive the 2017 Peace Prize of the German Book Trade.


The German Publishers and Booksellers Association announced on Tuesday that Atwood will be awarded the peace prize at the end of the Frankfurt Book Fair on October 15th in a televised ceremony at the Church of St. Paul, according to the prize's website.

The €25,000 prize is given to people who have "contributed in an outstanding way to the idea of peace" in the fields, of literature, science, and art. It has been awarded since 1950, and previous winners include German journalist Carolin Emcke, and German-born Swiss author Hermann Hesse. 

The news was shared on Tuesday by the head of the German Publishers and Booksellers Association, Heinrich Riethmüller. 

“In her wide range of novels, essays and volumes of poetry, Atwood has demonstrated a keen political intuition and a deeply perceptive ability to detect dangerous and underlying developments and tendencies," the peace prize website states.

"Humanity, justice and tolerance are the unvarying characteristics of Atwood’s work. With an alert eye and a profound knowledge of humankind, she observes the world around her and articulates her verdicts and concerns for our fate in an equally eloquent and vivid literary manner.

"Through her, we experience who we are, where we stand and what responsibilities we carry with regard to ourselves and our peaceful coexistence with others," the statement continued.

Atwood signs books at the University of Oviedo, Spain. Photo: DPA/EFE

The 77-year-old prolific author has penned more than 50 works in the form of novels, short stories, essays, theatre pieces, film scripts, radio plays, children's books and even comics.

Her works have now been translated into more than 30 languages and she has been lauded as Canada's most successful author.

Atwood's international break-through was in 1985 with The Handmaid’s Tale, a dystopian novel in which she depicts a fundamentalist theocracy where women are systematically degraded and must take on roles as baby-producing machines. Volker Schlöndorff’s film adaptation of the novel made Atwood known to an even wider audience. 

A TV series adaptation of the novel was first broadcast in the USA in April and more recently made its way across the pond to the UK, yet again boosting the story's popularity.


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