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In a ceremony today at Windsor Castle, the queen presented Margaret Atwood with a rare honor usually reserved for British citizens but occasionally bestowed upon those from the Commonwealths (she is only the third Canadian on the list).
Atwood becomes one of only 62 current holders of the Order of the Companions of Honour, which is awarded for extraordinary achievement in the arts, literature, science, and politics.
Margaret Atwood’s novel The Testaments, the long-awaited followup to 1985’s The Handmaid’s Tale, has won the 2019 Booker Prize. The prize is split with British writer Bernardine Evaristo for her lively feminist work, an eclectic book the author calls “fusion fiction” called Girl, Woman, Other. Atwood and Evaristo will share the £50,000 prize.
Both are are gracious in sharing the prize:
“It would have been quite embarrassing for a person of my age and stage to have won the whole thing and thereby hinder a person in an earlier stage of their career from going through that door,” said Atwood.
Evaristo said, “I’m just so delighted to have won the prize. Yes, I am sharing it with an amazing writer. But I am not thinking about sharing it; I am thinking about the fact that I am here and that’s an incredible thing considering what the prize has meant to me and my literary life, and the fact that it felt so unattainable for decades.”
After a tie in 1992, Booker changed its rules to prevent another tie from occurring, but after deliberations went on for five hours, judges “essentially staged a sit-in in the judging room.” According to Chairman Peter Florence, “Our consensus was that it was our decision to flout the rules,” he said. “I think laws are inviolable and rules are adaptable to the circumstance.”
This is Atwood’s second Booker; she won in 2000 for The Blind Assassin. Evaristo is the first black woman to win the Booker. “I hope that honor doesn’t last too long,” she said in her acceptance speech.
A note about The Booker Prize:
The Booker is the most prestigious British literary award and comes with a handsome prize of £50,000. The prize was originally known as the Booker–McConnell Prize, when the Booker–McConnell company began sponsoring the prize in 1969. Later it became known as simply the Booker Prize. It was previously awarded to a full-length novel written in English by an author from the Commonwealth of Nations or Ireland, but now can be awarded to any English language novel published in the UK. As of June 1, 2019, the Booker Prize is now sponsored by the Crankstart Foundation, of California not the Man Group as it was for the past 18 years (when it was referred to as the Man Booker Prize), and is known again as simply the Booker Prize.
The Toronto Star announced today that the books longlisted for the Scotiabank Giller Prize for fiction have been chosen.
Twelve Canadian books are on the list for the Giller Prize for fiction, selected from a field of 117 books. Margaret Atwood’s fiction has made the Giller list three times, her novels Alias Grace in 1996 (which won), Oryx and Crake in 2003, and The Year of the Flood in 2009. Please see the article in the Star for information on this year’s other eleven nominees.
Six finalists will be announced Sept. 30, and the Giller winner will be announced at a gala in Toronto on Nov. 18.
UPDATE: On Sept. 30, The Testaments was not included on the shortlist.
About the Giller Prize for fiction: The prize was founded in 1994 by businessman Jack Rabinovitch to honor his wife, literary journalist and former Toronto Star books editor Doris Giller. The prize is $100,000 CAD.
The excitement builds as thirteen shrinks to six! The long list for the Booker prize has been reduced to the six finalists, including Margaret Atwood’s The Testaments, which comes out a week from today (!!) and Salman Rushdie’s Quichotte (both authors have won the award previously, Atwood for The Blind Assassin in 2000 and Rushdie for Midnight’s Children in 1981).
The other finalists are Lucy Ellmann, Bernardine Evaristo, Chigozie Obioma, and Elif Shafak. Information about these books can be found at the NYT.
The winner will be announced Oct. 14 at a ceremony in London and will receive a prize of £50,000 (NYT estimates $61,000 USD today).
At the Center for Fiction’s benefit and awards dinner on Dec. 10 to be held in New York, Bruce Miller, creator and showrunner of The Handmaid’s Tale series on Hulu; author and producer Margaret Atwood; and Hulu executive Craig Erwich will be presented the center’s first ever On Screen Award for an adaptation that reflects the “complexity and vision of great novels.”
At the same ceremony, literary agent Lynn Nesbit will receive the Maxwell E. Perkins Award, given to “an editor, publisher, or agent who has discovered, nurtured, and championed fiction writers.”
The news was reported Tuesday by the Associated Press.
Margaret Atwood won the Booker Prize in 2000 for The Blind Assassin and is in the running again for the prize for her upcoming novel The Testaments, the sequel to The Handmaid’s Tale, which will be released on September 10. Atwood has been shortlisted for the Booker Prize five times, first for The Handmaid’s Tale in 1986, when she lost out to Kingsley Amis, and most recently in 2003 for Oryx and Crake.
The Guardian reports that 13 finalists were chosen among 131 novels for the longlist. Previous winner Salman Rushdie is also on the longlist (Rushdie won in 1981 for Midnight’s Children). Among the other eleven are the American-born Lucy Ellmann (who moved to England as a teenager), English writer Jeanette Winterson, Nigerian author Chigozie Obioma, and Irish author Kevin Barry.
According to the New York Times, “a ferocious nondisclosure agreement” prevented the prize’s judges from revealing any of the plot of The Testaments, but they did say it is “terrifying and exhilarating.”
A note about The Booker Prize:
The Booker is the most prestigious British literary award and comes with a handsome prize of £50,000. The prize was originally known as the Booker–McConnell Prize, when the Booker–McConnell company began sponsoring the prize in 1969. Later it became known as simply the Booker Prize. It was previously awarded to a full-length novel written in English by an author from the Commonwealth of Nations or Ireland. but now can be awarded to any English language novel published in the UK. As of June 1, 2019, the Booker Prize is now sponsored by the Crankstart Foundation of California not the Man Group as it was for the past 18 years (when it was referred to as the Man Booker Prize), and is known again as simply the Booker Prize.
What better way to celebrate International Women’s Day?
VH1 Trailblazer Honors 2019 will honor Margaret Atwood, along with #MeToo founder Tarana Burke, Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, and Academy Award nominee Ava DuVernay. *
The special will air on both VH1 and Logo on March 8 at 9:00 p.m. ET/PT.
*Ava DuVernay is no relation to Atwood Society officer Denise Du Vernay.
At Equality Now’s fourth annual Make Equality Reality gala on December 3, 2018 in Los Angeles, Margaret Atwood was honored for “her longtime advocacy of women’s rights.”
Variety reports that, in her speech at the gala, Atwood said, “Enforced pregnancy is a form of slavery. It is time it’s recognized as such.” A while discussing the importance of hope, THR quotes Atwood remarking: “It’s not enough just to hope. You actually then have to do something other than hoping.”
Equality Now and supporters seek to challenge and defeat repressive laws regarding women’s rights, including sex trafficking, sexual violence, and ritual genital mutilation through an international network of activists.