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Back To OverviewPrice Winner 2017

Margaret Atwood

The Board of Trustees of the Peace Prize of the German Book Trade has chosen the Canadian author, essayist and poet Margaret Atwood to be the recipient of this year’s Peace Prize. The award ceremony will take place on Sunday, October 15, 2017, the final day of the Frankfurt Book Fair, at the Church of St. Paul in Frankfurt am Main. The ceremony will be broadcast live on German public television. The Peace Prize has been awarded since 1950 and is endowed with a sum of €25,000.

Margaret Atwood
© Jean Malek

Statement of the Jury

The German Publishers and Booksellers Association awards the 2016 Peace Prize of the German Book Trade to

Margaret Atwood.

In her wide range of novels, essays and volumes of poetry, Canadian author Margaret Atwood has demonstrated a keen political intuition and a deeply perceptive ability to detect dangerous and underlying developments and tendencies.

As one of the most important storytellers of our era, Atwood fearlessly probes shifting patterns of thought and behavior in both her utopian and dystopian works. By precisely observing the contradictions of human nature, she shows how easily our alleged norms can deviate towards the inhumane. 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.

Biography of Margaret Atwood

Margaret Eleanor Atwood was born in Ottawa on November 18, 1939 and spent the first part of her childhood in the forests of northern Quebec, where her father conducted research as an entomologist. During this time, she and her older brother and younger sister were taught at home by their mother. In 1946, when her father took up a position at the University of Toronto, Atwood began attending regular school for the first time. From 1957 to 1962, she studied English and literature at universities in Toronto and Cambridge, Massachusetts. In 1963, she got her professional life underway at a market research company, and in 1964, she began working as a professor of literature at various universities.  

Atwood started publishing her first poems (see »The Circle Game«) in the early 1960s in what she referred to as a »private printing press«. She then continued to make an increasingly respected name for herself throughout the 1970s with a number of further volumes of poetry. It was at this time in her career that she began to focus on writing novels. Today, she is considered the most important and most successful author in Canada. Her work, which comprises novels, short stories, essays, poetry, stage plays, screenplays and children’s books, has been translated into more than 30 languages.

Atwood achieved far-reaching national and international recognition with the publication of her first work of literary criticism, »Survival: A Thematic Guide to Canadian Literature« (1972), in which she examined the role of Canadian literature and literary history with tremendous wit and concision. She followed that up with her first two novels, »The Edible Woman« (1969) and »Surfacing« (1972), in which she explored the perception of women’s role in modern Canada.

In 1985, Atwood published »The Handmaid’s Tale«, a dystopian novel in the tradition of George Orwell. The novel depicts a totalitarian society in which women are meticulously oppressed and used as birth machines. By taking up certain social tendencies of her day and following their logic to its latent conclusion, Atwood was able to create a novel of timeless relevance. The Handmaid’s Tale brought her to the peak of her already impressive literary career, and in 1989, German director Volker Schlöndorff even directed a film version. Today, precisely due to its enduring topicality, the novel is back on bestseller lists and experiencing a renaissance in American society under Donald Trump.

After »Cat’s Eye« (1988), which explores the childhood and friendship of two women in post-war Canada, and »The Robber Bride« (1993), in which she examines women’s darker side, Atwood published »Alias Grace« (1996), a historical fiction about a mysterious girl sentenced to life in prison for murder in the mid 19th century. After »The Blind Assassin« (2000), a broad portrait of Canadian society in the 20th century that garnered her the Booker Prize for Fiction, she shifted her focus to themes of ecological devastation and dangerous social tendencies in the post-apocalyptic worlds of her end-of-times trilogy »Oryx und Crake« (2003), »The Year of the Flood« (2009) and »MaddAddam« (2013). Known today for being an author and an environmental activist, Atwood coined the term »speculative fiction« to describe her work, although nothing she describes in her novels is pure invention. She takes a similar approach in her socially critical work »Payback. Debt and the Shadow Side of Wealth« (2008), a collection of lectures in which she examines the preconditions and consequences of the global financial crisis. Drawing on facts from cultural history, literature and linguistics, she spotlights the concept of economic and moral guilt found in the economic disaster.  

In the past several years, Atwood had rounded out her literary oeuvre with a number of works, including »Scribbler Moon«, a novel that will be published no sooner than 2114 as part of the Future Library Project. She also published »The Tent« (2006) and »Stone Mattress« (2014), as well as the novels »The Heart Goes Last« (2015) and »Hag-Seed« (2016). In addition to writing, Atwood continues to be active both politically and socially. In Germany, the latest product of her efforts is a volume of collected essays translated into German and set for publication in November 2017; »Aus Neugier und Leidenschaft« presents the cosmos of Margaret Atwood, including reviews, travel reports, writings on ecological themes and short stories. In May 2017, Atwood joined Salman Rushdie at the head of a campaign to garner support and higher levels of attention for authors suffering persecution and censorship. The campaign involves more than 200 writers and artists belonging to PEN International.

Margaret Atwood lives in Toronto with her second husband, the writer Graeme Gibson. Toronto is also the home of the Margaret Atwood Society, an organization dedicated to international scholarship and discourse on her work, for which she has received several honorary doctor titles.


2017 Peace Prize of the German Book Trade
2017 Franz Kafka Preis, Czech Republic
2017 National Book Critics Circle Lifetime Achievement Award
2016 PEN Printer Prize
2012 Canadian Booksellers' Lifetime Achievement Award
2010 Dan David Award, Israel
2009 Nelly Sachs Prize
2008 Prinz-von-Asturien Prize, Spain
2005 Chicago Tribune Literary Prize
2000 Booker Prize for Fiction
1999 London Literature Award
1996 Giller Prize
1989 Canadian Book-of-the-Year-Award
1986 Los Angeles Times Fiction Award
1978 St. Lawrence Award for Fiction
1977 and 1989 Canadian Booksellers' Association Award
1977 and 1989 City of Toronto Book Award
1974 Bess Hopkins Prize
1966 Governor General's Award


Laudatory speech Eva Menasse

Bibliography of Margaret Atwood


übersetzt von Brigitte Heinrich [orig. »Hag Seed« (2016)]
Albrecht Knaus Verlag, München 2017, 314 S., 19,99 €

»Das Herz kommt zuletzt«
übersetzt von Monika Baark [orig. »The Heart goes Last« (2015)]
Berlin Verlag, Berlin 2017, 389 S., 22,00 €

»Die Geschichte von Zeb«
übersetzt von Monika Schmalz [orig. »MaddAddam« (2013)]
Berlin Verlag, Berlin 2014, 476 S. 22,90 € (Berliner Taschenbuch-Verlag, Berlin 2015, 10,99 €)

»Das Jahr der Flut«
übersetzt von Monika Schmalz [orig. »The Year of the Flood« (2009)]
Berlin Verlag, Berlin 2009, 489 S., 22,00 € (Berliner Taschenbuch-Verlag, Berlin 2011, 10,95 €)

»Die Penelopiade«
übersetzt von Malte Friedrich [orig. »The Penelopiad« (2005)]
Berlin Verlag, Berlin 2005, 173 S. 14,00 € (dtv, München 2007, 8,50 €)

»Oryx und Crake«
übersetzt von Barbara Lüdemann [orig. »Oryx and Crake« (2003)]
Berlin Verlag, Berlin 2003, 380 S, 24,00 € (Berlin Verlag, Berlin 2014, 10,99 €)

»Der blinde Mörder«
übersetzt von Brigitte Walitzek [orig. »The Blind Assassin« (2000)]
Berlin Verlag, Berlin 2000, 693 S. (Berliner Taschenbuch-Verlag, Berlin 2002, 13,90 €)

»Alias Grace«
übersetzt von Brigitte Walitzek [orig. »Alias Grace« (1996)]
Berlin Verlag, Berlin 1996, 622 S. (Berliner Taschenbuch-Verlag, Berlin 2009, 12,90 €)

»Die Räuberbraut«
übersetzt von Brigitte Walitzek [orig. »The Robber Bride« (1993)]
S. Fischer Verlag, Frankfurt 1994, 583 S.

übersetzt von Charlotte Franke [orig. »Cat's Eye« (1988)]
S. Fischer Verlag, Frankfurt 1990, 491 S. (Piper Verlag, München/Berlin/Zürich 2017,11, 00 €)

»Der Report der Magd«
übersetzt von Helga Pfetsch [orig. »The Handmaid's Tale« (1985)]
Claassen Verlag, Düsseldorf 1987, 398 S. (Piper Verlag, München/Berlin/Zürich 2017, 11,00 €)

»Die Giftmischer: Horror-Trips und Happy-Ends «
übersetzt von Anna Kamp [orig. »Murder in the Dark« (1983)]
Claassen Verlag, Düsseldorf, 1985, 91 S. (List Verlag, Berlin 2007, 6,95 €)

übersetzt von Werner Waldhoff [orig. »Bodily Harm« (1981)]
Claassen Verlag, Düsseldorf 1982, 295 S. (List Verlag, Berlin 2007, 8,95 €)

»Die Unmöglichkeit der Nähe«
übersetzt von Werner Waldhoff [orig. »Life Before Man« (1979)
Claassen Verlag, Düsseldorf 1980, 335 S. (List Verlag, Berlin 2008, 8,95 €)

»Lady Orakel« Roman
übersetzt von Werner Waldhoff [orig. »Lady Oracle« (1976)
Claassen Verlag, Düsseldorf 1984, 376 S. (Piper Verlag, München/Berlin/Zürich 2017, 11,00 €)

»Der Lange Traum«
übersetzt von Reinhild Böhnke [orig. »Surfacing« (1972)
Claassen Verlag, Düsseldorf 1979, 251 S. (List Verlag, Berlin 2006, 7,95 €)

»Die essbare Frau«
übersetzt von Werner Waldhoff [orig. »The Edible Woman« (1969)
Claassen Verlag, Düsseldorf 1985, 327 S. (List Verlag, Berlin 2008, 8,95 €)

Short stories

»Die steinerne Matratze«
übersetzt von Monika Baark [orig. »Stone Mattress« (2014)]
Berlin Verlag, Berlin 2016, 303 S., 20,00 €

»Moralische Unordnung«
übersetzt von Malte Friedrich [orig. »Moral Disorder« (2006)]
Berlin Verlag, Berlin 2008, 253 S. 19,90 € (Berliner Taschenbuch-Verlag, Berlin 2009, 8,95 €)

»Das Zelt«
übersetzt von Malte Friedrich [orig. »The Tent« (2006)]
Berlin Verlag, Berlin 2006, 156 Seiten, 18,00 €

»Best Short Sories«
herausgegeben von Arnulf Conradi
Berlin Verlag, Berlin 2003, Sonderausgabe, 280 S., 10,00 €

»The Labrador Fiasco«
Bloomsbury Publishing, London/New York 1996, 41 S.

»Gute Knochen«
übersetzt von Brigitte Walitzek [orig. »Good Bones« (1992)]
Berlin Verlag, Berlin 1992, 139 S. (Berliner Taschenbuch-Verlag, Berlin 2007, 7,50 €)

»Tipps für die Wildnis«
übersetzt von Charlotte Franke [orig. »Wilderness Tips« (1991)]
S. Fischer Verlag, Frankfurt 1991, 270 S. (Berlin Verlag, Berlin 2010, 15,00 €)

»Der Salzgarten«
übersetzt von Charlotte Franken [orig. »Bluebeard's Egg« (1983)]
S. Fischer Verlag, Frankfurt 1994, 316 S. (Berliner Taschenbuch-Verlag, Berlin 2001, 9,90 €)

»Unter Glas«
übersetzt von Helga Pfetsch [orig. »Dancing Girls and other Stories« (1977)]
Claassen Verlag, Düsseldorf 1986, 307 S. (List Verlag, Berlin 2009, 8,95 €)


»Aus Neugier und Leidenschaft« Gesammelte Essays.
übersetzt von Christiane Buchner, Claudia Max und Ina Pfitzner
Berlin Verlag, Berlin 2017, 432 Seiten; 28,00€ (erscheint am 02.11.2017)

»In Other Worlds: SF and the Human Imagination«
McClelland & Stewart / Virago / Nan A. Talese 2011, 272 S.

»Payback. Schulden und die Schattenseiten des Wohlstands«
übersetzt von Bettina Abarbanell [orig. »Payback. Debt and the Shadow Side of Wealth« (2008)]
Berlin Verlag, Berlin 2008, 264 S., 18,00 € (Berliner Taschenbuch-Verlag, Berlin 2009, 8,95 €)

»Writing with Intent: Essays, Reviews, Personal Prose – 1983–2005«
Basic Books, New York 2005, 427 S.

»Negotiating with the Dead: A Writer on Writing«
Anchor Books, New York 2003, 256 S.

»Strange Things: The Malevolent North in Canadian Literature«
Clarendon Press, Oxford 1995, 126 S.

»Second Words: Selected Critical Prose«
Beacon Press, Boston 1982

»Days of the Rebels 1815–1840«
National Science of Canada, Toronto 1977

»Survival: A Thematic Guide to Canadian Literature«
House of Anansi Press, Toronto 1972

Children Books

»Die Tür«
übersetzt von Monika Baark [orig. »The Door« (2007)]
Berlin Verlag, Berlin 2014, eBook

»Ein Morgen im verbrannten Haus«
übersetzt von Beatrice Howeg [orig. »Morning in the Burned House« (1995)]
Berlin Verlag, Berlin 1996, 124 S.

Oxford University Press, Oxford 1984, 103 S.

»Snake Poems«
Salamander Press, 1983

»Notes Towards a Poem that Can Never be Written«
Salamader Press, 1981

»Wahre Geschichten«
übersetzt von Astrid Arz [orig. »True Stories« (1981)]
Claassen Verlag, Düsseldorf 1984, 112 S. (List Verlag, Berlin 2008, 7,95 €)

»Two Headed Poems«
Oxford, 1978

»Marsh, Hawk«
Dreadnaught, 1977

»Selected Poems«
Oxford, 1976

»You Are Happy«
Oxford, 1974

»Power Politics«
Anansi, 1971

»Procedures for Underground«
Oxford, 1970

»The Journals of Susanna Moodie«
Oxford, 1970

»The Animals in that Country«
Oxford University Press, 1969; Atlantic Little-Brown, 1968

»Speeches For Doctor Frankenstein«
Cranbrook Academy of Art, 1966

»Talismans For Children«
Crankbrook Academy of Art, 1965

»Kaleidoscopes Baroque: a poem«
Cranbrook Academy of Art, 1965

»The Circle Game«
Cranbrook Academy of Art, 1964

»Double Persephone«
Hawkshead Press, 1961


»Wandering Wenda and Widow Wallop’s Wunderground Washery«
McArthur & Co., 2011

»Der befangene Bob und die traurige Theodora«
übersetzt von Malte Friedrich, mit Illustrationen von Dušan Petricic
Bloomsbury Verlag, Berlin 2006, 24 S., 12,90 €

»Rotznase Ramsay und die röhrenden Radieschen« 
übersetzt von Malte Friedrich, mit Illustrationen von Dušan Petricic
Bloomsbury Verlag, Berlin 2005, 26 S. 12,90€

»Prinzessin Prunella und die purpurne Pflaume«
übersetzt von Edmund Jacoby, mit Illustrationen von Julia Ginsbach
Gerstenberg Verlag, Hildesheim 1998, 34 S.

»For The Bird«
Groundwood, Toronto 1990, 54 S.

»Anna’s Pet«
James Lorimer & Co., 1980

»Hoch oben im Baum« [»Up in the Tree«, 1978)
S. Fischer Verlag, Frankfurt am Main 1994, 32 S.