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Margaret Atwood Awarded Sun Valley Writers’ Conference Writer in the World Prize
Monday, January 29, 2024


Margaret Atwood, author of the 1985 futuristic dystopian novel “The Handmaid’s Tale,” has been awarded the Sun Valley Writers’ Conference 2024 Writer in the World Prize.

The Writers’ Conference awarded the $20,000 prize, established and funded by conference board members, to Atwood in recognition of her contributions to literature, freedom of expression and social consciousness. It acknowledges that her life’s work embodies a rare combination of literary talent and moral imagination that helps readers better understand the world and their place in it.

The award will be made to Atwood in person as part of the opening keynote event at the Writer’s Conference, which starts Saturday, July 20, at Sun Valley Resort. The presentation will include an original film, as well as an opportunity to hear from the author.

"Her sharp eye on the realities of life combined with her uncommon imagination, her wit, social perspicacity, and moral conscience have given us a literary legacy for the ages,” said Board Member Mary Anne Dolan. “She reminds us of the essential importance of writing in our lives, and that, as she has famously said, ‘A word after a word after a word is power.’"

Added John Burnham Schwartz, the conference’s literary director: “Margaret Atwood’s lifelong work as a writer and activist marks her as one of the most relevant and influential artists in our culture today. Her literary imagination and intellectual courage have brought the dangers of authoritarianism and the importance of environmentalism to indelible life for millions of readers everywhere, helping to urgently shape our understanding not only of where we have been, but of where we must go.”

Atwood, a cartoonist, illustrator, librettist, playwright and puppeteer who lives in Toronto, Canada, has written more than 50 books of fiction, poetry and essays. Among them, “Cat’s Eye,” about a young woman’s perceptions of relationships, and “The Robber Bride” about an evil groom who lures three maidens into his lair. She has received numerous awards, including the Franz Kafka International Literary Prize, the PEN Center USA Lifetime Achievement Award and the Los Angeles Times Innovator’s Award.

She has won the Booker Prize twice—for “The Blind Assassin,” a science fiction tale told by two lovers, and “The Testaments,” a sequel to “The Handmaid’s Tale.”

The late environmental writer Barry Lopez, who authored “Arctic Dreams,” was awarded the inaugural Writer in the World Prize. Physician Abraham Verghese, author of “The Covenant of Water” and “Cutting for Stone,” won it last year.

The 30th annual Sun Valley Writers’ Conference will run July 20-22. Full passes will go on sale online at at 10 a.m. Mountain Time on Feb. 22. Individual tickets will be sold online in mid-June. Some talks will be livestreamed for free and broadcast to the Pavilion lawn free of charge.

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