Canadian poet and novelist, born in Ottawa, who spent much of her early life in the northern Ontario and Quebec bush country. Her first volume of poetry, The Circle Game, appeared in 1966. Her first novel, The Edible Woman (1969), was followed by Surfacing (1972), Lady Oracle (1976), and Life Before Man (1979). She also wrote Survival (1972), a controversial study of themes in Canadian literature, and compiled The New Oxford Book of Canadian Verse in English (1983). Other works include Murder in the Dark (short prose pieces, 1983), Bluebeard's Egg and Other Stories (1983), and Unearthing Suite (stories, 1983). The Handmaid's Tale (1985) is a futuristic fable, set in the imaginary Republic of Gilead, about a woman whose only function is to breed. Cat's Eye (1988) presents the memories of a painter, Elaine Risley, haunted by a childhood tormentor who was also her best friend. The Robber Bride (1994), the story of three friends confronted by a terrifyingly disruptive femme fatale, was followed by The Blind Assassin (2000), winner of the Booker Prize, and the dystopian Oryx and Crake (2003).