margaret atwood quotes

Best Margaret Atwood Quotes: Inspiring Words from the Acclaimed Author

margaret atwood quotes

Whether you are a literary enthusiast or not, chances are you have come across some of Margaret Atwood’s famous quotes at some point in your life. Margaret Atwood is an award-winning Canadian author and poet who has made a significant impact on the literary world. Her works are well-known for examining societal themes and issues and incorporating feminist perspectives.

Margaret Atwood’s quotes are relatable and thought-provoking, which is why they have continued to gain popularity over the years. Atwood is not afraid to speak the truth, even if it is uncomfortable or controversial. Her quotes not only inspire her readers, but they also encourage reflection on life experiences and encourage critical thinking.

One of the benefits of reading Margaret Atwood’s quotes is that they can provide valuable life lessons. Her quotes cover a wide range of topics, from love to politics, and have the power to inspire and motivate. They can also make you laugh, cry and think about things in a new way.

Overall, Margaret Atwood’s quotes continue to resonate with people today, and they are still relevant because they tackle issues that affect us all. Take some time to read her quotes, and you will find a wealth of wisdom that can inspire and educate you.

Who is Margaret Atwood?

Margaret Atwood is a Canadian author who was born on November 18, 1939, in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada. She is a prolific writer who has written novels, poetry, short stories, non-fiction works, and essays. She has a Bachelor of Arts degree from Victoria College at the University of Toronto and a Master of Arts from Radcliffe College at Harvard University. Atwood is widely regarded as one of the most influential writers of the 20th century and her works have been translated into numerous languages around the world.

Atwood started her writing career as a poet and her first collection of poems, Double Persephone, was published in 1961. Since then, she has published over 20 collections of poetry, including The Circle Game, which won the Governor General’s Award in 1965, and Morning in the Burned House, which was a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award in 1995.

Atwood has also written many novels, including the critically acclaimed The Handmaid’s Tale (1985), which won the Governor General’s Award and the Arthur C. Clarke Award. The novel has been adapted into a television series and has become a cultural phenomenon. Other notable novels include Cat’s Eye (1988), The Blind Assassin (2000), which won the Booker Prize, and The Testaments (2019), the highly-anticipated sequel to The Handmaid’s Tale.

In addition to her novels and poetry, Atwood has also written several works of non-fiction, including Survival: A Thematic Guide to Canadian Literature (1972) and Payback: Debt and the Shadow Side of Wealth (2008). She is also a well-known environmental activist and has been an advocate for causes such as climate change and anti-poverty initiatives.

Atwood’s contributions to literature have not gone unnoticed. She has received numerous awards and honors throughout her career, including the Franz Kafka Prize, the PEN Pinter Prize, and the Los Angeles Times Innovator’s Award. In 2000, she was awarded the Booker Prize, making her the first Canadian woman to receive the prestigious award.

Overall, Margaret Atwood is a literary icon who has made a significant contribution to Canadian literature and to the literary world as a whole. Her works are known for their feminist themes, dystopian settings, and incisive exploration of the human condition.

Top 5 Margaret Atwood Quotes

Margaret Atwood is a prolific writer and her works are celebrated all around the world. Her insightful and thought-provoking statements on life, love, and literature have left a lasting impression on many, inspiring and motivating people to this day. Here are some of her top quotes.

1. “A word after a word after a word is power.”

In this quote, Atwood speaks about the impact that words can have. She emphasizes the importance of taking time and effort to write and to choose one’s words carefully. She believes that words are powerful tools which can influence and affect others, and that it is through writing that people can gain agency and voice which can, in turn, lead to positive changes in the world.

2. “The best way of keeping a secret is to pretend there isn’t one.”

This quote is from Margaret Atwood’s novel “The Blind Assassin.” By stating this, she suggests that pretending everything is fine and not acknowledging the problems can harm people in the long run. Some people believe the act of pretending a problem doesn’t exist is a way of dealing with it, but that simply postpones coming to terms with the issue. This quote could be taken to mean that it is better to come clean about any secrets, rather than trying to keep them hidden in the hopes they will disappear on their own.

Atwood may be implying that secrets that are hidden and repressed often come back to haunt us, and sometimes they can develop into bigger issues that are harder to deal with. This quote resonates with anyone who has struggled with keeping secrets or who has faced difficulty in acknowledging a problem that needs addressing.

3. “We were the people who were not in the papers. We lived in the blank white spaces at the edges of print. It gave us more freedom. We lived in the gaps between the stories.”

This quote is taken from Atwood’s book “The Handmaid’s Tale.” It speaks about the silent, unseen groups of people who are often forgotten by the mainstream media and society. By living in “the gaps between the stories,” these groups can fly under the radar and remain free from the constant scrutiny that others face. This quote serves as a reminder that everyone’s experiences and struggles matter, even if they are not highlighted in the news or popular media.

4. “I would rather be a bad feminist than no feminist at all.”

Atwood has been a strong advocate for women’s rights throughout her writing career. This quote acknowledges that not everyone can be a perfect feminist, and that there will be moments when one might fall short. However, it is important to continue to strive for gender equality in whatever way possible and to not let small failures or mistakes discourage people from advocating for women’s rights.

5. “In the end, we’ll all become stories.”

This quote highlights the importance of storytelling and how it helps people to remember important experiences, events, and people. It also conveys the transient and fleeting nature of life and the inevitability of death. However, through storytelling, people can live on and their legacy can be preserved for future generations.

In conclusion, Margaret Atwood’s quotes are filled with wisdom and insight. Even though these quotes come from different novels, they all contain valuable lessons for readers to take note of. Her words are inspiring and thought-provoking, and they have left an indelible impact on literature and society.

On Writing and Literature

Margaret Atwood is a prolific writer who has contributed a lot to the world of literature. According to her, writing is not just a job, but a way of life. In fact, she believes that writing is almost like breathing, something that you do unconsciously. For her, writing is a way to express emotions and ideas that cannot be expressed in any other way. She says, “A writer is a person who writes. Not necessarily someone who is published.”

Atwood’s view on writing highlights the fact that writing is not a one-time activity, but a continuous process of learning and exploration. She believes that writing is not just about putting words on paper but also about experiencing the world around us. In her words, “Writing is not just about the process, it’s also about the world around us.”

For Atwood, literature plays a significant role in society. She believes that literature is a way of creating empathy and understanding among people. She thinks that literature has the power to shape the world we live in and can inspire people to make a difference. In her words, “Books are not just commodities; they are also the seeds of culture.”

The Role of Imagination in Writing

According to Margaret Atwood, imagination is the key to good writing. She believes that imagination is what makes writing interesting and engaging. She likens writing to cooking, where you need to experiment with different ingredients to create something new and unique. For her, creativity is about combining different ideas and perceptions in a unique way, to create something fresh and original.

In her view, imagination is not just about making things up, but also about observing the world around us. She believes that a good writer is one who can blend their imagination with their observation and create something that is both realistic and fantastical. She says, “Imagination is like a muscle. It grows stronger with use.”

Atwood also believes that imagination is the key to understanding human emotions. She thinks that imagination allows writers to put themselves in other people’s shoes and create characters that are authentic and relatable. She says, “Imagination is not just for creative writing. It is also the way we understand the world around us.”

The Power of Words

Margaret Atwood believes that words are powerful tools that can change the world. In fact, she thinks that words are the most powerful weapons we have. She believes that literature, in particular, has the power to inspire and transform society. In her words, “A word after a word after a word is power.”

For Atwood, words are not just about communication but also about interpretation. She believes that the way we interpret words can change the meaning of what is being said. She thinks that this is why it is essential to use words carefully and to be aware of their potential impact. She says, “Words are not inert; they have consequences.”

Atwood also thinks that words can be used to manipulate and control people. She believes that this is particularly true when it comes to political discourse. She says, “Words can be twisted into any shape. Promises can be made to lull the heart and seduce the soul.”

In conclusion, Margaret Atwood’s reflections on writing and literature highlight the power of imagination, the importance of words, and the transformative nature of literature. She has contributed a lot to the development of literature and her insights on writing serve as an inspiration to many aspiring writers.

On Feminism

Margaret Atwood is known for her powerful and articulate views on feminism, gender roles, and the power dynamics of patriarchy. She has been an advocate for women’s rights and has worked tirelessly to challenge the societal norms that perpetuate gender inequality. Her writing reflects her views, and her quotes have often been used to shed light on the importance of feminism and its role in creating a more equal world.

Atwood’s ideas about gender roles are best summed up by her quote, “Men are afraid women will laugh at them. Women are afraid men will kill them.” This statement highlights the fact that while men are often afraid of losing their sense of power and control, women are afraid of physical harm at the hands of men. Atwood believes that the root of this fear lies in the societal norms that perpetuate violence against women.

Atwood is a firm believer in the power of language and how it can be used to perpetuate or challenge gender norms. In her view, language is a tool for shaping reality, and the words we use can influence the way we see the world. She believes that the language we use to describe men and women is often inaccurate and harmful, perpetuating stereotypes and gender roles that limit our potential as human beings.

Another quote that highlights Atwood’s feminist views is, “Men are not oppressed. Women are.” This statement challenges the notion that men and women are equal in terms of power and privilege. Atwood argues that while men may face their own challenges and struggles, they do not have to deal with the systemic oppression and discrimination that women face every day.

Atwood also believes that patriarchy is the root cause of many of the problems women face. She has said that, “The ‘invisible hand’ of the market will never work without the ‘invisible fist’ women have to provide. Capitalism without feminism is just another bastard form of patriarchy.” This quote highlights the fact that capitalism and patriarchy are intertwined, and that until we address the underlying power dynamics that perpetuate inequality, we will never achieve true gender equality.

In conclusion, Margaret Atwood’s views on feminism, gender roles, and the power dynamics of patriarchy are critical to understanding the ongoing struggle for gender equality. Through her writing and public speaking, she has challenged societal norms and sparked important conversations about the importance of feminism in creating a more just and equitable world. Her quotes continue to inspire women and men alike to continue the fight for women’s rights and gender equality.

On Politics and Society

Margaret Atwood is known for her insightful commentary on politics, society, and human rights issues. Her writings have become a source of inspiration for many people around the world. In this article, we will explore some of her famous quotes on these topics.

Environmental Issues

One of the crucial themes that Atwood has addressed in her work is environmentalism. She is concerned about the impact of human activities on the planet and how climate change poses a threat to our future. Atwood once said, “The environmental crisis is a global problem, and only a global solution will work. We need to act now to save our planet.” This quote captures the urgency of the climate crisis and the need for collective action.

In addition, Atwood has criticized the short-sightedness of governments and corporations when it comes to environmental issues. She believes that they prioritize profit over the well-being of people and nature. Atwood said, “Greed, the desire to have more, is the root of all evil. It is the source of our environmental problems, and until we address it, we will never solve them.”

Politics and Power

Atwood is critical of how power is wielded by those in positions of authority. She has written about totalitarian regimes, dystopian societies, and the dangers of authoritarianism. Her quote, “Anybody could be a slave, anybody could be free. It all depended on the circumstances,” highlights how fragile our freedom is and how easily it can be taken away by those in power.

In addition, Atwood has spoken about the importance of resistance and social activism to overcome oppressive systems. She believes that change can only happen when people come together and fight for what is right. “A word after a word after a word is power,” Atwood said. “Add the other words, such as social justice, and together they are greater than the sum of their parts.”

Human Rights

As a feminist writer, Atwood has championed women’s rights and gender equality throughout her career. She is outspoken about issues such as sexual harassment, reproductive rights, and gender-based violence. Atwood once said, “Men are afraid that women will laugh at them. Women are afraid that men will kill them.” This quote highlights the deep-seated fear that women live with every day and the need to address the systemic inequalities that perpetuate it.

In addition, Atwood has addressed issues of race, identity, and social justice in her work. She believes that everyone deserves to be treated with dignity and respect, regardless of their background or status. “We still think of a powerful man as a born leader and a powerful woman as an anomaly,” Atwood said. “In fact, a powerful woman is just someone who has had to work a lot harder to get there.”

Final Thoughts

Margaret Atwood’s quotes on politics, society, and human rights reflect her deep concern for the world we live in and her passion for making it a better place. She challenges us to think critically about the issues we face and to take action to create a more just and equitable society.

Atwood’s words inspire us to look beyond ourselves and to consider the needs of others. They remind us that we are all connected and that our actions have consequences. Ultimately, Atwood’s message is one of hope – the hope that through our collective efforts, we can create a better world for ourselves and for future generations.

Margaret Atwood’s Quotes Still Resonate with Readers After Decades

Margaret Atwood is a literary icon for good reason. Her words are impactful, thought-provoking, and have stood the test of time. Decades after they were first uttered, her quotes continue to resonate with readers around the world. Here, we take a look at why her words continue to have an enduring relevance.

1. Atwood’s Words on Rebellion

Atwood is perhaps best known for her novel, The Handmaid’s Tale, which has been adapted into a popular television series. The book tells the story of a dystopian society where women are enslaved for their ability to bear children. Atwood’s words on rebellion are particularly poignant in this context. She once said, “A word after a word after a word is power.” This sentiment speaks to the idea that through language, we have the power to challenge authority, to resist oppression, and to ultimately pave the way for change.

2. Atwood’s Words on Gender

Atwood has long been an advocate for gender equality, and her words on the subject have been both inspiring and eye-opening. In reference to societal expectations placed on women, she once said, “Men are afraid that women will laugh at them. Women are afraid that men will kill them.” This quote speaks to the pervasive fear that many women experience, simply because of their gender. However, it also highlights the power dynamics at play in our society, and the ways in which expectations and stereotypes can be harmful to both men and women.

3. Atwood’s Words on Love

Atwood’s thoughts on love are both beautiful and complex. In reference to the nature of romantic love, she once said, “Love blurs your vision; but after it recedes, you can see more clearly than ever. It’s like the tide going out, revealing whatever’s been thrown away and sunk: broken bottles, old gloves, rusting pop cans, nibbled fishbodies, bones. This is what love amounts to – letting a person see what you really look like, naked.” This quote speaks to the idea that love can be both transformative and revealing, and that it requires vulnerability and honesty from both parties.

4. Atwood’s Words on Writing

As a prominent author, it’s no surprise that Atwood has had a lot to say about the craft of writing. One of her most famous quotes on the subject is, “A writer is a person who uses written words to tell stories or ideas. But a writer is more than a person who writes books. A writer is someone who puts words into a flow that people want to read.” Here, Atwood emphasizes the importance of not just writing for the sake of writing, but of crafting stories that resonate with readers and capture their attention.

5. Atwood’s Words on Nature

Atwood has long been an advocate for environmentalism, and her words on the subject are both sobering and powerful. In reference to the state of the planet, she once said, “The environment is everything that isn’t me.” This quote speaks to the idea that we often take our surroundings for granted, and that we need to prioritize protecting the planet for the sake of future generations.

6. Atwood’s Words on the Human Experience

Perhaps one of the reasons why Atwood’s words continue to resonate with readers is because they speak to the larger human experience. In reference to the complexities of life, she once said, “We lived in the gaps between the stories.” This quote speaks to the idea that our experiences are shaped not just by the stories we tell ourselves, but by the moments in between those stories – the everyday occurrences, the mundane details, the time we spend with loved ones. It speaks to the idea that the fullness of life cannot be captured in grand narratives alone.

Conclusion: The Enduring Relevance of Margaret Atwood’s Quotes

In sum, Margaret Atwood’s words continue to resonate with readers because they capture the complexities of the human experience. Her thoughts on rebellion, gender, love, writing, nature, and the everyday moments of life all speak to larger themes that transcend time and place. As a result, her words will continue to be read and admired for years to come.

FAQs and Conclusions


  • Q: What are some famous quotes by Margaret Atwood?
  • A: Some famous Margaret Atwood quotes include “We still think of a powerful man as a born leader and a powerful woman as an anomaly” and “A word after a word after a word is power.”

  • Q: What is Margaret Atwood known for?
  • A: Margaret Atwood is a renowned Canadian poet, novelist, literary critic, and environmental activist. She is known for her feminist and dystopian writing.

  • Q: What inspired Margaret Atwood to write “The Handmaid’s Tale”?
  • A: Margaret Atwood was inspired to write “The Handmaid’s Tale” after listening to the speeches of religious fundamentalists in the United States in the early 1980s. She was also influenced by the unstable political climate of the time.

  • Q: What are some themes in Margaret Atwood’s works?
  • A: Margaret Atwood’s works often deal with themes of feminism, environmentalism, politics, religion, and dystopia.

  • Q: What is the significance of the title “The Edible Woman” by Margaret Atwood?
  • A: “The Edible Woman” by Margaret Atwood is about a woman who is consumed by social expectations and loses her sense of identity. The title refers to the protagonist’s feeling of being reduced to an object or a thing.

  • Q: What is the message of Margaret Atwood’s “Alias Grace”?
  • A: “Alias Grace” by Margaret Atwood is about the real-life case of Grace Marks, a Canadian woman who was convicted of murder in the 19th century. The novel explores themes of gender, class, memory, and truth.

  • Q: What is the meaning of Margaret Atwood’s quote “Men are afraid that women will laugh at them…”?
  • A: Margaret Atwood’s quote “Men are afraid that women will laugh at them. Women are afraid that men will kill them.” points out the power dynamic between men and women and the different dangers that each gender faces.

  • Q: What are some other books written by Margaret Atwood?
  • A: Some other books written by Margaret Atwood include “Oryx and Crake,” “Cat’s Eye,” “The Blind Assassin,” “The Testaments,” and “MaddAddam.”

  • Q: What is the significance of the “Testaments” in Margaret Atwood’s writing?
  • A: “The Testaments” is a sequel to “The Handmaid’s Tale” and explores the events that occur fifteen years after the first book. The novel ties up loose ends and provides closure for characters and readers alike.

  • Q: How has Margaret Atwood’s writing influenced modern literature?
  • A: Margaret Atwood’s writing has influenced modern literature by pushing the boundaries of genre and style. Her dystopian visions, feminist themes, and incisive social commentary have inspired countless writers and readers.


Margaret Atwood is a prominent figure in the literary world, known for her groundbreaking and thought-provoking writing. Her works explore themes of feminism, environmentalism, politics, religion and dystopia. Her influence on modern literature has been significant, and her famous quotes inspire, challenge, and provoke thought. Through her writing, Atwood has given voice to marginalized groups, challenged the status quo, and inspired readers to think about the world around them in new ways.

Whether it is through her famous works such as “The Handmaid’s Tale,” “Alias Grace” or her latest “The Testaments,” or her thought-provoking quotes, Margaret Atwood continues to inspire readers and writers across the world to push beyond the limits of their imagination and create stories that challenge the status quo.

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