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Honorary degree citation to Margaret Eleanor Atwood (Doctor of Letters)
As a sixteen-year old you decided to become a writer, and to our great enrichment you never looked back from that decision. A Handmaid's Tale, Negotiating with the Dead, and Rude Ramsay and the Roaring Radishes are but three of the works for which you are known. Whether novels or criticism, poetry or children's books, there is hardly a medium you have not tried, or succeeded in mastering. With wicked wit and graceful prose you have both inspired and educated us about the issues we confront as a society - ever prodding us into deeper reflection.
Five of your books have been short-listed for the Man Booker Prize, including your most recent work of "speculative fiction," Oryx and Crake; and, indeed, in 2000 you won with The Blind Assassin. The list of your other awards is extensive and includes the Governor General's Literary Award in Canada, for Circle Game and A Handmaid's Tale; the Giller Prize for Alias Grace; and the Los Angeles Times Book Prize honoring the best book of the year, for A Handmaid's Tale.
Following September 11, 2001, you thought of turning to gardening books, "something more cheerful." But then, you wrote, "I started writing again, because what use would gardening books be in a world without gardens, and without books?" What use indeed? Dartmouth is delighted to welcome you into this community with the degree Doctor of Letters.
- James Wright
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