Margaret Atwood awarded the British Academy’s most prestigious prize

21 Dec 2020

The Canadian author Margaret Atwood has been awarded the British Academy President’s Medal 2020, in recognition of her outstanding contributions to literature.

Atwood accepted the prestigious award from the President of the British Academy, Professor Sir David Cannadine, who praised the author for inspiring decades of scholarship in the humanities and social sciences with her novels and poetry and their exploration of issues such as gender, faith, politics, ecology and more. The author will speak with David Cannadine at an event hosted by the British Academy in the New Year.

The President’s Medal is the British Academy’s highest honour, in recognition of services to the humanities and the social sciences. Awarded annually, its previous recipients include writer and historian William Dalrymple, primatologist Dame Jane Goodall, internet entrepreneur Jimmy Wales, and the author Dame Hilary Mantel.

Professor Sir David Cannadine, historian and President of the British Academy, said:

“Margaret Atwood’s literary accomplishments have been a source of widespread inspiration and the subject of decades of study by academics around the world. Her influence has played a considerable role in establishing the prominence of feminist scholarship and contemporary literature within the Academy.

“On behalf of the British Academy, I am honoured to present this award to Margaret Atwood. By illuminating ideas and enriching our understanding of the society in which we live, her work pushes the very boundaries of what the humanities and social sciences can achieve.”

On receiving the British Academy President’s Medal, Margaret Atwood said:

“It is a great honour to accept the British Academy President’s Medal. The Academy’s role in the promotion, development and funding of scholarship in the literary and social sciences is much needed when facts and truth in public policy are under assault.”

The British Academy President’s Medal winner’s event: Margaret Atwood

24 Feb 2021 The British Academy on Zoom Webinar

Margaret Atwood, winner of the 2020 British Academy President’s Medal, joins David Cannadine in conversation to discuss her life, wide-ranging work and activism.

Contact the press office

For further information contact the Press Office on press@thebritishacademy.ac.uk  / 020 7969 5273 / 07500 010 432.

Sign up to our email newsletters