Best Authors for Fans of Margaret Atwood

Margaret Atwood is one of the most iconic authors of all time, period. But if you've worked your way through all of her stellar audiobooks and don’t know where to go next, here are some listens by authors similar to Atwood that you will surely enjoy.

Iconic Canadian author Margaret Atwood is more than a beloved novelist, poet, and essayist. She’s also a feminist, environmental activist, and innovator—in 2004, she invented a remote robotic writing device called the LongPen. Atwood’s works reflect her inventiveness and passions. Her writing deals with themes of feminism and gender identity, art and expression, animal rights, political activism, and environmentalism. Atwood examines these themes across many genres, including nonfiction, poetry, dystopian fiction, science fiction, and retellings of mythology.

Margaret Atwood has been incredibly prolific and influential since her first publication, the poetry book Double Persephone, released in 1961. In a career that has spanned more than 60 years, Atwood has published more than 60 works, including novels, short story collections, poetry, nonfiction, children’s books, and graphic novels. In other words, there are plenty of Atwood’s works to read and listen to. But if you're seeking new authors whose work will resonate with fans of The Handmaid's Tale, Alias Grace, Oryx and Crake, and The Blind Assassin, here are a dozen well worth checking out. The 12 authors we've spotlighted explore similar themes to Margaret Atwood's favorites through speculative fiction.

 

Kazuo Ishiguro

Kazuo Ishiguro is a Nobel Prize-winning British novelist, screenwriter, and short story author whose works explore issues of identity, regret, and nostalgia. Like Atwood, Ishiguro's writing spans many genres, but one genre he often returns to is literary sci-fi, as he did in his most recent novel, Klara and the Sun

Why Atwood fans will like Ishiguro: Both Atwood and Ishiguro use the literary science fiction genre to explore more conceptual themes of identity and human connection.

Must Listen: You can’t go wrong Never Let Me Go, Margaret Atwood's pick for her favorite Ishiguro novel. In a recent piece for The Guardian, Atwood described Never Let Me Go as "a brilliantly executed book by a master craftsman who has chosen a difficult subject: ourselves, seen through a glass, darkly.”

Never Let Me Go

From the Booker Prize-winning author of The Remains of the Day and When We Were Orphans comes an unforgettable mystery that is at once heartbreakingly tender and morally courageous....

Never Let Me Go

From the Booker Prize-winning author of The Remains of the Day and When We Were Orphans comes an unforgettable mystery that is at once heartbreakingly tender and morally courageous....

 

Octavia E. Butler

Octavia E. Butler’s works are often compared to Margaret Atwood's and vice versa, to the point where many have wondered if Butler and Atwood have influenced each other. A Hugo and Nebula award-winning author, and a MacArthur Genius Grant recipient, Butler aimed to write science fiction stories that explore issues of race and class with strong women at their center.

Why Atwood fans will like Butler: If you love Atwood’s sci-fi and speculative fiction stories because they often focus on issues of feminism and social justice, then you’ll be pleased to see the same strengths in Butler’s storytelling.

Must Listen: Fans of Margaret Atwood’s MaddAddam Trilogy will also enjoy Butler’s dystopian series Earthseed, beginning with Parable of the Sower.

Parable of the Sower

Among the first fictions that you might term “eco-feminist,” if you were in a terming mood. This series is now a classic, and underlines a true thing: The condition of women and the condition of the environment are closely joined. These three books follow the small community of Earthseed as it struggles against both horrible conditions and horrible people. Much to ponder.

Parable of the Sower

Among the first fictions that you might term “eco-feminist,” if you were in a terming mood. This series is now a classic, and underlines a true thing: The condition of women and the condition of the environment are closely joined. These three books follow the small community of Earthseed as it struggles against both horrible conditions and horrible people. Much to ponder.

 

Yoko Ogawa

For another prolific author like Margaret Atwood who writes through an eclectic mix of genres, try Yoko Ogawa. Ogawa is a Japanese writer who has published more than 50 works of fiction and nonfiction since 1988.

Why Atwood fans will like Ogawa: Like Atwood, Yoko Ogawa’s novels feature interesting and complicated female characters reckoning with their identity and self-expression.

Must Listen: For more unsettling dystopian stories like the ones Atwood writes so well, give Yoko Ogawa’s The Memory Police a listen.

The Memory Police

A surreal, provocative fable about the power of memory and the trauma of loss, The Memory Police is a stunning new work from one of the most exciting contemporary authors writing in any language....

The Memory Police

A surreal, provocative fable about the power of memory and the trauma of loss, The Memory Police is a stunning new work from one of the most exciting contemporary authors writing in any language....

 

Naomi Alderman

Naomi Alderman is a British novelist who is also a feminist and women’s right activist. Like Atwood, Alderman’s activism has greatly influenced her work. In 2012, Naomi Alderman was actually selected as a protégée by Margaret Atwood under the Rolex Mentor and Protégé Arts Initiative program.

Why Atwood fans will like Alderman: As Margaret Atwood’s mentee, Naomi Alderman unsurprisingly exhibits touches of the Canadian author’s style in her own writing. In fact, Alderman’s work has even been described as “Atwoodian.”

Must Listen: You’ll want to listen to Alderman’s The Power, a dystopian novel that looks at what happens when gender roles are reversed after young women across the globe are given a formidable power. Alderman dedicated this novel to her mentor, Margaret Atwood.

The Power

For Your Kickass Sister: Few books feel as timely as this one, and don’t you want to prove how with-it you truly are? A work of mind-boggling speculative fiction, The Power imagines a future world in which teenage women are able to channel a form of electricity—called their “power,” naturally—through a muscle near their collarbones, and what they do with it… well, it feels like an essential course correction to modern events and an eerily prescient and physical manifestation of last year’s march and the #MeToo movement. Drawing worthwhile comparison to The Handmaid’s Tale, this novel ricochets around the globe with clever interpretations of rich characters, while upping that familiar Beyoncé refrain to the next level: what happens if girls really did run—and shock—the world? Global upheaval! The reversal of millennia of entrenched power dynamics! But, of course, plenty of corruption and sexism, too. There are enough blurred lines here to discuss for weeks. Your sister will be pleased.

The Power

For Your Kickass Sister: Few books feel as timely as this one, and don’t you want to prove how with-it you truly are? A work of mind-boggling speculative fiction, The Power imagines a future world in which teenage women are able to channel a form of electricity—called their “power,” naturally—through a muscle near their collarbones, and what they do with it… well, it feels like an essential course correction to modern events and an eerily prescient and physical manifestation of last year’s march and the #MeToo movement. Drawing worthwhile comparison to The Handmaid’s Tale, this novel ricochets around the globe with clever interpretations of rich characters, while upping that familiar Beyoncé refrain to the next level: what happens if girls really did run—and shock—the world? Global upheaval! The reversal of millennia of entrenched power dynamics! But, of course, plenty of corruption and sexism, too. There are enough blurred lines here to discuss for weeks. Your sister will be pleased.

 

Sophie Mackintosh

Sophie Mackintosh is a British novelist and short story writer who was nominated for the 2018 Man Booker Prize for her debut novel, The Water Cure. Although a relatively new author, Mackintosh has already established a strong narrative voice.

Why Atwood fans will like Mackintosh: Similar to Atwood’s works, Mackintosh’s novels use apocalyptic and dystopian story lines to explore the real struggles that women face.

Must Listen: If you love The Handmaids Tale, check out Mackintosh’s latest feminist dystopian novel, Blue Ticket.

Blue Ticket

Calla knows how the lottery works. Everyone does. On the day of your first bleed, you report to the station to learn what kind of woman you will be. A white ticket grants you marriage and children. A blue ticket grants you a career and freedom....

Blue Ticket

Calla knows how the lottery works. Everyone does. On the day of your first bleed, you report to the station to learn what kind of woman you will be. A white ticket grants you marriage and children. A blue ticket grants you a career and freedom....

 

Madeline Miller

American novelist Madeline Miller kept her day job as a Latin and Greek teacher while she worked on her first novel, The Song of Achilles, which took 10 years to write. The amount of research and time Miller invested in her publishing debut certainly paid off: The Song of Achilles went on to win the Orange Prize for Fiction. Her second novel was released in 2018, and between the two novels, Miller has already developed quite a devoted following.

Why Atwood fans will like Miller: Miller is known for her stunning and thought-provoking stories that reimagine mythology through a feminist lens. For Atwood fans who especially love her works like The Penelopiad, Madeline Miller is the obvious next step.

Must Listen: Miller’s sophomore novel Circe, a story told from the perspective of the enchantress in Homer’s Odyssey, is not to be missed.  

Circe

In the house of Helios, god of the sun and mightiest of the Titans, a daughter is born. But Circe is a strange child - not powerful, like her father, nor viciously alluring, like her mother....

Circe

In the house of Helios, god of the sun and mightiest of the Titans, a daughter is born. But Circe is a strange child - not powerful, like her father, nor viciously alluring, like her mother....

 

Ling Ma

Author Ling Ma was born in Sanming, China, and grew up in Utah, Nebraska, and Kansas. Her debut novel, the post-apocalyptic Severance, received the Kirkus Prize. While Ma’s novel imagines a world much different than the worlds imagined in Atwood’s apocalyptic and dystopian novels, both authors explore similarly politically charged themes. Additionally, Ling Ma’s work examines feelings of otherness and a search for identity.

Why Atwood fans will like Ma: Ma’s writing examines what happens when injustices in the world are swept under the rug and allowed to continue until it is far too late to stop them, much like what happens in Margaret Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale.  

Must Listen: Ling Ma’s Severance is a dystopian novel with inventiveness and political drive that are certain to resonate with Atwood fans.

Severance

Maybe it’s the end of the world, but not for Candace Chen, a millennial, first-generation American and office drone meandering her way into adulthood in Ling Ma’s offbeat, wryly funny, apocalyptic satire, Severance....

Severance

Maybe it’s the end of the world, but not for Candace Chen, a millennial, first-generation American and office drone meandering her way into adulthood in Ling Ma’s offbeat, wryly funny, apocalyptic satire, Severance....

 

Ursula K. Le Guin

Ursula K. Le Guin was an American author who, like Margaret Atwood, wrote across many genres, including fiction, nonfiction, and poetry. But the author is most well-known for her speculative fiction that explores themes like politics, gender identity, race, sexuality, and coming of age.

Why Atwood fans will like Le Guin: Ursula K. Le Guin is beloved for her feminist science fiction and fantasy stories. So, if what you most admire about Atwood is her feminist speculative fiction, you will definitely appreciate Le Guin.

Must Listen: When Le Guin’s The Left Hand of Darkness first came out in 1969, it was considered groundbreaking for the way the story handled gender identity and sexuality. And it’s a novel that absolutely holds up to this day. If you’re looking to dive deeper into feminist speculative fiction, including Atwood's works, listen to this one. 

The Left Hand of Darkness

I snuck this one in even though it is technically a zucchini rather than a beet — being set on another planet — because I like it a lot, and because it’s even more relevant now than when it was written. The two kinds of society described have lessons for us all — I prefer the society that goes in for court intrigues rather than wars, but I may be very old-fashioned. As for the gender-shifting, “intersectionality” doesn’t even touch it. Radical in the ways it forces the reader to imagine other ways of being human.

The Left Hand of Darkness

I snuck this one in even though it is technically a zucchini rather than a beet — being set on another planet — because I like it a lot, and because it’s even more relevant now than when it was written. The two kinds of society described have lessons for us all — I prefer the society that goes in for court intrigues rather than wars, but I may be very old-fashioned. As for the gender-shifting, “intersectionality” doesn’t even touch it. Radical in the ways it forces the reader to imagine other ways of being human.

 

Paolo Bacigalupi

American author Paolo Bacigalupi is another Hugo and Nebula award-winning author of science fiction and fantasy who’s worth checking out if you love Margaret Atwood. Like Atwood, Bacigalupi is an environmental activist, and his interest in environmentalism, like the effects of bioengineering and the depletion of fossil fuels, shows up in his novels.

Why Atwood fans will like Bacigalupi: If you’re looking for more novels that explore environmentalist themes through speculative fiction like Atwood does in so many of her stories, then give Bacigalupi’s writing a listen.

Must Listen: The Windup Girl is a post-apocalyptic novel that explores the effects of bioengineering. It’s the perfect listen for fans of Atwood who were interested in the environmentalism in Atwood’s MaddAddam Trilogy.

The Windup Girl

Anderson Lake is a company man. He combs Bangkok's street markets in search of foodstuffs thought to be extinct. There, he encounters Emiko, a strange and beautiful engineered being....

The Windup Girl

Anderson Lake is a company man. He combs Bangkok's street markets in search of foodstuffs thought to be extinct. There, he encounters Emiko, a strange and beautiful engineered being....

 

Pat Barker

Pat Barker is an English novelist whose fiction explores themes of memory, trauma, and survival. Like Atwood, some of Barker’s works reimagine myths and classic stories with a more sympathetic eye towards the female characters.

Why Atwood fans will like Barker: Barker is another novelist like Atwood who writes stunning and moving novels in the speculative fiction tradition that explore feminist issues.

Must Listen: Pat Barker’s The Silence of the Girls does for The Iliad what Margaret Atwood's The Penelopiad did for The Odyssey. 

The Silence of the Girls

From the Booker Prize-winning author comes a monumental new masterpiece. Pat Barker turns her attention to the timeless legend of The Iliad, as experienced by the captured women living in the Greek camp in the final weeks of the Trojan War....

The Silence of the Girls

From the Booker Prize-winning author comes a monumental new masterpiece. Pat Barker turns her attention to the timeless legend of The Iliad, as experienced by the captured women living in the Greek camp in the final weeks of the Trojan War....

 

N.K. Jemisin

N.K. Jemisin is an American science fiction and fantasy author whose novels often confront themes of discrimination and oppression. With her Broken Earth trilogy, Jemisin became the first author ever to win the Hugo Award for Best Novel three years in a row. She was also a recipient of the MacArthur Genius Grant in 2020.

Why Atwood fans will like Jemisin: Margaret Atwood herself has called N.K. Jemisin “lavishly talented.” And it’s easy to understand why Atwood would so admire Jemisin: both authors are activists, both through their written words and in the real world.

Must Listen: Jemisin’s Broken Earth series has a lot of plot points and themes that will connect with Atwood fans, specifically its focus on the effects of climate change and social injustice. Start with the first book, The Fifth Season.

The Fifth Season

This is the way the world ends. For the last time. A season of endings has begun. It starts with the great, red rift across the heart of the world's sole continent, spewing ash....

The Fifth Season

This is the way the world ends. For the last time. A season of endings has begun. It starts with the great, red rift across the heart of the world's sole continent, spewing ash....

 

Natalie Haynes

Natalie Haynes is an English writer and literary scholar who studied the classics at Cambridge University. She’s also a journalist, a broadcaster, and a standup comedian. And she brings all of these multifaceted sides of herself into her novels. Like Margaret Atwood, she’s written in a variety of genres, including essays, nonfiction, children’s stories, and of course, novels.

Why Atwood fans will like Haynes: If you enjoy Atwood’s feminist retellings of mythology, then you’ll love what Natalie Haynes does with the classics in her novels.

Must Listen: Hayne’s third novel, A Thousand Ships is a retelling of the Trojan War from an all-female perspective. We can’t help but think Margaret Atwood would approve.

A Thousand Ships

In the middle of the night, a woman wakes to find her beloved city engulfed in flames. Ten seemingly endless years of conflict between the Greeks and the Trojans are over. Troy has fallen....

A Thousand Ships

In the middle of the night, a woman wakes to find her beloved city engulfed in flames. Ten seemingly endless years of conflict between the Greeks and the Trojans are over. Troy has fallen....

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