Margaret Atwood’s Ex-Husband, Partner & Children: 5 Fast Facts You Need to Know

Margaret Atwood

Getty Margaret Atwood, author of "The Handmaid’s Tale" and dozens of other critically-acclaimed novels, has one daughter with her late partner Graeme Gibson.

Margaret Atwood, the celebrated author of The Handmaid’s Tale and dozens of other critically-acclaimed novels, is featured in the upcoming documentary based on her life: Margaret Atwood: A Word After a Word After a Word Is Power. The highly anticipated documentary will be released on Hulu on November 19, 2019.

Atwood has one daughter with her late partner and fellow novelist Graeme Gibson. Atwood’s daughter, Eleanor “Jess” Atwood Gibson, was born in 1976 and resides in Brooklyn with her Atwood’s grandchild. With all eyes on the famous author, fans might be wondering about her children, her family and her personal life. Read on for details about Atwood’s ex-husband, late partner and daughter below:

Atwood Was Married to  Husband Jim Polk For Five Years

Atwood was married to her first husband, Jim Polk, for five years; the two were together between 1968 and 1973. According to a profile by the Guardian, Polk was an American writer she had met at Harvard, and the two tied the know after “five years of equivocation.” Atwood described her Montreal wedding as having a “faintly shambolic and surreal quality that would later inform the comical episode of Joan Foster’s marriage ceremony in Lady Oracle,” according to the Guardian.

As her career began taking off, she and Polk eventually drifted apart, and Atwood began a relationship with the novelist Graeme Gibson.

She Met Graeme Gibson in the 1970s & Described Him as the ‘Husband Every Novelist Should Marry’

Atwood and Gibson met through writing circles in the 1970s, following her divorce from her first husband. The couple never married, but lived together in Toronto until his death, according to Time. Gibson previously had two sons — Matthew and Grae Gibson — with his ex-wife Shirley Gibson.

Gibson was the author of several novels, including Five Legs, Gentleman Death and Communion, as well as several non-fiction books like The Bedside Book of Birds and Eleven Canadian Novelists. According to Time, Gibson was the founding member of multiple writers’ organizations, including the Writers’ Trust of CanadaPEN Canada and Writers’ Union of Canada.

A female fan once described Atwood’s late partner as “the husband every novelist should marry,” and, according to the Guardian, Atwood loved the compliment so much that she had it printed on a t-shirt. The couple have one daughter together – Eleanor Atwood Gibson – who is now in her early 40s; you can read more about her later in this article.

Gibson Died in September, 2019 Due to Complications With Dementia

Gibson died at the age of 85 on September 18, 2019 after suffering from dementia. Atwood said in a statement that her family was “devastated by the loss of Graeme, our beloved father, grandfather, and spouse, but we are happy that he achieved the kind of swift exit he wanted and avoided the decline into further dementia that he feared.”

According to the Guardian, Atwood said he “had a lovely last few weeks, and he went out on a high, surrounded by love, friendship and appreciation.”

“We are grateful for his wise, ethical and committed life,” Atwood added. Although Gibson had dementia, he continued to travel with Atwood, who told Time magazine earlier this month that she had completed The Testaments while caring for him.

She & Gibson Gave Up Farming When Their Daughter Was Born

In May 1976, Atwood and Gibson had a daughter, whom they named Eleanor “Jess” Atwood Gibson. After welcoming their daughter to the world, they decided to give up the farming life, to spare Jess from “spend[ing] about four hours a day on the school bus,” according to the Guardian. Atwood added, “It was a shame: but on the other hand farming was a hell of a lot of work.”

According to another profile written by the Guardian, Jess is now an art historian who lives in Brooklyn with Atwood’s grandson. A close friend of Atwood, novelist Valerie Martin, said she and her daughter Jess were both incredibly brave while Gibson was dying. “She’s being very brave about it and so is their daughter, Jess,” Martin told the publication, adding that they were figuring out what to do about his health one step at a time.

Atwood Recently Released a Sequel to The Handmaid’s Tale

Atwood recently released a sequel to her critically-acclaimed novel The Handmaid’s Tale; the sequel, titled The Testaments, was published on September 10, 2019.

She announced in November, 2018 that fans and readers of her original novel were her inspiration for the sequel, as well as “the world we’ve been living in.” The book split the prestigious Booker Prize with British author Bernardine Evaristo last month and was on the New York Times Bestseller List for several weeks following its release.

Hulu and MGM are currently in the process of developing an adaptation of the book for the screen, according to the Hollywood Reporter.

Tune in Tuesday, November 19 to catch the premiere of Margaret Atwood: A Word After a Word After a Word is Power on Hulu. In the meantime, check out this author’s profile for more entertainment news and TV coverage.

READ NEXT: Margaret Atwood Documentary: When is it Released on Hulu?

Comment Here
Notify of
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Would love your thoughts, please comment.x