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  • Published: 12 March 2024
  • ISBN: 9781529925043
  • Imprint: Vintage
  • Format: Paperback
  • Pages: 272
  • RRP: $22.99

Old Babes in the Wood

A highly personal new collection of stories by the bestselling, twice Booker-winning cultural icon

The new collection from the legendary Atwood is led by the story of a married couple as they travel the road together, the moments big and small that make up a long life of love -- and what comes after

My heart is broken, Nell thinks. But in our family we don’t say, ‘My heart is broken.’ We say, ‘Are there any cookies?’

In this dazzling collection of stories we meet beloved cats, George Orwell, a daughter whose mother may or may not be a witch, a cabal of elderly female academics, and an alien tasked with retelling human fairy tales. And we meet and re-meet Nell and Tig, a long-married couple, and see the moments big and small that make up a life of love – and what comes after.

'She's Margaret Atwood, and she can do anything' Ann Patchett

'There is no greater living writer' Daily Telegraph

'The outstanding novelist of our age' Sunday Times

'A living legend' New York Times Book Review

  • Published: 12 March 2024
  • ISBN: 9781529925043
  • Imprint: Vintage
  • Format: Paperback
  • Pages: 272
  • RRP: $22.99

About the author

Margaret Atwood

Margaret Atwood is the author of more than fifty books of fiction, poetry and critical essays. Her novels include Cat's Eye, The Robber Bride, Alias Grace, The Blind Assassin and the MaddAddam trilogy. Her 1985 classic, The Handmaid's Tale, went back into the bestseller charts with the election of Donald Trump, when the Handmaids became a symbol of resistance against the disempowerment of women, and with the 2017 release of the award-winning Channel 4 TV series. Its sequel, The Testaments, was published in 2019 and was a global number one bestseller and won the Booker Prize.

Atwood has won numerous awards including the Arthur C. Clarke Award for Imagination in Service to Society, the Franz Kafka Prize, the Peace Prize of the German Book Trade and the PEN USA Lifetime Achievement Award. In 2019 she was made a member of the Order of the Companions of Honour for services to literature. She has also worked as a cartoonist, illustrator, librettist, playwright and puppeteer. She lives in Toronto, Canada.

Also by Margaret Atwood

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Praise for Old Babes in the Wood

Atwood...writes infectiously... page after page proving that...[her] lavish literary talents remain wholly undiminished

Reader's Digest

A gripping read... Old Babes in the Wood is further evidence of a writer in full possession of her powers. Atwood will never struggle to find readers, but this collection really is worth their attention

Financial Times

Atwood... is a brilliant and spiky storyteller who can seamlessly turn big issues into page-turners... These are Atwood's most personal tales so far

Sunday Times

The inimitable author of The Handmaid's Tail is spectacular at short stories


This set of interweaving short stories is a perfect way to get a more bite-sized read... There's a story in here that everyone can relate to

Woman & Home

Nell and Tig are the ageing couple whose small dramas and deep feelings bookend this new story collection... brought achingly to life and sharpened by Atwood's dry wit and wily wisdom

Mail on Sunday

[Old Babes in the Wood] showcase[s] Atwood's spiky wit and imagination

Sunday Express

Devastating and thought-provoking in equal measure, you will find yourself thoroughly entertained - and we're sure you'll return to these again and again


If you consider yourself and Atwood fan and have only read her novels: Get your act together. You've been missing out

New York Times Book Review

There are authors we turn to because they can uncannily predict our future; there are authors we need for their skillful diagnosis of our present; and there are authors we love because they can explain our past. And then there are the outliers: those who gift us with timelines other than the one we're stuck in, realities far from home. If anyone has proved, over the course of a long and wildly diverse career, that she can be all four, it's Margaret Atwood . . . Long may she reign

New York Times Book Review

As affecting as any of Atwood's strongest work


Vitality and virtuosity have been the hallmarks of Atwoods literary career - and, as Old Babes in the Wood, published in her 84th year, shows, triumphantly continue to be so... Mortality shadows the book. Vivacity makes it shine

Peter Kemp, Sunday Times

Atwood shows mastery of the short form . . . [The] stories unwrap what TS Eliot called the gifts reserved for age. There are chips and fragments of lives, full of sass and sadness

Sam Leith, Guardian

To be honest, we would read anything this woman writes, but Old Babes in the Wood is one of her best


The Booker winner writes beautifully about ageing and death . . . the silence after the best stories here is akin to how she describes the aftermath of a calamitous event

John Self, The Times

In Old Babes in the Wood, Margaret Atwood delivers her signature sci-fi with a human heart. It is a story collection that teems with playfulness and invention... reminding us of her skill in the short form

Emily Watkins

A highly personal collection

Lisa O'Kelly, Observer

The Tig and Nell stories... are subtle and poignant, written in grief and from the heart

The Oldie

The 15 stories in this collection from the stellar Margaret Atwood are book-ended by the touching, tender, grief-tinged tales of Tig and Nell

Eithne Farry, Daily Mail

Old Babes in the Wood... [is] a clear demonstration of her prevailing skill as a writer

Arts Desk

As her short story collection Old Babes in the Wood debuts at the top of the fiction chart, Margaret Atwood can rest assured that she has reached literary legend status. It was one thing for The Handmaid's Tale to make it to No 1, but quite another for stories narrated by snails and aliens to do it

The Sunday Times

Her latest collection of short stories... proves once again she's also an impassioned observer of everyday people and their struggles, with a hilarious sense of humour

RTE *Book Of The Week*

Each [story] is interesting in its own right...Atwood's imagination and mastery of storytelling is evident

UK Press Syndication

[A] writer who is still so sparky and brilliant in the sudden ways she tips you into despair or delight. Whatever she's up to, I'll take more if it's going

Alys Key, Spectator

Quietly devastating

Suzi Feay, The Tablet

Any new publication by the estimable Atwood...is an event and this collection of 15 short stories is no exception

Evening Standard

Bracing, darkly funny and cheerfully unsentimental

Guardian, *Summer Reads of 2023*

Atwood’s lavish literary talents remain wholly undiminished

Reader's Digest, *Books of the Year*