All stories relating to Margaret Atwood
Margaret Atwood and Graeme Gibson met with the editorial board at the Windsor Star on Thursday to talk ferries, farming, and living anonymously on Pelee Island.
The couple stopped in at the newspaper’s offices on their way to Springsong, an annual event held on Pelee Island, about 100 kilometres southeast of Windsor, Ontario, on Lake Erie. Now in its 11th year, the fundraiser is put on by the Pelee Island Heritage Centre in celebration of local bird populations and Canadian literature. Atwood and Gibson,who have owned property on the island since 1987, regularly take part in the festivities. They will be joined this year by authors Wayne Grady and Merilyn Simonds.
In a video posted to the Star‘s website, Atwood discusses how the lack of transportation to the island (the area’s ferries have been out of service since April) has had devastating effects on the community. “The people who are really being hard hit at the moment are the farmers, because they cannot get their seed onto the island so they can’t plant anything,” Atwood says. Gibson adds: “And no one seems prepared to do anything realistic for them.”
Later in the interview, Atwood explains the island’s appeal to a CanLit icon: “Tourists go over and say, ‘You’re Margaret Atwood.’ … People on the island say, ‘Margaret who? … When people say, ‘Come and do such-and-such,’ I say, ‘Well, I actually can’t because I’m on the island.”
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Atwood returns to her villainous character in “I Dream of Zenia with the Bright Red Teeth,” the first short story to be published by the Walrus Foundation’s new imprint, The Walrus Books.
Printed by Coach House Books, the limited-edition, 32-page story is available for $35 (and comes with a subscription to the magazine), exclusively to new and renewing subscribers of The Walrus magazine’s print, digital, and tablet editions. Atwood will sign and number the first 100 copies of the 2,000 being produced.
The story will also appear in the magazine’s Summer Reading issue, on newsstands June 11.
Yesterday, McArthur & Company announced that it has sold TV rights to Margaret Atwood’s Wandering Wenda and Friends children’s books to Breakthrough Entertainment. The deal comprises rights to the series’ previously published picture books — Wandering Wenda, Bashful Bob and Doleful Dorinda, Princess Prunella, and Rude Ramsay — as well as a forthcoming fifth fable, Silent Sam (all illustrated by Dušan Petričić).
Breakthrough, the Toronto TV production and distribution company behind HBO Canada’s Less Than Kind, and kids’ shows such as Crash Canyon and The Adventures of Dudley the Dragon, has confirmed that it’s developing the books into an animated series for preschoolers.
The news comes on the heels of another recent Atwood adaptation. Earlier this month, Payback, a documentary based on the author’s 2008 Massey lectures, came out to positive reviews.
While it may be inaccurate to call Jennifer Baichwal’s documentary Payback a direct adaptation of Margaret Atwood’s best-selling book Payback: Debt and the Shadow Side of Wealth (House of Anansi Press), the venerable author’s thoughts on justice and reparation remain at the heart of the film.
“What happens when people don’t pay their debts, or can’t pay their debts, or won’t pay their debts? What if the debt is one that by its very nature cannot be repaid,” Atwood muses on camera.
Baichwal (director of the acclaimed 2006 documentary Manufactured Landscapes) gives a human face to the concepts explored in Atwood’s book, which originated as a five-part Massey Lecture series in 2008. The film follows several storylines, including the plight of exploited Florida tomato farmers, the 2012 BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, and convicted thief Paul Mohammed, whose personal tale of incarceration is contrasted with that of media mogul Conrad Black, who is interviewed in his Palm Springs home while out on bail.
According to a story in The Globe and Mail, Atwood vowed she would never give a Massey lecture after “book rights for the long-standing lecture series threatened to go to Penguin and away from the House of Anansi Press, with which Atwood has a long attachment.” When Anansi retained the rights, Atwood said she was “morally obligated” to participate.
In the last scene of the documentary, several interviewees read excerpts from the book, including Black, economist Raj Patel, and a rural Albanian man whose family has been living under house arrest since he was accused of shooting his neighbour over an escalating land dispute.
Anansi publicist Kate McQuaid says the company is thrilled with the film, and has been “blanketing” Toronto retailers with copies of the book. Anansi also produced a special Payback bookmark, which was distributed to guests at a V.I.P. preview screening, held at the TIFF Lightbox theatre on March 14.
Payback, which premiered at the Sundance Film Festival in January, opens in Toronto and Montreal on March 16, in Vancouver on March 23, with future releases planned for Victoria, Ottawa, Edmonton, Winnipeg, Waterloo, and Saskatoon. Baichwal and Atwood will conduct a Q&A following the 6:30 p.m. screenings at Toronto’s Varsity Theatre on March 16 and 17. Atwood will also be interviewed by Matt Galloway, host of CBC Radio’s Metro Morning, at a free event on March 18 (3 p.m., Indigo Manulife Centre, Toronto).
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The sparkle quotient was high on Feb. 9 as supporters of the Toronto Public Library Foundation gathered at the Fairmont Royal York Hotel for the Book Lover’s Ball, the organization’s high-profile annual fundraiser.
One of the evening’s main events was a fashion show featuring the work of six Toronto designers, who were each paired with a book that matched their aesthetic or style.
Before the event, Quillblog spoke to designer Adrian Wu about his book, Margaret Atwood’s In Other Worlds. Click on the thumbnails to see how Wu interpreted Atwood’s essay collection, and other highlights of the evening.
Adrian Wu at Toronto Fashion Week. Photo: George Pimentel
Tonight is the Book Lover’s Ball, an annual fundraiser that brings out the tuxedos and gowns in support of the Toronto Public Library Foundation.
A formidable list of authors, including Erin Morgenstern, Lawrence Hill, Kathleen Winter, Miriam Toews, and Peter C. Newman will be mingling with guests who paid anywhere from $600 to $8,000 (for a premium corporate table) to attend the dinner and auction.
The evening will conclude with a fashion show featuring the work of six Toronto designers. Each designer was paired with a book that shares a common thread to the designer’s aesthetic or philosophy.
Quillblog spoke to 21-year-old design wunderkind Adrian Wu, who was paired with Margaret Atwood’s science-fiction essay collection, In Other Worlds: SF and the Human Imagination (Signal/McClelland & Stewart). It’s a bright idea, considering Wu’s voluminous spring/summer 2012 collection was partly inspired by quantum physics, specifically the double-slit experiment, which deals with the behaviour of light waves and particles.
What did you think when you were approached to participate in the show?
They asked if I was comfortable being paired up with Margaret Atwood. What do you say to that? Of course, I was ecstatic. This is one of the biggest collaborations that I have done and I’m honoured to work with such a legendary icon.
Did you relate to the book?
Margaret Atwood is unconventional, and I consider my collection to be an unconventional commentary on society. She’s witty but still serious; I relate to her contradictions.
I guess you could also say I’m fascinated with inhuman qualities and fantasy. I’ve always loved X-Men.
How do you translate the essence of a book into fashion?
What I’m showing is more of a styled version of my collection, but I did alter the collection to fit the meaning of the book. It’s more feminine and less ambiguous than as it was presented at Toronto Fashion Week.