All stories relating to Margaret Atwood
Sarah Polley is one step closer to bringing Margaret Atwood’s 1996 novel Alias Grace to the big screen. According to the Canadian Press, Polley’s adaptation of the Giller Prize–winning book is one of 29 scripts in development with Astral’s Harold Greenberg Fund.
Away from Her, Polley’s 2007 directorial debut (an adaptation of Alice Munro’s short story “The Bear Came Over the Mountain”), earned her an Oscar nomination for best adapted screenplay.
UPDATE: Also included in this round of funding are adaptations of Michael Nicoll Yahgulanaas’s graphic novel Red: A Haida Manga (Douglas & McIntyre), scripted by Joseph Boyden; Alison Pick’s novel Far to Go (House of Anansi Press), co-written by playwrights Rosa Laborde and Hannah Moscovitch; Wayson Choy’s novel All That Matters (Anchor Canada), by director Paulo Barzman; Zoe Whittall’s novel Bottle Rocket Hearts (Cormorant Books), co-written by Whittall and Linsey Stewart; Gil Adamson’s novel The Outlander (Anansi), scripted by Esta Spalding; Sheree-Lee Olson’s book Sailor Girl (Porcupine’s Quill), written by film critic Johanna Schneller; and Steven Galloway’s novel The Cellist of Sarajevo (Vintage Canada), produced by Strident Films. A full list of recipients is available via the Greenberg Fund.
- The Telegraph reviews trailer for The Hobbit
- Torontoist names Margaret Atwood one of 2011’s heroes
- Jonathan Ames contemplates writing book or comic to continue his cancelled HBO comedy, Bored to Death
- Publishers lament the titles that got away in 2011
- NPR names Kate Beaton’s Hark! A Vagrant one of the top comics of 2011.
It’s that season again, when every media outlet pushes a gift-giving guide on its readers. This year, Quillblog has succumbed to the pressure with our last-minute picks for literary-minded gifts.
Click on the photos below to view the slideshow:
Toronto Mayor Rob Ford has not been terribly successful on the literary front. From his under-the-breath insult to author Vikki VanSickle during this summer’s marathon executive committee hearing to his brother Doug’s very public spat with Margaret Atwood over cuts to library funding, Ford’s not been viewed as the most book-friendly mayor Toronto has ever known.
People feeling that the embattled mayor might need a bit of holiday cheer can now send him seasons greetings while also helping the Toronto Public Library retain its service levels in the face of calls for cutbacks from the city. A cheeky website called the Rob Ford Book Club has appeared, suggesting that users make a minimum $10 donation to TPL in the mayor’s name; they can then take advantage of an option to have a card sent to the person in whose name the donation has been made. “The effect is two-fold,” says the rubric on the Rob Ford Book Club. “[G]ive the library a hand, and have your voice heard.”
The site offers detailed instructions for making a donation to TPL on behalf of a third party, then instructs users on how to have a card or e-card forwarded to Mayor Ford. Users are also encouraged to include a personal message for the mayor, but are cautioned against any inappropriate commentary:
Use your real name or an alias such as “Toronto citizen,” but please keep the message respectful and do not make any slurs, attacks, or threats toward the Mayor. We want you to express your desire to see libraries remain an important part of the city in a constructive and peaceful way.
Quillblog applauds this clever approach to civic activism, and wonders whether one of the cards the mayor receives will be from Atwood.
Nan A. Talese, an imprint of Doubleday U.S., is previewing illustrations from the e-book version of Margaret Atwood’s essay collection In Other Worlds: SF and the Human Imagination (McClelland & Stewart).
What’s most notable about these drawings, which demonstrate a variety of cartoonish styles, is that Atwood is the artist. The preview also includes a drawing of a superhero character named Blue Bunny the author did as a child.
Last year, Atwood surprised two fans by drawing superhero versions of their Twitter aliases, Kidney Boy and Dr. Snit.
Thanks to Rolex, one lucky writer will get the chance to become Margaret Atwood’s protege. On Monday, the Rolex Mentor and Protege Arts Initiative revealed its list of arts professionals who will serve as mentors to emerging artists in the fields of literature, theatre, film, dance, music, and visual arts for the next year.
The luxury watchmaker started the Arts Initiative in 2002 to support “highly talented young artists from around the world and [bring] them together with great masters, for a year of creative collaboration in a one-to-one mentoring relationship.” Through the program, mentor and mentee spend a minimum of six weeks working together. The Arts Initiative provides the protege with US$25,000 for travel costs and living expenses throughout the program, and another US$25,000 at the end of the initiative to finance a project. (No word on whether any watches are involved in the deal, but what young author couldn’t use a diamond-encrusted timekeeper to tick away the writing hours?)
Proteges are selected by a panel of international experts in the six artistic categories who put together a list of potential participants, though the mentor has final say on who they’re paired with.
For 2011–2012, Atwood’s fellow mentors are Chinese choreographer Lin Hwai-min, American film editor and sound designer Walter Murch, Brazilian musician Gilberto Gil, French director Patrice Chéreau, and South African visual artist William Kentridge. Past Rolex literary mentors include Toni Morrison, Hans Magnus Enzensberger, and Wole Soyinka. From 2006–2007, Quebec-based writer Edem Awumey was protege to Moroccan novelist Tahar Ben Jelloun.
(In other Atwood news, the author turns 72 today. She got an early start celebrating at Laurentian University’s seventh annual Margaret Atwood Birthday Dinner in Sudbury, Ontario, on Thursday.)
The Toronto Public Library Workers Union has announced the winners of its “Why My Library Matters to Me” personal essay contest. Each of the 44 winners will have lunch and tour a local literary landmark with a participating author — Margaret Atwood, Michael Ondaatje, Linwood Barclay, Joy Fielding, Judy Fong-Bates, Sylvia Fraser, Vincent Lam, Robert Rotenberg, Susan Swan, Anna Porter, or Jeremy Tankard.
In an e-mail to Project Rescue supporters, TPLWU/CUPE Local 4948 president Maureen O’Reilly says more than 500 submissions were received in a span of two weeks. The winning entries are now posted at the contest website, including this homage to Charlie Chaplin.
The Toronto Public Library Workers Union will hold a read-in Sunday, Aug. 28, from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. at Nathan Phillips Square. The event is being held in support of local library branches that have been threatened with closures, service reductions, and cuts to operating hours.
According to the group’s Facebook event page, the union aims to “gather all book lovers young and old alike to show their love for the free services provided by your local library…. Together let’s send a strong and loud message to [mayor Rob Ford and city councillor Doug Ford]: our public library is not for sale!” The notice goes on to invite the public to join library staff and members of Toronto’s literary community with a book and a blanket for a family-friendly afternoon of storytelling and communal reading.
The read-in is the latest in a series of public outreach initiatives organized by the union, including information pickets at North York Central Library and the Toronto Reference Library, and the union’s widely publicized Project Rescue campaign. So far the campaign includes an online petition with over 46,000 names, and a personal essay contest supported by the likes of Margaret Atwood, Michael Ondaatje, and Anna Porter, which launched Thursday.
Although Margaret Atwood didn’t attend Thursday night’s marathon Toronto city council executive meeting to address the city’s budget deliberations, she was there in spirit and in swag (scroll down the Torontoist’s impressive live blog to see an Atwood button and references to photocopied face masks of the author). Although Atwood has become a symbol for library-devoted Torontonians thanks to councillor Doug Ford’s stated inability to recognize the country’s most recognizable author – even the Guardian mentioned it – several other authors waited patiently for their turn to speak to city council.
NOW magazine reports that Thom Vernon, author of The Drifts (Coach House Press) told the room, “We are not for sale … The KPMG report is a work plan to transfer public wealth to the private sector.”
Children’s author Vikki VanSickle expressed her concerns about the budget at around 4:30 a.m. After being asked the title of her book, Words That Start with B (Scholastic Canada), mayor Rob Ford is heard on video muttering, “I can think of another B word for her.”
This morning, the Twitterverse was filled with support for VanSickle, who tweeted, “Rob Ford thinks I’m a bitch, but I think he’s a bully.” There’s no response yet from the mayor, although joke account Hulkmayor tweeted, “WAIT! HULKMAYOR NO CALL LADY B-WORD! IS MISUNDERSTANDING.”
Margaret Atwood took to Twitter on Thursday to mobilize her 225,302 followers against the potential privatization and service cuts to the Toronto Public Library. The traffic resulting after @MargaretAtwood retweeted “Toronto’s libraries are under threat of privatization. Tell council to keep them public. ourpubliclibrary.to” crashed the website hosting a petition against a consultant’s report suggesting the closure of TPL branches and a reduction of service hours. The petition, dubbed “Project Rescue,” was launched by the Library Workers Union Local 4948 shortly before the audit’s findings were announced. From the Globe and Mail:
The report recommended Toronto, “rationalize the footprint of libraries to reduce service levels, closing some branches” in order to save $13.3-million. The consultants also suggested trimming library outreach and programming. …While the report didn’t suggest outsourcing as a way to cut costs, [library workers' union president Maureen] O’Reilly insists it’s “still in play.”
As part of the campaign, the union set up a website and a petition last week responding to councillor Doug Ford’s comments in February that the city is going to be “outsourcing everything that is not nailed down.” Mr. Ford fuelled the campaign by carping on CFRB radio recently that his neighbourhood has more libraries than Tim Hortons – Etobicoke has 13 libraries and 39 Tim Hortons.
The story goes on to report that TPL has already outsourced the selection of its paperback collections, as well as its custodial and maintenance positions.
The report, written by external consultant KPMG, is the result of the group’s audit of approximately 105 of Toronto’s public works services to sniff out possible savings, in response to a $774-million deficit in the city’s 2012 budget. The report released Thursday was the final of eight parts released over the past few weeks and, according to the Toronto Star, it also suggested eliminating public health programs for low-income children, AIDS prevention, drug diversion, and dental hygiene.
Once the petition website was brought back online Friday, Atwood tweeted “The site’s back up!! :) M: TX Help protect most-used library system per cap. in N. America: http://t.co/JIiwfeA.”