Q&A with Margaret Atwood discussion


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message 1: by Margaret (new)

Margaret Atwood | 16 comments Mod
Welcome to my discussion group. I will be back on September 20 to start the discussion.

message 2: by Sandi (new)

Sandi (sandikal) Thank you for joining us! I can't say that I've read all your books, but I've read quite a few. Each one has been excellent and I love the variety of subjects you write about.

message 3: by Toot (new)

Toot | 1 comments The first book I ever read of yours was "You Are Happy"...and then I bought every book of your poetry I could get my hands on. I wondered, often, how you could write such searingly personal poems and maintain a relationship w/ someone at the same time (a question I never asked when I met you in Hawaii 30+ years ago...too personal a question in itself--LOL). Then I read "Lady Oracle" and my question was answered...Aha automatic writing! Loved it. Love you. You are my favorite poet of all time.

message 4: by D.J. (new)

D.J. | 1 comments The first book of yours that I ever read was The Handmaid's Tale. I still think about it frequently even after all these years.

message 5: by Laurisa (new)

Laurisa Reyes (lwreyes) | 1 comments I read Surfacing and Handmaid's Tale in college (20 years ago!). Surfacing left such an indelible impression on me that finally I read it again last year. What I've never been able to forget was how the narrator's memories and views were so distorted from the truth - how we, as readers, take for granted that the narrator of whatever book we're reading is telling us the truth - but yours didn't. It was remarkable! I've always thought if I could somehow capture your unique magic, I'd be a very happy writer. So excited about your Q&A!

message 6: by Laura (new)

Laura Your first book I read was Cat's eye which I loved. Since then, I almost read most of your books since you have an original style of writing. Thanks for the invitation to join this group.

message 7: by Michelle (new)

Michelle Tackabery (mktackabery) | 2 comments Hi Margaret,
I've been a devoted reader of yours since The Handmaid's Tale and have read just about everything. I especially enjoy your short stories and poems, and really enjoy the songs you've put into this book. Thanks for sharing some time with us.

message 8: by Nancy (new)

Nancy | 1 comments Handmaid's Tale still haunts me after 20 years. What a powerful book for so many people. I'm so excited to be reading your latest with YOU!!! what an incredible and delightful use of the internet.

message 9: by Anna (new)

Anna (stregamari) I first read the handmaid's tale, I thought, as a short story. It's affected my life since then; I've shunned beauty aids and body shaping clothing. The scene where a video is shown of the party girls undressing, from gorgeous to hideous without their girdles, wigs and make-up. Talk about false advertising!

message 10: by Cami (last edited Sep 18, 2010 09:37AM) (new)

Cami (camilovesbooks) | 11 comments Do you like your readers to call you Peggy or Margaret or something more formal? Among my writerly friends, we refer to you as The Queen or Queen Atwood. :)

I have read almost all of your writing (no small feat). You have the most exquisite, unbelievable prose. Absolutely inspiring and so unique.

Every week I run across something that reminds me of Oryx & Crake, a searing and brilliant book. Thank you for interacting with us this way and sharing your thoughts with us. You've left an indelible impression on me.

message 11: by Suzanna (new)

Suzanna (suzanna_o) | 2 comments Thanks for responding to me on Twitter recently! "The Year of the Flood" is the most haunting novel I read last year, and now I'm re-reading it on my new Kindle.

message 12: by Mary (new)

Mary (maryrodriguez-noble) | 1 comments I can not believe how "The Handmaid's Tale" continues to influence my perceptions of our current society. Thank you for spinning a wonderful yarn!

message 13: by Andrea (new)

Andrea Cale | 1 comments Thank you for taking the time to engage with your readers! After reading "The Handmaid's Tale" in high school, I spent the next two years consuming all of your other works. "The Blind Assasin" is a true piece of art. To date, I anxiously await your new publications and "The Year of the Flood" was no exception. Thank you for your contributions to the world of literature. Along with many others, I am a loyal fan.

message 14: by Karina (new)

Karina Hi! I feel like such a young reader compared to everyone else here. Last year, we were required to read The Penelopiad for school and I thought it was amazing! Before then Penelope was always just a character, a victim of Odysseus' troubles/travels, but now it's like you've given a new insight to the character. This year, I read "The Handmaid's Tale" and it just blew me away. Your book was just so capturing and it made sense! In away, it helped me get through George Orwell's "1984". I can't wait to read your other books; whether they be assigned or by choice I'm always going to be an avid fan of yours.

message 15: by Missyk (new)

Missyk I read Handmaid's Tale when I was 15, and I have read it once a year, every year, since. I am on my 5th copy! I have avidly gulped down every other book you've written. You are a literary goddess, and I thank you for continuing to bless us with your writing.

Was that a bit over the top, maybe? Sorry. I'm a little excited.

message 16: by Paula (last edited Sep 18, 2010 02:22PM) (new)

Paula (weave) Hi Margaret, how are you? Thank you so much for joining us. The first book I read by your good self was 'The Handmaid's Tale', which is one of my all time favourite books and I re~read it as often as possible, 'Alias Grace' is also a favourite and 'Oryx and Crake' was amazing to read and I thoroughly enjoyed 'The Year of the Flood' :)

Thanks again :)

message 17: by Nadine (new)

Nadine Doolittle I've read many of your novels, but my favourite is The Blind Assassin. It seemed different from your other works--almost a potboiler, and yet there was a science fiction element. I'll try to come up with an intelligent question for the Q&A.
I heard you in a CBC radio interview in 2008, discussing poetry. Regarding the space required to write, you said it "takes a football field." (I hope I'm quoting you correctly--I was vacuuming at the time.) The phrase stuck with me because that's exactly what it takes--a football field.

I look forward to the Q&A!

message 18: by Marti (new)

Marti (marjay) I have read your dysotopic novels avidly and have found the descriptions and conclusions frightening. The Handmaiden's Tale has haunted me since it first came out. I recently reread the novel and found it just as powerful. I also have read Crake and Onyx and found that book as powerful, however The Year of the Flood blew me away!!! The poetry and songs, the fight for survival, the realization of how accurate your predictions might be are terrifying. Thanks to you, I am thankful for my freedoms. The reality is without them - any one of us could be Offred.

message 19: by Barbara (new)

Barbara Bennett (bennettauthor) | 4 comments I've read, taught, and wrote about many of your books, but my favorite is Oryx & Crake--which I just finished discussing with my Contemporary World Novel class at North Carolina State University. Every time I teach it, my students say at the end of the semester that it was their favorite. It really speaks to the fears of young people (and lots of us old ones, too). We have the best discussions concerning it. Thanks so much for writing this gem of a book.

message 20: by Susan (last edited Sep 18, 2010 07:22PM) (new)

Susan | 1 comments "The Handmaid's Tale" made me a lifelong fan of your writing, and I have passed that feeling on to my own 20-something daughter, who also views you as her favorite author.
"..Tale" still resonates so deeply with me. I wonder how you view it this many years later in light of the influence religion has played (and continues to play) in recent US politics.

message 21: by Amanda J (new)

Amanda J (amandasbooks) Thanks for taking time to spend with your avid readers. I love your novels and your poetry as well. Morning in the Burned House is one of my favorite collections of poems of all time.

message 22: by Lori (new)

Lori I have to say, more and more each year with politics in US being what they are, I get chilled that this so called speculative fiction is closer to reality. I read the news and watch crazy getting the majority vote. Just say no to masturbation! The Handmaid's Tale is an older book, and yet it doesn't seem very far fetched that we could easily get to that stage.

And the land of Oryx and Crake isn't that crazy either, since it's really the multi-national corps who are running the world these days.

message 23: by Mina (new)

Mina | 1 comments I am an Iranian. I read two of your books ,The Handmaid's Tale and The Blind Assassin.And I love both.
And whenever I find translations of your books in Iran I buy them undoubted immediately.

Thank you for your books.

message 24: by Casgoc (last edited Sep 19, 2010 03:40AM) (new)

Casgoc | 1 comments Hello and welcome. As an avid fan, I am excited to join the discussion.

Gitte - Bookworm's Closet (gittetofte) Thanks for the invite - this is such a good idea! I haven't read The Year of the Flood yet, but I've got it waiting for me in my huge pile of to-read-books! I'm so looking forward to it - I loved Oryx and Crake!

message 26: by Jessica (new)

Jessica Bell (jessica_bell) | 2 comments So excited about this! I can't wait to read your answers to these amazing quesitons posted!

message 27: by Anna (new)

Anna (stregamari) Lori wrote: "I have to say, more and more each year with politics in US being what they are, I get chilled that this so called speculative fiction is closer to reality. I read the news and watch crazy getting t..."

I know. People don't realize that when the government is responsible for "taking care" of us, we are also giving them the right to do with us what they will. Ecoscience Population, Resources, Environment by Paul R. Ehrlich is a treatise on mandatory abortion, portioned living, and enslavement. Just the beginning!

message 28: by Ann (last edited Sep 19, 2010 07:25AM) (new)

Ann M. | 5 comments This is so exciting! I've read most Atwood books, my former favourite was The Edible Woman, and used Surfacing in teaching English Literature. Then I read a couple of books (can't remember for sure which ones) in which I felt the endings cheated me! I know a good ending does not have to tie up all loose ends, but it must have provided the reader with enough information to reach intelligent conclusions and I didn't think these did and so I vowed (not with great success)to stop reading your novels until I heard about The Year of the Flood (it is one of the few books I purchased in hardcover after reading a library copy). After Oryx and Crake I joined Goodreads and had a better understanding of the conlusion of Flood. My question is, do you actually write a nice, neat thorough conclusion and then edit it out, or are you yourself unsure of what "happens next" to your protagonists? Or have I missed the boat entirely? Or maybe the real problem has been that I am so involved with the characters that I am disappointed at being booted out of their lives at the end of the book.

♥ Marlene♥ Hi there. I am Marlene from The Netherlands and the first book I read was The handmaid's tale and it is still one of my favorites.I am always telling people to read it. I released my copy (bookcrossing) but am planning to buy a new copy so I can re-read and share. I also just finished Oryx and Crake and The year of The flood. loved both of them. (I used to call it Onyx and Crane) ;)

message 30: by Jane (new)

Jane Thank you so much for doing this! I've read four of your books (The Handmaid's Tale, The Penelopiad, Oryx & Crake, and the Blind Assassin.) I feel like I can never go wrong with reading your books, and I particularly appreciate how you write about women. I look forward to these discussions.

message 31: by [deleted user] (new)

Wow, what a great oppertunity to get to talk to Margaret Atwood. I never knew about you until a friend of mine on Goodreads suggested I read The Penelopiad: The Myth of Penelope and Odysseus. At first when I read the summary of the book I didnt think I would like it, but I humoured my friend and read it, and boy oh boy was I wrong, I loved it! My friend then went on to send me a copy of The Handmaid's Tale and I read that and was so touched by everything that you wrote there. It made me really think about things and it scared me a little. It was such a great and powerful book to me. I'm currently reading Oryx and Crake. Its a bit confusing to me sometimes, but I'm absolutely loving it!

You have such a brilliant mind! I just want to know how you think of the things you write about? Does writing just come easy to you? When I have to write even an essay I find it so difficult sometimes.

message 32: by Don Skotch (new)

Don Skotch Vail (skotchvail) | 2 comments Apparently the first male on this thread, I wanted to say that I am super excited to hear what Atwood has to say! I wonder in general if most of Atwood's fans are women?

message 33: by RuthG (new)

RuthG So far I've only read The Blind Assassin but suspect that may change following this discussion. I really enjoyed that story and was continually trying to figure it out as I went along. Very interesting.

message 34: by Crystal Lynn (new)

Crystal Lynn Kamm (clkamm) | 1 comments I am so excited to be in this group! I recently read The Blind Assassin and was so impressed with the way the novel was set up. I thought it was brilliantly written and recommended it to two friends the very day I finished it. The way that the story unfolded slowly and perfectly was so impressive to me; I love a seamless tale where I am not constantly aware of the unfolding of a truth. This novel manages to do it so subtly that I would frequently be reading through a chapter and suddenly realize something that I knew about a character; it would spring upon me suddenly, but appear in memory, as an after thought, instead of being clumsily plastered all over the page. Really, the subtlety of the revelations was probably the thing that held my attention so steadily.

I am very excited to read your new novel. Although I am an English major finishing up graduate school, there are many pieces of literature that I have never read. I can honestly say that I am now an official Margaret Atwood fan!

There are some aspects of The Blind Assassin that intrigue me and I am curious to know about. Most importantly, I wonder...how did you juggle the 4 different perspectives/threads in the novel?

message 35: by Lauryn (new)

Lauryn | 2 comments Thank you so much for creating this discussion. I first read Oryx and Crake for a Topics in American Lit class this spring and am having a hard time putting The Year of the Flood down so far. I recently graduated from college and finally have time to read more of your work while I'm on the job hunt. Can't wait to hear what you have to say.

message 36: by zespri (new)

zespri | 1 comments Thanks so much for the invitation - I am a new fan! The first of your books I read was The Edible Woman -I loved it and have now started collecting your books wherever i find them. I really look forward to the discussion.

message 37: by Hollis (new)

Hollis (hdow) | 2 comments Hi Margaret,

I've read some of your books and enjoyed them very much: I'm really pleased to see you on this website.

message 38: by Deborah (last edited Sep 20, 2010 06:46AM) (new)

Deborah (thebookishdame) | 31 comments So awesome to be hearing from you. Thanks for this forum.
I first met you when I read your early works in the 1980's. I've read nearly all your books and own the first editions. If it has your name on it, it's in my library. You rest on my shelves with the likes of Joyce Carol Oates, the Brontes, Marge Piercy, Jane Austen and others.
I can't tell you how much "Handmaid's Tale," haunted me from the beginning and still does. It's truth rang out then and still continues to unfold.
I have 5 children, 4 are married with children. I have 7 grandchildren. Of these, all but 2 have been of invitro fertilization by necessity.

message 39: by Natalie (new)

Natalie Sherling (sherling) | 2 comments Hi Margaret,
I was first introduced to your books while working at a bookstore. A fellow employee, who's recommendations I truly valued, told me he thought your were one of the most brilliant writers of today's generation. He suggested Handmaid's Tale and Blind Assassin. I tore through both. I must admit that I have checked out many of your books from the library and am never disappointed. Thank you so much for what you have added to the literary field.

message 40: by Ann (new)

Ann M. | 5 comments Don Skotch wrote: "Apparently the first male on this thread, I wanted to say that I am super excited to hear what Atwood has to say! I wonder in general if most of Atwood's fans are women?"

I suspect it would be the same generalization that most of Hemingway's fans are men.

message 41: by Deborah (new)

Deborah (thebookishdame) | 31 comments slowly: ....Clap...Clap...Clap...Clap...

for you, Ann! :]

message 42: by Daga (new)

Daga | 1 comments Hello everyone.

I'm also so excited about reading Ms. Atwood's answers to all those questions posted here. I am only a beginner in Her writing. I have started from the end, I guess, by reading The Moral Disorder but I loved it immediatley and unconditionally. I have also read The edible woman which was absolutely amazing. Now I'm reading The blind assassin, even though I am pressed for time, I try to find enough time each day to read at least a chapter or two.

So looking forward to reading more.

message 43: by Debra (new)

Debra Harrison (bookcollecting101) | 2 comments Hi, Ms Atwood. Thanks for giving us the opportunity to question you. I am an avid reader and book collector. I have read many of your books and enjoyed each one. My questions are about your writing process...

1. Do you imagine the story, outline it, decide where to "split" the story into two books - then write or is it a more organic process? Are you ever surprised where your books go?

2. Who do you read? What are a few of your favorite books? Could you tell us who inspires you?

3. Do you think it is important for writers to take courses in the writing process or is it a natural act, this process of writing?

Again, Thanks!

message 44: by Dominique (new)

Dominique | 2 comments Hi Margaret,

Thanks so much for doing this Q&A, I can't wait to read all the questions and responses! I've read almost all your books and have been collecting them recently. I'm quickly running out of ones to find so I'm going on to getting all the different covers, etc.
You're my favorite author ever! I'd also love to know what you read and what inspires you. I saw you speak at Randolph Macon college in Ashland, VA and loved when you sang one of the hymns from TYOTF.

Thanks so much for taking the time to do this!

message 45: by Jon (new)

Jon Hi Margaret..

Im hoping i get the prize for writing from the most exotic location. i just arrived on Santorini from Istanbul today and am sitting on the most surreal y peaceful verandah surrounded by whitewashed buildings..

anyway... i digress

I cant wait to keep up with this discussion, my first book of yours was Blind Assasin which i discovered through Goodreads, i loved it so much, then Alias Grace equally good. I had put off Handmaids as im not generaly a fan of sci-gi/dystopia but you made it so creepily real and beleivable as somewhere our society could go i loved it. Ive yet to rate one of your books less than a 5 out of 5 on here. Mind you my friend did take issue with it being in the USA and Canada being the good guys over the border. ha ha. Personaly i thought it was great to base it there.

message 46: by 1.1 (new)

1.1 | 1 comments I was forced to join this group if only to wish you the best; it may, after all, be my only chance to let you know that I am a well-wisher... Okay, and somewhat of an admirer.

I'm well acquainted with several of your books, all of which I found outstanding - Oryx and Crake is aging very, very well and is still a veritable treasure trove of 'Sci-Fi weirdness' - my question about it would be whether or not you had final say on the cover detail from "The Garden of Earthly Delights" by Bosch. I ask because it fits the novel very well, and seems to be ironic commentary on the story itself (what with the establishment of an artificial paradise).

Also, I wonder if your view of contemporary society is more or less as fatalistic as it sometimes seems to be – I'll make it clear I am certain you are a balanced individual.

message 47: by Literary (new)

Literary  Chanteuse Hello Margaret and fellow members! Always feels a little odd when speaking to someone with the same name. lol! I have read Blind Assassin and Alias Grace and absolutely loved them. I do have another 3 of your books sitting on my shelf yet to read. It is wonderful to see you taking part in goodreads. And I look forward to this Q & A with much enthusiasm and learning about your newest book as well.

message 48: by Margaret (new)

Margaret Atwood | 16 comments Mod
Ann wrote: "This is so exciting! I've read most Atwood books, my former favourite was The Edible Woman, and used Surfacing in teaching English Literature. Then I read a couple of books (can't remember for su..."

message 49: by Margaret (new)

Margaret Atwood | 16 comments Mod
Hmm - I think I just reposted Ann by mistake. Not sure how to reply to individual Q's. But thank you all for the enthusiasm - it is truly cheering. Will be back later.. It is 12 midnite.

message 50: by Ann (new)

Ann M. | 5 comments With a 6:30 wakeup call, you should have been in bed earlier. But if I am following this correctly, and you were going to reply to Ann's post but accidently reposted it instead, then a few minutes more of wakefulness wouldn't hurt! I am the Ann you reposted and I would dearly like to know what your reply is.

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