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Live from Abu Dhabi Connect the World takes you on a journey across continents, investigating the stories that are changing our world.

Friday's Connector of the Day: Margaret Atwood

January 27th, 2010
03:00 PM ET

Margaret Atwood is one of the most celebrated authors of fiction - having won the Booker Prize once, the Governor Genera's Award twice as well as the Arthur C. Clarke Award and Prince of Asturias award for Literature.

Author Margaret Atwood.

Author Margaret Atwood.

Some of her most well known books include "The Handmaid's Tale", "Alias Grace" and "The Blind Assassin".

She has also produced a number of highly acclaimed poetry collections and non-fiction books.

The Canadian is also well known for her work as a social activist and as an environmentalist.

She has called on leaf blowers and lawn mowers to be banned because of their environmental repercussions and will be a surprise visitor to the World Economic Summit in Davos.

Here's your chance to send a question to Margaret Atwood.

Perhaps you want to know what her favorite book is or how she got into writing. What does she think will happen to the world economy in 2010? How worried is she about the economy.

Please post your questions below.

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soundoff (13 Responses)
  1. Meredith Mayles

    Hello Margaret,
    I wanted to share a funny story related to your book The Handmaid's Tale. I was living and working with a lay Catholic group which ran a soup kitchen etc. and we were 'on retreat'. I was reading The Tale in my spare time and then attending sessions and religious services. There was a fissure in reality for me at this time, to say the least! These were well-educated, socially aware, and otherwise quite sane people, but cradle Catholics and not one of them believed in choice regarding abortion for women. I left the group the next year!
    Thank you for all your writing–I have read practically all you've published including poetry(of course).

    January 28, 2010 at 1:13 am | Reply
  2. Thomas Bateman

    'The Handmaid's Tale' is a phenomenal book, definitely a highlight of the canon (counter canon?) of feminist literature. As female authors have become more common and more prominent, much of the most popular work by women today does not necessarily seem to promote feminist messages. Do you think that this demonstrates a decline in concern for women's progress, or a change in the priorities of female writers? Who are some contemporary female authors whose works you admire and recommend?

    January 28, 2010 at 1:59 am | Reply
  3. Susie Werherson

    Hi,

    I wanted to ask what has inspired your work.

    Are events in your life the main inspiration,

    is it books you've read, something else or a combination

    thereof? Also, what advice would you give to an aspiring writer?

    I really enjoyed "The Handmaids Tale".

    Thanks again,

    Susie W.

    January 28, 2010 at 2:02 am | Reply
  4. Kersten

    Hi Margaret,

    My daughter (now nearly 4 years old) was given the middle name Margaret in honor of you and all the wonderful stories you've given the world. Your books have provided me hours of wonderful entertainment and for that I thank you.

    Two questions, really. First, what is the process you use to write poetry and what is your source for inspiration?

    Okay, three questions.

    The second pertains to The Penelopiad. Are there changes yet you'd make to this book to further add to the voice of Penelope and if so, what changes would you make?

    Peace,
    Kersten in Alaska

    January 28, 2010 at 3:40 am | Reply
  5. Sara Uckun

    Kia ora Ms. Atwood,

    Thank you for all your writings over the years.
    One of my favorite descriptions was in "Cat's Eye." It was of how marbles appeared out of nowhere on the school grounds. Then continued with an explanation of how the character's brother acquired jar after jar of marbles.
    Is this book autobiographical? And if so, do you paint and in what medium?
    I hope you visit New Zealand again.
    Cheers,
    Sara

    January 28, 2010 at 5:13 am | Reply
  6. John Dinwiddie

    Thanks. Do we stand a chance?

    January 28, 2010 at 6:08 am | Reply
  7. Marieke van Zyl

    Dear Margaret,
    Ory and Crake and Day of the Flood are two of the most thoughtful anf enjoyable I have ever read (in my vast 27 years). The underlying arguments to some of devices and themes are quite alarming for their potential to have bearing on the world we are creating. I won't pretend that I have a profound literary question to ask you, but would like to say that if you ever start God's Gardeners as a last resort against environmental ignorance, I volunteer to help run the cell in Cape Town.
    Perhaps not your intention, but I humbly ask that this line of thinking recieves a third, if not fourth and fifth, installment.
    all the best, and happy living,
    M van Zyl

    January 28, 2010 at 7:07 am | Reply
  8. Renee Bonorchis

    Hi Margaret

    I've been a fan for 20 years and am in the midst of reading your latest book. My mom was also a big fan and I know she would have wanted to ask:

    In 'The Blind Assassin', how is it that you could so accurately describe what it is to be elderly without having had the experience yourself?

    And I would like to ask: you have written so many books of poetry, books of fiction, non-fiction, childrens' stories – is it that the writing just wells up out of you like an uncontrollable urge, or is it a hard journey every time you sit down to write?

    Thanks for your time and I must say I wished I was going to be in Davos this year so that i could hear you speak.

    rgds
    Renee

    January 28, 2010 at 7:24 am | Reply
  9. georgiguedes

    Hi

    Is there going to be a third "concurrent-quel" to 'Oryx and Crake' and 'Year of the Flood?'.

    You often unfold a narrative through a series of inferences around events, rather than labouring through every painstaking step of the story, but there were parts of 'Year of the Flood' that suggested to me that other aspects of the story might be filled in later, in a third novel.

    Or is this just wishful thinking on my part?

    Love your work,
    Georgina Guedes

    January 28, 2010 at 7:29 am | Reply
  10. Ann Henry

    My Mister and I are greatly fond of your work. One of the biographical details I noted was that you have been married for a long time. It is my opinion that intellectually complex people have trouble being intimate with other intellectually complex people for sustained periods. How do you do it?

    January 28, 2010 at 9:12 am | Reply
  11. Rich Brown

    Greatly enjoyed Oryx & Crake & the new sequel Year of the Flood. I can see that like me you enjoy a little laugh at the way Americans have combined their love of technology and pharmaceuticals with their almost primitive superstitions. They seem to distrust science but at the same time cling to an odd sort of faith in it's magic.

    January 28, 2010 at 10:46 am | Reply
  12. Sush Dissanayake

    Hello Ms. Atwood,

    We read "The Handmaid's Tale" last year in our Higher Level Literature class and I just want to tell you that I loved it. Offred's character was really moving, especially her honesty as the narrator.
    Incidentally, were you inspired by the Iranian Revolution that happened a few years before your book was published? I can't help but notice how the initial stages of the Gilead Regime seem very similar to the unfolding of events following Khomeini's obtaining power.

    I am hoping to read more of your works soon 🙂

    Best Wishes
    Sush (Sri Lanka)

    January 28, 2010 at 11:36 am | Reply
  13. COMMON SENSE

    Social activist, ban lawn mowers and leaf blowers... hopefully this is just more of your fiction. Unfortunately, I fear it isn't but rather more of the eccentric idiocity that is so prevelent in this present age.

    Quite frankly, I haven't read any of your books and don't forsee doing so any time in the future.

    Birds of a feather... more bird dung headed for Davos!

    February 1, 2010 at 12:26 pm | Reply

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