Making libraries exciting: Margaret Atwood, an accomplished author of over 25 books in several genres, read from her new bestselling novel Alias Grace in a packed First Church and later delivered a speech following the Friends of the Library dinner. Carnegie Root room was crowded with students and members of the Friends of the Library and people sat on the floor and window sills.
The topic Atwood said she was told to address in her speech was libraries, so she described the research that went into writing Alias Grace, a fictional retelling of the circumstances surrounding infamous Torontonian maidservent Grace Marks' alleged murder of her employer and his housekeeper. Atwood explained that she always researches her novels to make sure everything is accurate. In her novel The Robber Bride, Atwood describes vultures feeding at a battle site. Would vultures have inhabited the area where the battle took place? This is an example of one of the many things Atwood has to research when writing her novels.
At her reading, Atwood poked fun at the kinds of questions interviewers ask her about her books. One interviewer, Atwood said, asked her about the jars in her novels. "Jars?" Atwood said she replied. "Yeah," the interviewer said, "there are a lot of them." Atwood told the audience, "It's a symbol."
Atwood infused her speech and her reading with humor and managed to make the audience laugh on many occasions. She poked fun at social conventions and later fielded questions from those in the audience. When asked which of her novels was her favorite, Atwood wouldn't answer. Her reason: she didn't want to offend the Muse. (photo by Laren Rusin)
Copyright © 1997, The Oberlin Review.
Volume 125, Number 14; February 14, 1997
Contact Review webmaster with suggestions or comments at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Contact Review editorial staff at email@example.com.