Margaret Atwood set for Edinburgh International Book Festival 2013

This article is from 2013

Preview: Margaret Atwood at the Edinburgh International Book Festival 2013

Discussion of The Blind Assassin and her newest work MaddAdda

Margaret Atwood makes a welcome return to the Book Festival with MaddAddam, the concluding book in her disturbingly credible dystopian trilogy, begun in 2003 with the Booker-shortlisted Oryx and Crake. This is the first time one of her novels has explicitly arrived as a sequel (she referred to 2009’s Year of the Flood as a ‘simultanequel’ to Oryx and Crake), so there is bound to be a particularly special buzz at the MaddAddam event (24 Aug, 8pm), which takes place a full five days before the book’s official publication date. Having read an advance copy, The List can confirm it is a worthy conclusion, opening up more troubling questions about humanity’s possible future while depicting the fumbling first steps of a community of global plague survivors.

Atwood’s stamp is all over the Book Festival’s closing weekend: another event focuses on her genre-defying 2001 Booker-winner The Blind Assassin (24 Aug, 11.30am); a third hits closer to home as she looks at horror and weirdness in Scottish fiction (26 Aug, 11.30am); and Atwood’s final appearance in Charlotte Square Gardens will be in conversation with fellow guest selector and adored genre author Neil Gaiman (26 Aug, 4.30pm). But perhaps most fascinating will be Writing Under the Influence (25 Aug, 4.30pm), on ‘playing with literary form and engaging with technology’. Atwood embraces the internet and is an avid tweeter, she publishes web-only stories on Byliner and is a keen supporter of free fiction hub Wattpad. She has said that the internet is the best thing to happen to reading and writing in this generation, and will hopefully expand on that in this event with fellow form-fiddlers Naomi Alderman and Valerie Martin.

Atwood’s myriad other projects include a just-completed opera libretto, and Atwood Blend, a ‘bird friendly’ coffee developed as part of her environmental conservation efforts. Suffice to say, any hour in the company of the great Canadian author will be guaranteed time well spent.

Charlotte Square Gardens, 0845 373 5888, all events £10 (£8).

Margaret Atwood

The Man Booker prize-winning Canadian author Margaret Atwood launched The Year of the Flood with a bravura performance at the Book Festival four years ago. Now she returns, having completed the trilogy she started with Oryx & Crake. In the near-future world of the much-anticipated MaddAddam, a man-made plague has…

Writing Under the Influence

Storytelling changes with the times. Today, great stories can reach us via novels, but equally through film, television or computer games. Guest selector Margaret Atwood shares the joy of playing with literary forms with Naomi Alderman, author of the successful Zombies Run! app and whose work is inspired by Game of…

Margaret Atwood: The Blind Assassin

Time magazine named it best novel of 2000 and it scampered off with the Man Booker Prize. What were the qualities that made The Blind Assassin so successful? It interweaves various prose forms including newspaper articles and pulp fiction but what purpose does each thread serve? Atwood joins the Guardian’s Book Club…

Margaret Atwood & Neil Gaiman

Margaret Atwood and Neil Gaiman each have legions of readers across the world. They are both on a fearless mission to cross traditional literary boundaries, producing sci-fi, graphic novels, literature and children’s books without hesitation. In this unique and unmissable event, Queen Margaret and King Neil share stories…

Horror and Weirdness, a Scottish Peculiarity

Robert Louis Stevenson’s Dr Jekyll and Thrawn Janet; Shakespeare’s Three Weird Sisters: what is it about the Scottish psyche that creates such beautifully wicked characters? And why do their stories continue to influence contemporary culture? Guest selector Margaret Atwood talks to Valerie Martin, author of Mary Reilly, a…