Margaret Atwood set for Edinburgh International Book Festival 2013
- Paul Gallagher
- 22 August 2013
This article is from 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).