Margaret Atwood, whose work has been published in thirty-five countries, is the author of more than forty books of fiction, poetry, and critical essays. In addition to The Handmaid's Tale, her novels include Cat's Eye, short-listed for the 1989 Booker Prize; Alias Grace, which won the Giller Prize in Canada and the Premio Mondello in Italy; The Blind Assassin, winner of the 2000 Booker Prize; Oryx and Crake, short-listed for the 2003 Man Booker Prize; The Year of the Flood; and her most recent, MaddAddam. She is the recipient of the Los Angeles Times Innovator's Award, and lives in Toronto with the writer Graeme Gibson.
This book grew out of the series of Empsom lectures that prize-winning novelist Atwood gave at the University of Cambridge in 2000. In it, she addresses a number of fundamental questions: not how to write but the basic position of the writer, why a writer writes, "and for whom? And what is this writing anyway?" Wearing her learning lightly, Atwood allows her wit to shine on almost every page. She probes her life and work along with those of many other writers and brings in myths, fairy tales, movies whatever feeds her themes. Following an initial autobiographical chapter, Atwood addresses major issues: the duplicity evidently inherent in writing; the problems of art vs. money; the problems of art vs. social relevance; the nature of the triangular relationship of writer, reader, and book; and, in the final title chapter, the provocative idea that "all writing of the narrative kind, and perhaps all writing, is motivated, deep down, by a fear of and a fascination with mortality by a desire to make the risky trip to the Underworld, and to bring something or someone back from the dead." Atwood is not looking to provide answers or solutions but to explore the parameters of some interesting questions. The result is engaging food for thought for all who care about writers and writing. Recommended for academic and large public libraries. Mary Paumier Jones, Westminster P.L., CO Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information.
"A delight. . . . Frank and spirited. . . . A clear-eyed glance
into the shadows where writers work and live." --The Washington
Post Book World
"An engaging book--erudite yet informal, playfully witty yet down to earth." --Los Angeles Times
"Smart, deeply humane, courageous. . . . I have never come across a single book that more elegantly goes to the heart of the craft and its demands. . . . Hooray for Atwood!" --Michael Pakenham, The Baltimore Sun "This amazing woman's voice, this fine writer's constant example, is extraordinary." --The Boston Globe "A delight. . . . Frank and spirited. . . . A clear-eyed glance into the shadows where writers work and live." -The Washington Post Book World "An engaging book-erudite yet informal, playfully witty yet down to earth." -Los Angeles Times
"Smart, deeply humane, courageous. . . . I have never come across a single book that more elegantly goes to the heart of the craft and its demands. . . . Hooray for Atwood!" -Michael Pakenham, The Baltimore Sun