Margaret Atwood Archive

Round-Up: Chicago Public Library Giveaway, the 2016 PEN Pinter Prize, and Gregory Rabassa

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From the Chicago Public Library's children's book giveaway to the passing of a central figure in Latin American writing, here's some of last week's most important literary news: Writer and activist Margaret Atwood was awarded with the 2016 PEN Pinter prize.

Round-Down: The Hogarth Series Will Reinvent Shakespeare’s Works As Novels

Jeanette Winterson’s novel The Gap of Time, released only one week ago, is the first book launched of a larger series, called The Hogarth Shakespeare. The series, from the revered Vintage Books, plans to do the very exciting and almost unthinkable: reimagine Shakespeare’s classic plays as novels penned by

Five Speculative Tales Still Relevant Today (And What They Can Teach Us)

1. The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood Seven-Word Summary: Women enslaved by tyrannical dicks with dicks. Excerpt: “Maybe none of this is about control. Maybe it really isn’t about who can own whom, who can do what to whom and get away with it, even as far as death.

We Have Something to Say

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Inside most classrooms lives a beast, many-eyed. If you’ve been a student in a classroom, especially in those early grades when a year lasts an eon, you’ve been part of this beast. You saw your elementary-school teachers with a collective, sharpened vision (their combovers, fluffy perms, paunches, thick, magnifying

Social Media and Literature

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I seem a little less in love with literature because of social media. My apologies to the Ploughshares staff who have to Tweet about this post, but it’s true. For a few months I was an intern for an online literary magazine, helping with their social media. I’d done

Literary Lines that Make a Mark

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Recently I enjoyed a wondrous weekend in Austin during which I added a third tattoo to my collection. It so happens this is my second literary tattoo. The first, inked roughly a year ago, was a celebration of a number of triumphs, among them my first paid publication and

Fictional Writer Master Class: The Bamboozlers

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One of the perks of working in academia is ordering desk copies of books. While more often than not these things are tedious tomes that would put me to sleep, never mind my students, sometimes I happen upon gems, such as The Twentieth-Novel: An Introduction by R.B. Kershner. I’ll

The Things We Find in Books

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Whatever the reasons for Borders going out of business, it sure wasn’t for lack of sturdy, long-lasting bookmarks. Let me explain. Recently, I picked up my wife’s copy of Phillip Roth’s The Plot Against America, after eying it on our bookshelf for a couple of years. After finally giving in,

Writing By Ear

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A few weeks ago I was fortunate enough to attend a lecture by Margaret Atwood, during which, in response to a question about introducing students to literature, she emphasized the importance of storytelling. Not story reading. Storytelling. Stories are, she reminded us, “scores for the voice.” All those little

Do Characters Dream of Left-Justified Sheep? (Part Two)

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How can you avoid bad dream-writing? Part One of this post appeared on Monday. All right, let’s talk about the good things dreams can do for your writing process. Let’s have some nice dreams. Real-ize Your Dream  Have you ever used a dream as inspiration for writing? George Saunders did this