- Liam Sharp
- Margaret Atwood
Atwood’s career has spanned decades. Her unflinching novels, which often feature speculative and dystopian elements, have garnered much critical acclaim and been both banned from and taught in schools. Atwood herself is resistant to labels — she has eschewed the classification of her works as “science fiction.” She also resists the casual labeling of her novels as “feminist,” not because she disagrees with or dislikes those terms, but because such labels (the latter in particular) have multitudinous facets and can be deployed in ways that are not authentic to her attitudes and output.
The Emmy-winning Hulu series based on her famed novel The Handmaid’s Tale created a new zeitgeist surrounding Atwood, who originally sold the film rights to MGM in 1990. In the wake of the tsunami of corruption, stoogery and erosion of human rights ushered in by the Trump administration, Atwood’s novel is particularly prescient. Protestors wearing the red cloaks and white bonnets of the handmaids have sprung up worldwide, and signs proclaiming “Nolite te bastardes carborundorum” were brandished last year on Inauguration Day during the Women’s March. In a visually striking protest at the Texas State Capitol last May, silent handmaids encircled the rotunda to stand against restrictive anti-abortion measures. Atwood herself addressed the novel’s resurgence in her March 2017 article for The New York Times, “What ‘The Handmaid’s Tale’ Means in the Age of Trump,” which also gives valuable insight into the germination of the book in the mid-1980s.
Not to be outdone, Netflix nabbed its own Atwood adaptation, Alias Grace, which delves into the personality of Grace Marks, who was convicted of the 1843 murders of Thomas Kinnear and Nancy Montgomery. The miniseries premiered on the streaming service in November 2017 to critical acclaim, and takes an in-depth look at societal assumptions about criminal behavior by distilling the dichotomy between Marks’ polite and reserved persona and her murderous act.
Atwood is not content to rest on her laurels, instead maintaining prolific output to the current day. More recent works include The MaddAddam Trilogy, a dystopian series set in a transhumanist apocalypse, Hag-Seed, a retelling of Shakespeare’s The Tempest, and Angel-Catbird, a graphic novel starring the eponymous hybridized superhero. Atwood consulted on Hulu’s adaptation of The Handmaid’s Tale and made a cameo in Alias Grace. The MaddAddam Trilogy may also make its way to the screen — filmmaker Darren Aronofsky currently has an adaptation in the works.
Unsurprisingly, tickets for both events have sold out, although there’s a waiting list for seats at Atwood’s reading, and Trinity will make 500 overflow seats available in the Stieren Theater to watch the event via live stream (available to the public at live.trinity.edu).
Autograph Series Luncheon
Sold out, 11:30am Thu, Mar. 8, Witte Museum, Mays Family Center, 3801 Broadway, (210) 734-9673, geminiink.org.
An Evening with Margaret Atwood
Sold out (overflow seating for live stream available on a first-come, first-served basis), 7-9pm Thu, Mar. 8, Trinity University, Laurie Auditorium, One Trinity Pl., (210) 999-8119, tupress.org.
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