Negotiating with the Dead
A Writer on Writing
By Margaret Atwood
(Anchor Canada, Paperback, 9780385659840, 256pp.)
Publication Date: September 9, 2003
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Acclaimed author Margaret Atwood’s definitive look at the role of the writer.
What is the role of the writer? Prophet? High Priest of Art? Court Jester? Or witness to the real world? Looking back on her own childhood and the development of her writing career, Margaret Atwood examines the metaphors that writers of fiction and poetry have used to explain -- or excuse -- their activities, looking at what roles they have chosen to play.
Margaret Atwood’s wide and eclectic reference to other writers, living and dead, is balanced by personal anecdotes from her own experiences as a writer. The lightness of her touch is offset by a seriousness about the purpose and the pleasures of writing, and by a deep familiarity with the myths and traditions of western literature.
Margaret Atwood was born in Ottawa in 1939, and grew up in northern Quebec and Ontario, and later in Toronto. She has lived in numerous cities in Canada, the U.S., and Europe.
She is the author of more than forty books — novels, short stories, poetry, literary criticism, social history, and books for children. Atwood’s work is acclaimed internationally and has been published around the world. Her novels include The Handmaid’s Tale and Cat’s Eye — both shortlisted for the Booker Prize; The Robber Bride, winner of the Trillium Book Award and a finalist for the Governor General’s Award; Alias Grace, winner of the prestigious Giller Prize in Canada and the Premio Mondello in Italy, and a finalist for the Governor General’s Award, the Booker Prize, the Orange Prize, and the International IMPAC Dublin Literary Award; The Blind Assassin, winner of the Booker Prize and a finalist for the International IMPAC Dublin Literary Award; and Oryx and Crake, a finalist for The Giller Prize, the Governor General’s Award, the Orange Prize, and the Man Booker Prize. Her most recent books of fiction are The Penelopiad, The Tent, and Moral Disorder. She is the recipient of numerous honours, such as The Sunday Times Award for Literary Excellence in the U.K., the National Arts Club Medal of Honor for Literature in the U.S., Le Chevalier dans l’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres in France, and she was the first winner of the London Literary Prize. She has received honorary degrees from universities across Canada, and one from Oxford University in England.
Margaret Atwood lives in Toronto with novelist Graeme Gibson.
“[Atwood] teases, probes, tickles, punches and enlightens.” -- The Globe and Mail
“This interesting and compelling book is as wise as it is charming and it is very charming indeed.” -- The Washington Post Book World
“Atwood’s style glistens with sharp details and sly wit. The range of reference is deliciously eclectic.” -- Quill & Quire
“There is a steely quality to Ms. Atwood’s writing that’s a bit scary but also enlightening; no one gets away with anything.” -- Wall Street Journal
“Atwood’s riffs on writing not only will delight readers who are fans . . . but also may serve to cheer fledgling writers.” -- Los Angeles Times
“Atwood allows her wit to shine on almost every page. . . . The result is engaging food for thought.” -- Library Journal