authors | December 06, 2012

"I Dabble In Modernity": Margaret Atwood On Staying Current [VIDEO]

In a new interview on CBC's George Stroumboulopoulos Tonight, the always candid Margaret Atwood shares her thoughts on everything from post-modernism, zombies, and the problem with the literature taught in schools today. With over 40 years of experience in the literary world, Atwood shows no signs of slowing down any time soon, and is always thinking ahead to produce innovative new work. "I dabble in modernity," she says. Perhaps it is that dabbling that gives her an edge—and inspires her to mix old and new mediums together to bring a fresh approach to the art of storytelling. One example of her forward-thinking nature was the decision to release her newest serial novel, The Happy Zombie Sunrise Home, exclusively on her digital story-sharing application, Wattpad.

Now, she's reviving one of her classic works and giving it new life thanks to the help of electronic media. In 1966, Atwood teamed up with Charles Pachter to create the illustrated book, Speeches For Doctor Frankenstein. Originally released in an extremely limited print run of only 15 copies, the book was crafted from handmade paper and was comprised of a combination of Atwood's poetry and Pachter's artwork. Now, over 40 years after its original release, Atwood is re-releasing the silk-screened book as an enhanced e-Book and a digital app.

To conclude the interview, Atwood was asked what she thinks is the most important book that should be taught in schools today. "You always have a problem with the books taught in schools," she answers, because "parents don't like it when there's sex in them—and swearing—and kids don't like it when they're boring...That's why we usually get 19th century books taught in schools." One way around this, she says, is to assign an anthology of short stories by a contemporary writer. That way, the stories generally aren't long enough to include inappropriate material, and they're short enough that younger readers won't lose interest. Additionally, a teacher can pick and choose which stories to assign—providing a breadth of subject matter and styles. Never content to rest on her laurels, Atwood constantly pushes the envelope to better connect to readers and remain current in a constantly changing world. While her accomplishments speak for themselves, her grace and charisma add a depth and warmth to her live appearances that make her as well-liked and is she respected.