Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Margaret Atwood on Growing Prominence in Trump Era

Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Margaret Atwood on Growing Prominence in Trump Era

Article excerpt

Margaret Atwood on her growing prominence in Trump era


TORONTO - Margaret Atwood isn't celebrating the idea that the election of U.S. President Donald Trump has added a new level of resonance to her work.

The Canadian literary star is at the Toronto International Film Festival promoting the new CBC/Netflix miniseries "Alias Grace," an adaptation of her 1996 novel about a poor Irish immigrant convicted of killing her employers in 1843.

The show comes on the heels of another series inspired by an Atwood book, the dystopian saga "The Handmaid's Tale," about a totalitarian theocracy that makes women property of the state and forces some to bear children for infertile couples. The TV series is up for 13 Emmy Awards on Sunday.

Both series examine the treatment of women and immigrants in society, with "The Handmaid's Tale" having a particularly chilling effect amid the U.S. battle over rights to birth control and abortion.

"If I had the choice of wallowing in comparative obscurity and not having this government in power, or the present moment, I think I can honestly say at my age I would take the first -- because this development is not good for the world," Atwood, 77, said Wednesday in an interview.

"It's not good for the world to have a weak United States."

Oscar-nominated Canadian actress/filmmaker Sarah Polley wrote and produced "Alias Grace," which is based on the true story of Grace Marks (played by Sarah Gadon), who was freed after 30 years in jail.

Atwood noted the adaptations of both "Alias Grace" and "The Handmaid's Tale" were in the works before the U.S. election.

"Sarah has been working on 'Alias Grace' for what, six years, and thinking about it for 20," she said. "They were halfway through shooting 'Handmaid's Tale,' so it was not something that they did because of the election of Donald Trump.

"However, they woke up on November 9th and realized they were in a different frame. …

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