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We asked JSTOR Daily readers what books and authors they remembered most from childhood. Here is one of them, plus related content you won’t find anywhere else.

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Canadian author Margaret Atwood, known for her inventive (and often prophetic) speculative fiction like The Handsmaid’s Tale, has a new-old book out: The Hag-Seed, available now from Hogarth Shakespeare, retells “The Tempest.” But Atwood is often taking part in interesting, challenging projects. Recently she wrote a novel to be published in 98 years as part of The Future Library; the trees that will be used to create the actual book have just been planted. She is also known for her outspoken political activism.

Back in 1993, Atwood was interviewed in Prairie Schooner about her novels, friendship, childhood, and the slipperiness of language. She describes a painter character as distrusting words:

As all painters distrust words. All artists distrust words up to a point. I think the writer’s relation with words is like the painter’s with paint. There are a limited number of colors.

PS: Do you feel limited as a writer?

MA: Yes and no. It’s everyone’s struggle with their angel.

To read the entire interview, download the PDF here.

And as an extra bonus, one of Atwood’s poems, “Hesitations Outside the Door,” can be found here.


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Prairie Schooner, Vol. 67, No. 4, Canadian Women Writers (Winter 1993), pp. 8-12
University of Nebraska Press
Poetry, Vol. 117, No. 2 (Nov., 1970), pp. 100-107
Poetry Foundation