Literary jam fest
Atwood rocks out at U of C
It isn’t every day that Calgary is treated to a literary rock star.
It was a full house at MacEwan Hall on Feb. 14 – with good reason. Around 1,000 established and aspiring writers, as well as fans of Canadian literature, packed into the hall for a free public reading by internationally acclaimed author Margaret Atwood.
The event was so popular that over 300 people had to be turned away, according to MacEwan Hall event coordinator Amanda Priddy.
Winner of countless literary awards and recipient of no less than 24 honorary degrees, Atwood is an internationally bestselling author in all genres of writing, most known for her novels The Edible Woman, The Handmaid’s Tale, Cat’s Eye, Oryx and Crake, and The Blind Assassin.
The event, hosted by University of Calgary associate professor and established poet Christian Bök, saw Atwood serving up her “Valentine’s Day special” — a reading of various pieces of her work, each containing in some capacity the theme of love.
Included in the reading were sections from fan favourites The Penelopiad and Oryx and Crake, as well as unpublished works of both prose and poetry. The audience appeared to be captivated throughout by the dry humour and sharp wit for which Atwood is known.
Described as the aforementioned rock star in the opening address by Richard Sigurdson, Dean of the Faculty of Arts at the U of C, Atwood came to Calgary as a part of the Calgary Distinguished Writers Program, established by the university in 1993.
In addition to offering a ten- month writer-in-residence position to an emerging author, the Calgary Distinguished Writers Program also brings an internationally distinguished author to Calgary each year for a public event.
Following the reading, Atwood began the enormous task of signing an estimated 1,000 books. She promised to ensure all of the approximately 450 people in line would leave with their book signed, showing just an- other small reason why Canada is so blessed to have a talent like Atwood within its borders.