MFA Students Meet Margaret Atwood

Students Share Special Q&A Session with Acclaimed Author

MFA Students Meet Margaret Atwood
Atwood and Cowen

In April, a small group of MFA students shared a half-hour Q&A session alone with Margaret Atwood at Mason’s Arlington campus at the invitation of the Mercatus Center.

Atwood is a Canadian poet, novelist, literary critic, essayist, inventor, teacher, and environmental activist. Since 1961, she has published seventeen books of poetry, sixteen novels, ten books of non-fiction, eight collections of short fiction, eight children's books, and one graphic novel, as well as a number of small press editions in poetry and fiction. She is perhaps best known for her 1985 dystopian novel, The Handmaid's Tale, which explores themes of women in subjugation in a patriarchal society.

Students were especially interested in Atwood's ability to write across genres and how she determines which format (novel, short story, graphic novel) works best for any given story she wants to tell. Atwood also talked about contributing a book to the Future Library, a literary time capsule in Norway. There exists a complete Margaret Atwood book, Scribbler Moon, that no one alive today will ever have a chance to read (the library will not "open" until 2114).

Atwood's many awards include the Man Booker Prize, Arthur C. Clarke Award, Governor General's Award, Franz Kafka Prize, and the National Book Critics and PEN Center USA Lifetime Achievement Awards.

After their special session, students then sat with the audience for a podcast recording of “Conversations with Tyler” with host Tyler Cowen, Holbert L. Harris Chair of Economics and Faculty Director, Mercatus Center.

Atwood MFA

Photos: Ron Aira.