Want Meaningful Prisoner Reform? Try Shakespeare, Says Margaret Atwood

What happens when Shakespeare goes to prison? His works humanize prisoners and open them up to reform in a way that the prison system fails to, says author Margaret Atwood.

Videos

In Margaret Atwood’s new novel Hag-Seed, the protagonist Felix loses his job as a theatre director and is exiled to teach in a prison. Exiled? You betcha. Atwood’s latest work is a re-telling of William Shakespeare’s The Tempest.

Keep reading Show less

Why I Write Speculative Fiction

The problem with speculative fiction is what might be called "the tour of the garbage disposal plant," in which somone says to the visiting character, “Well in your day, you did this terribly inefficient thing, but now we have this wonderful garbage disposal plant.”  

I read 1984 probably three years after it was first published.  I read Brave New World around that time in my life.  I read a book called Darkness and Noon, which is actually not speculative fiction or science fiction. It’s life during the purges in the Soviet Union, but it read to me very much like that kind of book. 

Keep reading Show less
Videos

The art of narration may have emerged as an evolutionary adaptation, says the author. "If I can tell you that right over there in that river was where the crocodile ate Uncle George, you don’t have to test that in your own life by going over there and getting eaten by the crocodile."

Videos

Reading may have evolved from early hunters’ skills of interpreting animal tracks, which allowed them to find food and determine whether they themselves were being hunted.