When the adaptation of Margaret Atwood’s 1985 novel The Handmaid’s Tale (available on CraveTV starting July 28) hit the small screen this year, it became one of the most talked about shows in years. Now, one season in and 13 Emmy nominations later, Atwood’s dystopian novel about a utilitarian dictatorship in the fictional (but way too real) city of Gilead is already heading into production for a second season.
Thanks to the success, the 77-year-old writer has been back in the news, and that’s just the way we like it. From being a master of social media to collaborating with Drake, here is a brief history of Margaret Atwood being a badass.
When she refused to name a favourite
When a fan asked Atwood to name her favourite book from her own incredible list, she pulled the Canadian card like a true diplomat. It’s like asking a parent to name their favourite child. They may have one, but they’ll never tell you.
I’m Canadian. We are not supposed to be so brash as to suggest favourites by ourselves. 🙂 https://t.co/GjFyoRu7B1
— Margaret E. Atwood (@MargaretAtwood) July 17, 2017
When Atizzy was down with Drizzy
During an interview earlier this year with author Junot Díaz for the Boston Review, the possibility of one of Canada’s greatest authors working with one of its most well known musicians was broached. “I haven’t met Drake, but I have of course met people who have met Drake,” said Atwood. “But you have to realize how o-l-d I am. I’m not likely to go to the same parties. Or many parties at all, to be frank.”
When Díaz asked if Atwood had any opinions on the 6ix god, she thankfully did. “Wouldn’t it be fun for him to have a cameo in season two of The Handmaid’s Tale?,” said Atwood. “There you have it. I’ll drop that notion into the ear of Bruce Miller, the showrunner, and see what he can do with that, because of course the show is filmed in Toronto. Maybe Drake could help smuggle someone?” Um, yes please.
When her social media game was on point
Few authors can boast both the success and prolific nature of Atwood’s career, with her incredible body of work seemingly leaving little time to write anything else. You would think Atwood would be saving every sentence she could for future books, but the Canadian writer remains active on social media with almost 13k followers on Instagram and 1.7 million followers on Twitter. And she’s not just posting her own pics and tweeting her own articles. Actor Samira Wiley, who starred in the first season of The Handmaid’s Tale, said in an interview with Vanity Fair that not only is she in awe of now being friends with the famed author, but loves that Atwood comments on all of her Instagram photos.
“Without fail, [Atwood] comments on every single one of my Instagram pictures,” said Wiley. “Most of the time they’re emojis. Can you imagine? Margaret Atwood just like flower, smiley face.” We assume Atwood is saving her typing fingers for another season of The Handmaid’s Tale.
When she defended selfies
Anyone with the incredible list of achievements and awards that Margaret Atwood boasts would be an intimidating force, but through Atwood’s embrace of social media, the famed author has made herself relatable to her readers. This feeling was reinforced in a 2013 interview with The Telegraph, when Atwood was asked about ‘selfies.’ Rather than dismissing the common social act as vapid, Atwood embraced the current time capsule practice, saying “I say they should enjoy it while they can. You’ll be happy later to have taken pictures of yourself when you looked good. It’s human nature. And it does no good to puritanically say, ‘Oh, you shouldn’t be doing that,’ because people do.”
When she defined feminism
In July, actor, champion of human rights, and book club president Emma Watson interviewed Atwood after making The Handmaid’s Tale her official book club selection for the month of May. During the interview, Watson asked whether the author was, like Watson, tired of being asked whether she was a feminist.
Atwood took the opportunity to clear up the definition of feminism, saying “ I’m not bored with it, but we have to realize it’s become one of those general terms that can mean a whole bunch of different things, so I usually say, “Tell me what you mean by that word and then we can talk.” If people can’t tell me what they mean, then they don’t really have an idea in their heads of what they’re talking about. So do we mean equal legal rights? Do we mean women are better than men? Do we mean all men should be pushed off a cliff? What do we mean? Because that word has meant all of those different things.”
Continuing, Atwood said “So, if we mean, should women as citizens have equal rights, I’m all for it and a number of advances have been made in my lifetime regarding property rights and divorce and custody of children and all of those things.”
When she predicted the future
Atwood told Elisabeth Moss, who stars in the TV series based on the novel, that after first releasing The Handmaid’s Tale in the mid-80’s, people didn’t believe the novel was realistic. Following the election of Donald Trump to the White House, this changed. “At the outset some people were saying, ‘Oh Margaret, how could you suggest that we would do such a thing?’ We don’t hear that much anymore,” said Atwood. Maybe Atwood can also tell us when we can expect to have a new POTUS?
When she supported public libraries…or else
In 2014, Atwood did an interview with Buzzfeed and was asked to comment on then-Toronto City Council member Doug Ford and his admission that he had no idea who the famous Canadian author was. Ford also stated that he planned on cutting resources for public libraries, in turn proving exactly why we need funding for libraries. Atwood was having none of it, and considering the darkness of many of her novels, we would not mess with her.
When she trolled a troll
Being a writer means you have to have a pretty thick skin. Atwood has spent decades hearing both from fans and from people who dislike her work. Thanks to the easy access of social media, disgruntled readers now have a direct line to Atwood, who takes the comments in stride like a bad ass.
Thanks for sharing. Grade 6 is way too young for such a book. Sorry you were traumatized. https://t.co/LKcBJwJJAY
— Margaret E. Atwood (@MargaretAtwood) July 11, 2017
Watch The Handmaid’s Tale on CraveTV starting July 28.